I'm new to chickens in central Indiana. We have 11 Buff Orps 10 weeks old, and it's time to let them outside. We have coyotes, coons, possums, hawks, and owls in the area. Tips for an affordable but safe run? We mapped out a 20x24' space at the edge of the woods, and we're looking at using metal T posts rather than wood, hoping they will last longer, but I haven't seen many folks use these. Do they last? Are they sturdy enough?
I read that hardware cloth is good for bottom of the run, then larger stuff (like 2x4" fence) for upper portion. We'll put the girls in the coop (a converted shed) at night but want them to be safe in the run during the day.
Also, what kind of netting/fencing would work on the top? Since we get snow, rain, occasionally hail, and because there are trees in the area (with falling leaves... and occasional limbs), I fear bird netting won't last long even though it's cheaper than "fencing" the top. What have you used that worked well? We don't want to rebuild the whole thing in a year.
I appreciate comments and help from the group! Y'all are smart! I've ready quite a few posts and am finally getting weary of researching.