Can a run be too big?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by AlbertaChick, Jun 20, 2016.

  1. AlbertaChick

    AlbertaChick New Egg

    Jun 15, 2016
    We will soon be building the run for our 30 RIR's that are coming tomorrow (wee one day old chicks!! Soooo excited haha). We had initially paced out a space around the coop that would be roughly 700-800 square feet. The coop isn't huge (10x12) so wanted to make sure they had lots of outside space, should we go more? Is bigger always better, or is there a point at which this isn't true? We can have nasty winters with short daylight hours, will they still want to be outside most of the days?
  2. Gray Farms

    Gray Farms Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2016
    NW Missouri
    As long as they have cover to keep away from predators and plenty of shade for the hot weather. Bigger is better. The more space they have the less they'll impact their ground "manure build up and grass loss". They will adjust their routine with the daylight hours. About an hour or so before dark they'll start heading into the coop each day.
  3. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 19, 2015
    Eastern Shore, MD
    Bigger is absolutely better. Shady areas, sunny areas, a dust bathing area, room to get away from a bully, feeding and water station areas (multiple, in your case), enough area that manure is spread out rather than building up, and grass (if applicable) is not overgrazed too quickly... all some things to take into consideration.
  4. Rock Home Isle

    Rock Home Isle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Having a run that's too big?

    That's like driving a car that's too fast or marrying a wife that's too pretty...I don't think that that's possible.
    1 person likes this.
  5. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016
    30 birds would be a lot.

    In general, you are pretty much maxed out on the coop size.......right at 4 SF per bird.......and as long as it was built right and setup right (meaning enough sunlight and ventilation), they may and could ride out some rough patches of winter.....staying inside for long stretches of time, which depending on how the run was setup, they may want to do. If the run was setup to block north winds and give them covered space open to the south and the winter sun, they would probably use that a lot.

    Your run space is 26 SF per bird. That is more than than is typically used, but here is the rub. They will strip that bare and "fowl" it in no time. To give them a fair shot at anything that resembles green poultry pasture would mean a half acre or more........and to make a run that size would be expensive. So.....probably leave the run the size it is now, with plans to make it a useable playpen in winter. That is likely going to mean adding a lot of litter and bedding to keep it clean and sanitary looking.

    To stretch that, instead of more "run" space, you could contemplate building a "chicken yard", which is essentially an expanded fenced in area (or free range them if that works for you with predators, etc). Confinement fence.....especially if it is electric going to be much less expensive than an expanded run, and likely will accomplish what you want it to do. Kinda depends on how much room you have to work with and how you want to keep your birds.

    But 30 birds are a lot.
  6. Athaid

    Athaid Chillin' With My Peeps

    The bigger the better! Obviously as the others have said you'll want to make sure it's secure and that your chickens are safe from predators, but other than that I don't think there should be any issues. Maybe plant a tree or two or some bushes for shade and for them to make dirt baths under.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
  7. AllynTal

    AllynTal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 22, 2014
    Mississippi Gulf Coast
    Just a thought, if you have that much space you can devote to a run, you could divide it in half and have two runs. Let them have the run of Run No. 1 and seed Run No. 2 with some good foraging grasses. Once Run No. 2 is growing well and they've beaten down Run No. 1, close it off and let them out on Run No. 2. Seed Run No. 1 and just keeping switching back and forth.
    1 person likes this.
  8. lcertuche

    lcertuche Chillin' With My Peeps

    I use to have my chicken yard divided into two spaces. I would run the chickens in the sunny side in the winter and then move them to the shady side in the summer and plant my garden in the sunny side. They would eat all the weeds and bugs out of it and fertilize the garden and then have a nice shady place in the summer. In the winter I kept the chickens penned up in the yard and only let them out for a couple of hours in the evening (if I was home) but in the summer they were pretty much free-range during the day, only penning them up a couple of hours before sunset. I am thinking about doing this with my garden area now since it worked so well years ago.
  9. Rock Home Isle

    Rock Home Isle Chillin' With My Peeps

    I really like this is so subtle and yet so functionally perfect.

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