Building a large run on a budget - materials options?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by nekomi, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. nekomi

    nekomi Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 24, 2008
    Well, I spent the day outside surveying the property around my barn. I came up with the maximum available measurements for my chickens' run area: I have 20' x 16', with the 8' x 4' shed coop placed inside. My chickens will also have my 1/2 acre pasture to roam during the day - the run is only meant to contain them at night, and when I'm on vacation, so my relatives don't have to chase down chickens for me. [​IMG] I'd also use it extensively in the winter, so that they'd have a semi-protected place to hang out.

    I just don't know how to fence and predator-proof such a large run. Ideally, what I'd like to see is:

    A tall fence that will allow me to stand inside
    A covered top of some kind (even just hardware cloth on top would be fine)
    Able to handle snow loads this coming winter, with some modifications
    Not permanent, since eventually the run will be incorporated into the horses' dry lot/paddock - I'd like to avoid digging post holes if possible
    Looks neat and tidy

    The footing will be 4" of pea gravel for drainage and cleanliness. Any suggestions and especially pics would be great! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2009
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    One possibility would be to accept a smaller run with higher security and more affordability, as opposed to a 16x20 run that it's real hard to put a predator- and snow-proof top on.

    Actually, I don't suppose you're wanting to build a run-in shed for your horses' future use? Cuz if you were, it'd make a super covered run (or covered portion of run) for the chickens for now.

    You *could* get some netting to make a top for a 16x20 run (but you would for sure need to put in at least one central post, preferably more than one, to hold it up in the center). HOWEVER this will only protect from hawks/owls/eagles, no protection at all against raccoons and that sort of thing; also you would pretty much have to take it down before winter, or at least before big snowfalls, or it will come down on its own, possibly for the last time.

    Personally I think I'd opt for a smaller more thoroughly secure run. Maybe build it with 2x4" wire all over (including rafter-supported roof), with 1/2" chickenwire or hardwarecloth along the bottom 2-3' and a good anti-dig apron. You will of course need to dig post holes for this -- no way are you going to support a run 'top' with just t-posts, unless it's a veritable forest of them.

    Good luck, have fun,

  3. halo

    halo Got The Blues

    Nov 22, 2007
    My Coop
    I dont know exactly how much your budget is, but the dog kennels from Lowes are really terrific. Fairly easy to assemble, and you can modify it by putting netting or hardware cloth over the top of it. I use field fencing, its cheaper. Wont be quite as big as you are wanting, tho.

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