Anyone have a coop sitting in center of unattached run?


Mother of Chickens
10 Years
Feb 23, 2009
One BYC poster gave me the idea of constructing my run as a free-standing enclosure and putting my coop right in the middle of it. Coop would not be attached to the run at all. With the run's walls and ceiling made of hardware cloth tight screening, I wouldn't have to predator-proof the coop at all. Wouldn't even have to close the coop door and the hens could come and go at dawn and dusk without me having to shut them up at night or get up early to let them out. I'd put an apron of screening at the bottom of the run to skirt it all around. The apron would then splay out for a two feet horizontally and I'd cover that with heavy rocks or cement or something that raccoons couldn't dig under. Has anyone else placed their coop in the middle of their run, unattached? If so, I'd love to hear about it. Pictures? Comments? Advice?


Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
What you describe is doable and some people do it that way. It would be a lot more convenient if you were away from the house at dusk and did not have to worry about locking your chickens up.

One disadvantage is that you cannot get to the coop without going through the run, which can get quite messy at times, especially when it rains. Some people find it convenient (me for one) to have a door where you can go into the coop without going into the run. Or you can gather eggs without going into the run or coop if you build you nest boxes that way. And you might save some money if the coop forms part of the run fencing. You can make the part of the coop that forms a part of the fence predator proof and still leave your coop door open at night.

The chickens don't mind either way. It comes down to what is more convenient to you.


11 Years
Mar 8, 2008
We have an unattached coop in the middle of our run, although we close our coop at night due to the size of our run wire. You should be fine however as long as as you sure your wire for your run is 1/4 " hardware cloth, in general if your thumb can get thru a hole so can a weasel. Waking up to what a weasel does to chickens is not pleasant. Also make sure all of your wire across the top is extremely secure and tight together - I have seen small possums slip thru wiring that was not zip tied or secured together in some fashion before.


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
Quote:I really, really, really would not do it on that rationale. (Although there are other perfectly good reasons a person might want to do it).

It is MUCH HARDER to predator-proof a run than a coop. Thus, you are taking a fairly simple project and making it fiendishly difficult and expensive, and much less likely to succeed.

I would sure not go with a mere 2' apron, I would do 4-5'.

Raccoons don't mostly dig under, they mostly climb *over*, as can foxes and dogs and other things; do not rely on electric to keep them out, as all electric fences WILL fail from time to time. So you would need either a very very strong and impenetrable wire top to the whole run -- I would suggest 2x4" welded wire mesh supported on strong 'rafters' -- or a solid roof.

(Another theoretical possibility might be to run 2'-wide metal flashing along the top 2' of your run, with only one seam and be very, very, very careful to construct that seam so it does not offer climbing handholds, and then put deer netting over the top of the run to exclude hawks/owls; but I have never seen or heard of the flashing idea being done so can't vouch for its usefulness, and it won't work at all in a very windy area or if there are overhanging trees).

And then you have weasels, which it will be essentially impossible to keep out of your run. And while you may not THINK you have weasels around, I would point out that most people don't think so, til they wake up to a massacre. (There are some weasel-free areas of the country; you could look it up and see if you happen to live in one. I wouldn't hold my breath)

Honestly, coops are pretty easy and inexpensive to predatorproof. If you simply don't want to be a slave to shutting the chickens in and letting them out at specific times, I'd suggest building a small run, as thoroughly predatorproofed as possible, for them to use as a 'porch' on days you can't let them out real early or have to shut them in too soon. Then have a larger, less secure yard for them the majority of the day.

JMHO, good luck and have fun,



12 Years
Dec 12, 2007
ID/WA border
I know a chicken-keeper who has 2 coops and runs arranged like this - coops are in the center of the runs.

I thought that the good reason for doing this was that it allowed a smaller "footprint" for the chicken-keeping. The coops are low, the entire arrangement is covered with the netting (as Pat suggests), and some of the birds spend quite a bit of time on top the coops thru the day.

Hardware cloth is darn expensive and it can just as easily be used for an attached run. If you wanted to, you could more effectively wrap your coop in hardware cloth to keep out predators rather than set that fencing out away from the coop on posts.

If you want to allow the chickens to come and go at dawn and dusk on their own, that would be just as possible with an attached run under any circumstances.

. . . just my 2 cents.


Superior Chicks

11 Years
Nov 3, 2008
Washburn, WI on Lake Superior
We are placing our coop in the middle of a huge predator proof run.

The coop is predator proofed, and so will be the run.

You can never be TOO careful when it comes to varmits.

I would never rely on the run itself to keep the predators out. There are very crafty creatures out there, and once they realize a meal is within reach, they will be relentless.

Just my humble 2 cents.
Since you asked.....



Microbrewing Chickenologist
12 Years
Nov 25, 2007
High Desert, CA
Our property is fenced and within that we have our run with a coop unattached inside of the run. The run is covered as well. We've never had a problem, but we don't get large predators in our yard unless a stray dog breaks in.

ETA: We don't have weasels, large snakes, etc here. Just rats, which only climb on the outside of the run to hide from our dogs.
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12 Years
Oct 22, 2007
Hunt, Tx
I have a coop (7'x11') inclosed in my run (25'x15'). It's good to be able to walk all the way around the coop. I put the run and coop under my big oak tree, the leaves and small limbs get caught in the top chicken wire, but it provides lots of shade during the hot summer. I close the coop door at night during winter. I keep the feed in a hanging feeder and water(fresh water bowl with floater cut off) inside the coop with another water hanger out in the run. I have a five layer box. I have the ground as my floor and use straw in the coop. I just rake it out from time to time and put in my garden. With the coop in the run, I can go out of town for a few days and don't have to worry about the birds. In the mornings, I open run door and they range for the day and come in at at dusk. They sit in the run for a while and then go in the coop to roost. If I leave or hear dogs I leave them in the run for the day. I have coop wire buried into cement around the run. Very important, put cement under door of run, don't leave a gap. I ran electric to it for a motion light out side coop and reg light inside coop. One corner of the coop can be used for a brooder. I also have an electric outlet plug in coop so I can do repairs. I try and keep it simple. frankoo
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11 Years
Sep 15, 2008
area pop. 96
Carolyn, I have a 10x14 coop inside a 24x32x9 pen. My coop has a skylight and wire on the bottom with gravel on the top. I do not have a cover and I do close my chickens in at night. With wire on the bottom of the coop there is no fear of predators. It is not complete, but it will be after I finish my pheasant pen. 10x10 is nesting and roosting area and 4x10 is going to be the feed area and my baby chick pen. I will post a picture to give you an idea, but when my pheasants starting picking on my baby chicks, I had to stop and get their pen set up and going. I will post them as soon as I can. As for closing them in; I close them in when I feed the horses and let them out when I feed them in the morning; a whole minute of my time and they are safe through the night.
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