Chicken Run and Breed Question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Boris the Blade, Nov 3, 2008.

  1. Boris the Blade

    Boris the Blade New Egg

    Nov 3, 2008
    NEWBIE here. I live in NH, my wife and I are thinking of starting a flock. I've been doing my research (via web) but I've found a lot of conflicting info. We're thinking of about 5 chickens, how big should the run be? The coop (or soon to be coop) is an existing structure on the property. It measures 4 ft wide about 9 ft long and about 4.5 feet high. Does this sound sufficient for a coop? Also, I've read that NH Reds are a hearty breed, is this so? THANKS!!!!
  2. chicknsnbiskits

    chicknsnbiskits Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 20, 2008
    Colorado Springs
    There is a nice thread on the FAQ portion of the site about sizes of coops, runs, ect that you should find very helpful. Try that one out and see what you think!
    Good luck!

    FLOWERPOT Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 13, 2008
    Southern Indiana
    Sounds plenty big enough for that many hens
    How about a chicken tractor? then the run wont have to be big at all, you just move it around the yard??
    Welcome to BYC by the way!!! [​IMG]
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Sounds good! Will you be able to install a couple of doors along the 9' side for access, so you don't have to duck-walk bent over through the coop when it is time to clean or to catch a chicken?

    Most people on this forum like to say '4 sq ft of coop, 8-10 sq ft of run, per chicken'. Personally I think they look a lot happier in the 8-15 sq ft of COOP per chicken PLUS a bunch of run space.

    I'd suggest building your run as large as you can stand [​IMG]; not only will your chickens really appreciate it, it'll also give you room for adding more chickens later on if you should decide you like 'em, which practically everyone does [​IMG]

    A major consideration for run dimensions is, whatcha gonna do about the top of it. To be *really* basically predator-proof (nothing is guaranteed 100% predator proof but unless you have bears or very, very hungry weasel populations, you can come pretty close) you need a good sturdy lid on the run -- either an actual roof (which also keeps the footing drier, and thus less smelly and fly-ey) or stout wire mesh, no larger than 2x4" or so, supported by rafters against snowload and raccoons jumpin' up and down on it and so forth.

    Another approach, less predator-proof, is to put only a soft mesh net over the top (trellis net, deer fence, bird netting, aviary netting), just to keep out aerial predators like hawks (raccoons, foxes, dogs that get up your fence, etc will rip right thru such netting). This will require either a buncha rafters or removal once you get into snow season, btw, or ice and snow will take it down.

    Finally, one can omit the lid altogether and trust to luck. This works best with small runs, overhung by low trees or bushes to deter aerial predators, in an area with few daytime predators, and you lock the chickens into the coop every day at dusk without fail. Just be aware that pretty much all nocturnal predators *do* sometimes hunt by day, especially when they are hungry (winter, and in late spring/ early summer when there's young to feed), and once a predator gets a free meal he will be much harder to keep out in the future.

    There is also the question of how tall to make the run. If it's going to be very small, like just for a few birds, and narrow, then it need only be tall enough for the chickens and panels in the lid can hinge up to allow you (limited) access for cleaning, catching chickens, etc. OTOH if it's going to be a good size -- and I would strongly advocate making it as big as you can manage -- then the extra money spent on making 6' instead of 3' walls is trivial compared to the aggravation and back pain you will save yourself [​IMG] There is a LOT to be said for a run you can comfortably walk into [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by