Outside run big enough?
This is what I use.
Depending on the age of the kids, they will quickly learn to not touch the fence. It'll jolt you, but really, it'll scare you more than it will actually hurt you. As far as hawks go, check out the pic, my birds have the coop itself to use/hide under, and there is a big bushy area behind the coop, they can hang out and use to hide in. In one part of my run area, I let the grass grow tall, and I have a couple of pallets set up on top of some cinder blocks. They hang out on top of those, and they can get under and hide if need be.
My birds are outside everyday. In six years, I have lost two birds to a flying predator. I have hawks, and even eagles out back in the marsh around here. The chickens get tuned in to whats going on around them. They hear a hawk, they head for cover. They have even learned the local crow's hawk warning call, I've seen them react to it. But ground predator is a different story. Before I got the fence/netting, I had two daytime attacks, from the local fox. I lost nine in the first, and another seven in the second. I consider buying that fence, probably one of the best things I have done for my birds. I started with 300', and now have 650' of it, it works.
We have bushes and trees all around our property so we assumed it was a coyote but our neighbor said she saw Hawks yesterday afternoon so it is a possibility. They were sitting in the bushes when attacked! So now I'm worried just having the bushes and trees for coverage isn't enough
After losing two of our chickens yesterday to a coyote, we are getting a large, safe run built next week! Right now they have a small run that they are growing out of. We are using an old metal shed for the coop. It's about 6x15 and 8 ft tall. It nice and big and the chicken have so much room! We now have 4 but will be adding 4-8 more in time. The outside run will be 15x16. Is this enough room for the chicken? I hate keeping them penned up but I don't want to lose anymore. We will be doing coated hardware wire all around the sides and top. I read that was the best to use. Hopefully that is true!
You should be fine with proper manure management and ventilation till you reach around 20 birds...
Actually 1/2 inch hardware cloth
PS. Make sure that metal shed has plenty of ventilation.
Edited by RonP - 5/20/16 at 6:52am