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Coop/run questions

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

First, how steep of a walk going from the ground to their coop can they go up?  When we installed the coop, it's sitting lower to the ground than it did before, and now they only have like a 6" space between the walk and the floor of the coop.  What's the biggest angle they can get up?  We might have to enlarge the floor access for them.  

Second, we have hawks in the area.  We're going to use 4' field fencing to give them a run, but there are some who like to fly over the fence and get out during the day.  Should we get some bird netting to go over their run to keep them in and the hawks out, or will the rooster give the girls fair warning?  

 

 

Guess there's a third question.  How big of a run do I need for 12 chickens? 

 

Thanks! 

post #2 of 7
Are you talking about newly hatched chicks or chickens a couple of weeks old or older?

My pop door is about a foot above the run. My full-sized chickens have absolutely no trouble getting up on that. They don’t really hop, more of just step up there. The entrance to my grow-out coop is about 3 feet off the ground. They just fly up to get in when I use it. For 6” I don’t see a need for a ramp at all. If you have Silkies hat can’t fly, then you might need a ramp for something higher, but not for 6”.

You are “going” to use field fencing but they are already getting out? I’m a bit confused.

I’ve seen a hawk take a wild pigeon that was under a tree with low branches. The hawk was so fast the pigeon did not have a chance. Roosters and sometimes hens will give warning if they see a risk but that’s certainly no guarantee. On the other hand, I have an uncovered area about 45’ x 90’ feet in electric netting that is uncovered and have all kinds of big hawks around. I even have a bald eagle that occasionally visits the immediate area. I’ve never lost a chicken to a hawk or the eagle, though an owl got one when I was late locking them up one night. It just went into the coop and got one. I know other people do have big problems with hawks. With predators you don’t get a guarantee one way or the other.

Dogs are probably your biggest risk. Foxes and maybe even bobcats or raccoons probably rank higher than hawks or other birds of prey. Still, I can’t argue about covering the run for additional protection.

How big should your run be for 12 chickens? I don’t know. You can follow the link in my signature to get my thoughts on space, those apply to runs as well as coops. I don’t know your climate, how you plan to manage them, whether you ever plan to integrate new chickens later or allow a broody hen to raise chicks with the flock. All those and other things have an influence for the coop and run both. In general the tighter I crowd them (and sometimes I do) the more behavioral problems I have to deal with, the less flexibility I have to deal with issues as they come up, and the harder I have to work.

My suggestion is that you should be able to stand up in your run. You will be going in there and you don’t need to try to do things bending over. It’s no fun banging your head on the top either if you use something hard. The chickens won’t mind four feet or even two feet but I sure would. It’s not just about the chickens, you are an important part of this too. Taking care of the chickens should not be painful or inconvenient. If you have that four feet high fencing already maybe just use the heavier fencing down low and something less expensive up higher. Bird or deer netting will keep chickens in but it won’t keep many climbing predators out.

I don’t know what the area you have to work with looks like, but I suggest making the run as large as you can stand. Look at the length of a roll of wire and try to use it. What will you do with the left-over anyway? If you cover it, and I would, try to keep it no more than 8’ wide so the top doesn’t sag so much you have to support it. You don’t hear people complaining about having too much room but plenty complain about not having enough.

Good luck!

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks 

 

They are adults, he guessed around 2-3 yrs old.  I'll have to try uploading some photos.  The coop itself is about 3' off the ground.  He had a walk that hinged onto the opening, but when we hook it, there is only 6" of clearing between the walk and the bottom of the coop.  

 

 

The guy sent his field fencing with us when we bought the coop.  He said some of the chickens fly over it to get out.  We are 100% newbies at all this and have no clue.  We had just planned on buying the coop, but the people didn't show up to get the chickens, so we ended up having to take them with us.  We couldn't say "no, we're taking your coop, you figure out what to do with the chickens".  We had hoped to have time to get the coop set up and ready for chickens this spring.  

Right now they are in around a 4x8 run of expens covered with chicken wire with a wire dog kennel in there for a coop with broomsticks going through it for roosts.  And unfortunately, they will probably be there for another week, as we have no way of getting the roof on the coop until wed.  But they seem to be getting along ok in that small of a place with each other.  

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

 Will this be too steep for them?  There's only about 9" of clearance between the board and the bottom of the coop.  

post #5 of 7
Thanks for the photo. Now I understand what you are talking about.

I don’t see any strips across that to give them anything to grip. If you can add some maybe 6” apart they should be able to maneuver that. 9” of overhead clearance should not be a problem at all.
I’m not sure they need anything, but if I did anything I’d be tempted to put an intermediate landing about halfway up, say stack a few cinder blocks, to give them a landing platform. It doesn’t have to be a ramp.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

So they can hop up a foot and a half? Then up another?  The guy has carpet on the plank, but oh man is it gross! My thought is if we just had a hopping point under it, that would have less chance of rodents getting into the coop. 

post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by MelodyC View Post



 Will this be too steep for them?  There's only about 9" of clearance between the board and the bottom of the coop.  

That ramp looks pretty steep to me. Maybe try nailing/screwing some wood strips so there is something for them to grip.

2 Buff Orpingtons, 4 Black Sex Links,. 1 Golden Retriever, 1 "old man" cat and 2 Betta.
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2 Buff Orpingtons, 4 Black Sex Links,. 1 Golden Retriever, 1 "old man" cat and 2 Betta.
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