Chain link runs? Pros and Cons?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by noahsmom, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. noahsmom

    noahsmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2013
    North Eastern, Ky
    I was looking around at run ideas and came across some threads with chain link runs. We were planning on building our run, but Dog Kennels seem so much easier and could probably even make it larger. I understand that some of the dog kennels now a days aren't as sturdy as they should be, but I believe with some work it could be made into a great and safe run. But I do have some worries on how to predator proof it and what to do for a roof. We do live in an area with wild animals and loose dogs, but I'm only gone about 3 days out of the week for work and at night the ladies will be put up in their coop.

    What are the pros and cons with using a dog kennel/chain link as a run? Tips? Suggestions? Pictures are welcomed!

    I want to do 2 10'x10'x6's put together for an extra large run, that would make it a 10'x20'... Which even gives me more room for chickens... ;) then my previously figured 10'x16' run.
  2. liljunie

    liljunie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2013
    I have been tossing the idea around also! I think the biggest drawback is the size of the openings in the chained link fencing. A raccoon could reach in and pull the chicken out (ugh). You could line make a double wall with chicken wire on the inside so the chickens cannot get close to the fence? This seems like double the work. I know most experienced chicken owners prefer the 1/2in hardware cloth. I haven't secured my run are yet but hardware clothe is going to cost me around $200 for a 12x20 run area.
  3. noahsmom

    noahsmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2013
    North Eastern, Ky
    Very good point about the cost of hardware cloth. I hadn't really tried adding up how much it would cost and most definitely would be your more expensive cost. I hope to try and buy at least one of the kennels off from craigslist for around $100-$125 which is what I see many going for, I've even seen them as low as $75! Then maybe $200 for one from lowes, TSC. I'm now thinking chicken wire might be ok in our case, secured to the outside and inside?...It certainly would be better cost wise. Thats just something we will have to mess around with I think.

    One nice thing about our future set up though is next month we are buying a security system with 5 cameras, the 5th camera will be pointed towards the run/coop. It is wireless and we will be able to get on our Iphones, or computers where I work and see what is going on at home at all times. This doesn't mean I can watch at all times and protect them from everything, but I think is another measure to help keep them safe. We were broken into once before, luckily nothing was taken because they did it as we were just moving in and we didn't bring anything valuable until we actually planned to spend our first night. But we both feel it is something that needs to be done. We were using a motion sensored wildlife camera at two separate locations and we were surprised to see two people had been up at our residence while we weren't home!!
    So anyway, back to topic, still trying to toy with this idea and think of the best logical and budget friendly ways to do this. Wondering what could be used for roof ideas?
  4. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    The holes in chain link fencing allow chickens to stick their heads out and for predators (like raccoons) to stick their arms in, and smaller predators such as weasels can climb right through it. It you put hardware cloth on the lower 2-3' of the fence that would help, and you would need to either bury fencing at the bottom or lay an apron of fence along the ground to keep predators from digging under the fence.
    2 people like this.
  5. noahsmom

    noahsmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2013
    North Eastern, Ky
    Thanks, I definitely plan to run at least 3' fencing up from the bottom of the fence and I think the apron Idea is great. I was just reading about it.
  6. poltroon

    poltroon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2008
    California (North Coast)
    I am using dog kennels with a roof and I quite like them. They have the advantage of being portable as well, such that they can be used in a tractor-like fashion.

    I have one that has a tarp roof - the tarp leaks and drives me batty.

    I have one that has a metal roof that works well, using old aluminum roofing that was literally lying around my place.

    The roof is given slope and form using conduit and welded wire mesh supports the tarp in one case and fills the triangular space in the other.

    We don't have a lot of daytime predator problems, in terms of the raccoons reaching through. There are wooden coops inside the dog kennels where the chickens can be completely shut in at night. Wrapping additional wire around the bottom would be pretty easy, however, and could be done at any time.

    Our daytime predator issues are more from the sky, and it's easy to fashion a roof for these, or to cover the top with wire. (You can also buy premade roofs for them.)

    It's a quick and dirty solution and it's fairly affordable and versatile for what we needed. The sturdy base and the human friendly-scale make it easier to work with than our more permanent coops or than our tractor coops.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  7. Hinotori

    Hinotori Silver Feathers Premium Member

    Apr 27, 2011
    Graham, WA
    I use kennel panels for my runs so I can disassemble and move them as needed. I have hardware cloth running around the bottom and ziptied every few inches. This makes for a strong run.

    We had a $400 dog kennel from Lowes that was much thinner, weaker, and less well made. Then we looked at the dog kennel panels at the feed store. The thing that gets me is the better made kennel panels ran $280 for the same size on sale. 2x100 foot, 1/2 hardware cloth is $58 on Amazon with free shipping. So even with that cost I got a better run that was safe.

    The 3 foot hardware cloth is like $87 for 100ft.

    ETA. I can't spell or write numbers apparently.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013
  8. 3forfree

    3forfree Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2010
    essexville, michigan
    I use a dog kennel for a run and haven't had any issues. I put 2ft of chicken wire around the bottom, then folded another 2ft section and wire tied it to the bottom at 12in, and use the other 12in as an apron. the grass grows through the chicken wire and holds it to the ground so good I can run a lawnmower over it without sucking it into the blade. The top is tarped and sloped to keep the hawks out and the snow off. I've seen a lot of them for sale for a lot less than you can buy hardware cloth and lumber to build with.
  9. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Others have already given you lots of valid advice. Here are some of my thoughts:

    I had an owl once to reach in a grab a chick in a dog kennel and he did succeed at killing him- so the wrapping the bottom part with chicken wire or hardware cloth is good. You might regret burying wire if you want to move the panels around when the grass gets all eaten up.

    As for overhead netting, it will come down in snow if you don't use the heavy knotted stuff (raccoons can chew through that though). I have used metal chicken wire overhead too but the snow makes it sag and raccoons can tear through that too.

    You would have to cover the tops with chainlink or a bona fide roof, or hardware cloth in order to make it predator resistant. Rats and weasels can get through unless it is 1/2 inch hardware cloth. If you are interested in shielding from hawks you can just use bird netting as I do when they are chicks (a determined hawk can tear through that too but I have seen a hawk bounce off mine).

    In other words, if it were me, I'd just put up your panels and move them around as you desire. Close them up in the coop at night. You might lose some this way but I personally don't make a predator proof pen- only a predator proof coop. A chicken Fort Knox run will require 1/2 inch hardware cloth all around and that is too expensive for me.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2013
  10. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Oh- just saw you have silkies.

    Different story. They need some overhead netting to protect from hawks. You can put up some deer netting or bird netting and take it down in winter for snow if you want, or get the heavy knotted stuff and string it carefully with supports.

    I do sometimes have silkies with no overhead netting, but only with copious quantities of hawk shelters throughout the run (pallets elevated on concrete blocks). The trouble is that the silkies cannot see the hawks approach and hence my aforementioned remark of seeing a hawk bounce off the bird netting. The silkies were standing around and didn't see the hawk flying overhead. About TEN of them didn't see it! Usually somebody sees the hawk!

    If you can get yourself some free pallets and lots of $2 concrete blocks, you can create safe havens for them if you turn the block so that it is tallest, then they can walk underneath comfortably. A determined hawk can get them even with hawk shelters though.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2013
    1 person likes this.

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