Need some help. I have a regular sized 4x4 coop on 4 wheels that is easily moveable. I opted for a full size coop with man size clean out door because I use the deep litter method, and also wanted more room for my 5 hens vs. the smaller coop size incorporated in a chicken tractor. I would prefer free range, but unfortunately too many hawks, too much poo in places I don't want, etc. Therefore, I am wanting to buy/build a large portable chicken run. Basically, the system I want is to have the girls out in the portable run for a span of 1 week, and after that move the coop and run to a fresh spot. I have seen horror pictures of people who use the traditional chicken tractors with a small run size and by the end of day 1 their grass is toast! I obviously don't want that to happen. Also, I am not wanting to move the coop/run daily to prevent this, which some might suggest. When we go on vacation, I don't want the person caring for our hens to have to move the coop/run everyday, but just to check in on them and ensure they have food/water. Therefore, here are my questions:
1. Has anyone built a really long run on wheels that would allow 5 hens to graze for 1 week and not completely destroy the grass after a day or two? I realize that the run would likely have to be pretty big/long, and I"m wondering if anyone has constructed such a design? I have seen a few that have handles on the end like you use to pick up a wheelbarrow, which is nice, but I'm just not sure how heavy it would be to move a wood run in the size I'm thinking.
2. Maybe someone could suggest based on their experiences how big of an area 5 standard hens would need to graze for 1 week happily without destroying the grass.
3. I would consider using lighter materials, but am afraid that night predators could just reach up underneath and get in. I guess the other option could be to use something like the Premier 1 netting around the area where I want to set up, and still keep the girls in the enclosed run, but again I want it to be left where it is for 1 week instead of moving every day to support rather destory the grass. Any other suggestions?