6 chickens moveable run or not?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Mattsculpt, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. Mattsculpt

    Mattsculpt Chillin' With My Peeps

    121
    8
    99
    Oct 29, 2011
    Proctor, Arkansas
    I just ordered my first chicks, 6 dual purpose breeds that will be here in the spring. I'm trying to figure out whether to build a permanent run or a movable one. I have an acre of land but its unfenced, and there are lots of predators, raccoons, possums, coyotes, hawks ect and stray dogs. Also a road on one side.
    Are chicken tractors practical for 6 hens? The designs I saw don’t look like they would keep out a determined dog. Couldn't a dog just dig under the wire?
    If a permanent run is better, how often do I need to clean it out?
    Any thoughts?
     
  2. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Chillin' With My Peeps

    519
    17
    131
    Mar 2, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    Sounds like a permanent run is your best bet. Yes, it takes a drop-down wire skirt or bottom to protect a tractor. I have tractor and run. I tractored my 7 around all summer in a 6x12 chainlink dog kennel reinforced hardware cloth. I was home to supervise. But it is not dig proof, not handy to move, not good for bad weather. I have a covered run 2.5 times larger attached to coop, where they have been since fall. It's wonderful. Because it's dry, large, and has dusty fine soil, I have yet to clean the run at all, as the poo just doesn't seem to be accumulating. I put down alfalfa hay so that partially covers the run surface in layers and that may absorb some. I will probably just rake it out every week or two as they start mucking it up, and add a couple of wheelbarrows of soil or sand in spring to freshen. Keeping it dry is the key. I plan next spring to fence a couple of pastures adjacent to the covered run to turn them out to graze on a rotated basis. They LOVE to have access to the fresh grass and explore.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2011
  3. BairleaFarm

    BairleaFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    917
    13
    141
    May 3, 2011
    Georgetown, KY
    A perminat run is better for predator controls but after having mobile runs ill never go back to stationary runs. You rate of cleaning it out will depend on many things and widely varies from person to person depending on their analbility and conditions.
     
  4. NC ChickenKate

    NC ChickenKate Chillin' With My Peeps

    110
    5
    81
    Jul 30, 2011
    Wilmington, NC
    Dual purpose breed means you plan on eating them by the end of...one year? two years? Then ordering more of the same the next spring?
    If you plan on having the flock stored in the freezer over their second winter that is when you can do a SUPER CLEANING of your coop and let it dry well for the following spring's chicks.
    Myself, in your shoes, I'd have the minimum size coop and the maximum size yard(s). The coop can be the chick's home by week two of age, and once they discover their yard they will spend the majority of their time in it, rather than the coop. Their poop will be most concentrated under their roost so designing a system of easy cleaning that area is vital. All their food and water can be in their yard and if the coop is built up off the ground by two or three feet, their yard can include underneath their coop.
    Any coop and yard, no matter where it is built, must take into consideration predators,,,coyotes, foxes, hawks, owls, possum, snakes, etc all want to eat your chickens. chicken wire keeps your chickens in but will not keep the predators out. They will try to break through, dig under, climb over or just reach through your fencing so your largest cost in money and time is building everything safe.
    This section of BYC has hundreds of coops members have built...some for very little out of pocket. Members here have delt with every predator imaginable, every weather type on the planet and every breed of chicken out there.
    Chickens can be raised with a lot of daily intense hands on or left to be on their own, depending on what your personal lifestyle allows. They should be a pleasure, not a pain in the patootie. Caring for them should not be a daily struggle of cleaning and fixing their coop, yard, health issues, behaviors...as long as you meet their feeding and housing requirements.
    I was told by my grandfather many times..."you always get the dog you deserve" and that is also true for chickens!
    Much luck but beware of "chicken math". They are as addictive as pistachios!
     
  5. Mattsculpt

    Mattsculpt Chillin' With My Peeps

    121
    8
    99
    Oct 29, 2011
    Proctor, Arkansas
    Thank you for the answers.
    I'll be building a permanent run using 1/2" hardware cloth. In the future I'll hawk proof the fenced garden and let them out there when I'm home to watch them.
    The chickens are for eggs and entertainment. I have no doubt they turn into pets the moment they arrive and end up collecting an old age pension a few years from now.[​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by