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14x30 ft run construction

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by fiddlebanshee, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Songster

    Mar 11, 2010
    Frederick, MD
    I haven't posted for a while on this forum as our chicken plans got waylaid by our house building that went awry when the builder bankrupted and left us with a mess. No time for planning a chicken coop! But now all that is sorted out and we're ready to tackle the project once more. We have a coop (7x8 ready built shed). I want to attach a large run (we have plenty of space) - 14x30x7ft high.

    The run would have to be covered on top as the run is underneath a tree canopy that could easily have raccoons climb up and then let themselves drop into the run. We also have hawks, and I presume we have coyote's (although I've not seen any). We also presumably have a bear that I also haven't seen yet, and the neighbors tell me they had chickens for years without any big predator problems. At any case I'm not sure I'm willing to design up to preventing a bear attack, as I don't think anything short of a bunker would keep a determined bear out.

    The ground underneath is pretty rocky (we're on top of a mountain in central MD). I'm loathing having to dig poles into the ground, we'll never be able to do that. So I'd like to have an option that sits on the ground, heavy enough that it can't be tipped over or blown away, maybe anchor it to a tree. I'd skirt the entire perimeter with a hardware cloth apron for 2 ft horizontally and 3 ft vertically. The run sits in a heavily wooded part of our yard so there are no really high winds that might impact the run.

    Here are my considerations

    1. use pvc -- easy to work with but I'm not sure if it would be suitable for such a large run. I have been designing something with a pitched roof - 7 ft at the peak, 45 degree angles to about 3 ft side walls. Again, i'm not sure even 1.5"pipe would be sturdy enough. It is appealing because I could easily see myself tackling this on my own.

    2. use pt wood. -- concerns about chemicals leaching but otherwise an attractive option as it is fairly rotproof and we'd not have to keep painting/staining the wood. Question is, can we build a frame on the ground of 4x4's and then attach the wired frames for the walls to this without anchoring any of this directly into the ground. I have some idea on how to go about constructing this, and with the help of a carpenter friend I think I could manage this with some more effort than option 1 because of the heavy posts.

    3. use metal -- I'm not sure I could tackle this by myself without professional help and that could get expensive very quickly. I also don't have a truck to transport cattle panels if I wanted to go the metal route.

    I looked at the chicken coop/run designs on this website, I google searched and perused the discussion fora but I didn't find any answers to my specific questions:

    So, wise folks of the BYC. What would you recommend?

    1. should I pursue the PVC option and if yes, what size pipe should I be looking at?
    2. if I go with the wood, do I have to sink the posts into the ground or can I just have the whole thing sit on top of the ground without anchoring? What would be the consequences for the structural integrity down the road if I did this?
    3. is there any other way to do this that I haven't considered?

    Many thanks in advance for the advice.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2011

  2. Have you considered a dog kennel for your run?

    We purchased ours through this site (because they had free shipping):


    The original run was 7 by 12 (6 feet high)

    This may get a bit confusing explaining but.....because the front of the run was going to be attached directly to the front of the coop, I could not see wasting the chain link fencing on the side attached to the coop...

    So....I went to our local Lowes, purchased two pieces of 10 foot long galvanized pipe and four pipe sleeves (found in the chain link fencing section), cut the pipe into four 3.5 foot sections and, with the pipe sleeves, attached these to the long end of the run, extending the run to 15.5 feet. We then ran the chain link fencing around three sides of the pipe and attached the entire run to the coop:


    Finally, we attached a roof using PVC pipe cut into 7.5 foot sections and attached to the top fence rail with brace rail clamps (again found in the chain link fencing section of our local Lowes) at three foot intervals and covered this with 36" wide hardware cloth attached to the PVC pipe with zip ties.


    This probably sounds more complicated than it really was. However, you can buy several dog kennels to match the size you wish.

    We have built a small run out of electrical conduit pipe for our bantam coop but this one was only three feet high, three feet wide (because we were working with 36" hardware cloth) and 10 feet long:


    It is attached to treated lumber at the bottom for added stability. I'm not certain how PVC/electrical conduit pipe would work on the size run you are interested in.


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