Building a new chicken pen

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by theshoenlebens, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. theshoenlebens

    theshoenlebens New Egg

    Aug 23, 2013
    Right now I have 7 chickens that are in a 3.5 x 8 enclosed chicken tractor in the night and free ranged the other times. I'm going to build a permanent pen and need some expert opinions.
    The pen will be approx. 40 x 40 and the chickens will still be free ranged during the day. My question is........

    I can either build the pen completely in the open or half into a thick cedar stand. If I build some into the cedar will that make them more likely to be a hawks dinner menu or will it help with them being able to run and hide in the thick brush\cedar tree. I have lost one rooster to a hawk and almost another. The hawk was sitting on top of a brush pile the rooster was in and had time to escape into the tress\brush and the hawk couldn't get to him.

    I do have a very large lab that lives outside and inside dogs that do a good job of letting me know if there is a stranger in the yard so I'm torn if I should just build completely in the open so it will easier to see a problem? Or should the trees help the chickens escape or just give the predators an easy please to hibe be it on the ground or tree tops?
  2. chiknhurder

    chiknhurder Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 8, 2014
    Cass County Missouri
    The trees will be a deterrent to hawks and much welcomed shade in the summer time. Hawks like to take small animals that are out in the open where they have a clear shot and no chance of getting tangled up. I have a large oak tree in my pen that covers about a third of it but my pens also 100 feet long by 40 feet wide and 5 feet high. One problem that could develop would be them trying to roost in the trees and flying out of the pen. You may need to trim all lower branches up high so they're not so tempted to fly up into the tree.
  3. kateseidel

    kateseidel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 9, 2010
    Because I am in North Carolina and we have HOT summers, I built my coop and run in the trees to allow shade during the worst of the heat (and my run is covered with a full roof as well. Depends on the hawks as to where you will have problems. The red tails take the hens in the open fields, the cooper's hawks like to take them in the woods (honestly, there is NO safe place for a hen!!). I had a nesting pair of coopers hawks last summer and lost 8 chickens - put them into the big run on lock down until they moved out. Now they get to spend about half the day out, and half the day locked in the coop.

    Our dogs do a good job keeping the canine and feline predators at bay, although occasionally one of the hens will cross the fence line into another property and become someone's dinner.

    Inside the run (it is 14 x 28)

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014

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