Adding onto existing run, etc.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by gadus, Sep 8, 2016.

  1. gadus

    gadus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am currently housing 18 layers of different breeds in a 8 X 8' coop, with a run that has maybe 500 ft2. They have just started laying and are relatively new to the coop, which I finished about a week ago-two months later than I hoped I'd be through. While I fine-tune the roost placement and feed/water requirements, I'm also thinking ahead to expanding their yard space. The area will be in the woods; currently, the run encircles a handful of fully and partially grown oak and maple and the expansion area will include more of the same. They have plenty of cover and shade and at least for now, some real estate to scratch at. My grass is limited to areas around my garden and though they free-ranged until recently, there truly is a very finite area of grass on my property and woods is what they are going to have to get used to. It has seemed that when they free-ranged, they spent equal time in the open and woods, so I think they'll do fine and find a lot of bugs and such that will keep it interesting for them.

    What I'm thinking of doing is simply fencing in a adjoining area and providing a small door cut in the (common) fence mesh, which can be opened and closed as needed; as I envision getting 25 meat birds in the spring, I'd like to be able to segregate the two groups for that two month period and then resume the layers' access to the entire run after the meaties have been dispatched. I imagine building a small structure with a roof on it for the meat birds which could be wheeled in and out of the second run as needed, so probably another access door (human size) in the second run would be needed. I am currently in the process of placing hardware cloth around the perimeter, out, 18" from the base of the fence, flat, partially buried on the ground; with the extended run, I would do the same-as time and finances permit (hardware cloth not cheap by any stretch). I can just keep adding fence in this manner and creating any number of spaces joined by a simple small door at each juncture.

    Let's say I finish the next run, which I imagine as being at least twice as big as the first...should I attempt to keep them strictly in the new run and let the older run regenerate-or let them have the run of both places? Certainly with access to both runs, it would be more of a free-range scenario. If the former, I'm not sure yet how I would be able to isolate them in such a way that they could easily return to the coop but also be restricted only to the second run area.

    Also, as all of the run lies beneath good tree cover, do i really need to think about a ceiling net of sorts or can i rely on the tree canopy for protection? I know foxes don't climb trees but raccoons sure do-and while my wife who is home currently may be vigilant, it doesn't take long for one of these critters to do damage. Fortunately we have yet to see either of the forementioned.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    I think they would benefit from the added space of both runs. How tall of a fence are you considering? I've read posts that claim coyotes can leap high enough to clear - or at least reach the top and crawl over - a 6' chain Iink fence. And unless you're clipping wings I would worry about your birds flying out of the fence. Another consideration is avian predators. For a hungry hawk or owl it might be like looking down at an all you can eat buffet! Don't mean to be a wet blanket...just don't want you to lose your flock after you've put so much time and money into it. Good luck to you!
     
  3. gadus

    gadus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My current fence is 6 feet tall, 2" X 4" rugged galvanized mesh. Yes, the Arecaunas can fly over it but the occasional one or two birds over the fence is no big deal. We have no finances currently to buy more fencing so the second run is just a plan currently. While there are plenty of critters in the woods, thus far we have been lucky, they haven't come around at all since god know when, go figure; our house is very close to the edge of the run and maybe that's what's saved us thus far. I'm less worried about threats from the air; the woods are quite dense and I suspect a raptor would be reluctant to shoot under the canopy , over the top of the fence and make off with one.
     
  4. alisonanne

    alisonanne Out Of The Brooder

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    I've decided to put my two coups together. My chickens were on holiday and the lady has a coup for 6 chickens, I have two coups that take only 3 chickens each. I'm finding all 6 in a 3 chicken coup. I'm also thinking about putting the changed coup onto textured slabs. They spend all day out eating grass and a few treats. I am doing it right. Also, will egg production stop during the winter, how do I keep them warm and healthy during winter.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Yes, lucky.
    Don't count on dense woods as protection from birds of prey, many can deftly hunt in dense woods.
    Grey fox can climb quite well.

    You could use 14ga 1x2 mesh for your anti dig apron, much cheaper than HC and won't rust out as fast.
    You could make a temporary 'travel lane' to new run area out of 2x4 mesh and some Tposts(or portable poultry netting) to allow primary run to regenerate......
    ....and/or locate the new run closer to coop.
     
  6. gadus

    gadus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wish I'd known about the 14 ga, I spent over $100 on a roll of 2" hc, **** it. Is it even worth it to put it on the ground?

    I think I get the travel lane concept; I've heard of a "tunnel" created with a roll of wire, connecting the coop with an ever-shifting run.

    Roger on the raptor advice, I'll have to put a ceiling on everything-and perhaps sow the surrounding area with anti-personnel mines.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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