Chicken run in forest?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by WestCoastCoop, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. WestCoastCoop

    WestCoastCoop Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 30, 2010
    I can't decide where to build my chicken run! We have 25 acres, however its not THAT straight forward. The open grass/pasture area I want to keep for my horse and cows, and goats. I could probably find room for the run, but it seems silly to use up pasture for them when I know that the chickens will destroy it in no time anyhow. The other option is on the other side of the property where the pond and gardens are, but the space is a little more limited. So here I am humming and hawing and think about the acres of forest we have behind the house. Now, this might be a terrible idea, but I had to ask. Could I keep my chickens in the forest? This way they'd have way more room, and not utilize my precious pasture, however I think my biggest concern is predators. If we build a strong secure coop with a completely fenced run area (roof, all sides etc) would this be an acceptable chicken habitat? [​IMG]
  2. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    Our duck run is in a wooded area. We measured out how large we wanted the run to be and my husband cut down all the trees in that spot. There are still trees all around the run. The run is pretty secure, but not exactly Ft. Knox. The only predator problem we've had is from a black bear that thought it would be super cool to climb up one of the cedar posts and try to get into the run. [​IMG]
  3. babyblue

    babyblue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 23, 2009
    if you made a soild/safe coop and run and possible a few strands of electric if you hsve crazy pred problems I see zero reason at all not to use the wooded area for all its worth. some peoples homes are pretty much surrounded by woods and they still keep chickens.
  4. sianara

    sianara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2007
    Central MA
    For two of my runs, they are just fenced areas in the woods (big chickens and big ducks). For the other two runs (bantam ducks & bantam chickens), we cut down trees, fenced it and netted it. They all have secure housing for night. I've never lost one to predators (except for Samantha silkie who I believe walked out into the night - I forgot to latch the run door - and was never seen again!)
  5. Quailbuddy

    Quailbuddy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 8, 2010
    Sonoma County CA
    I dont think it would be a problem at all. Just make sure you bury the wire in the ground and i would add one or two strand of electricity lower to the ground and you shouldnt have any problem at all [​IMG] have fun and good luck [​IMG]
  6. WestCoastCoop

    WestCoastCoop Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 30, 2010
    Great, thanks for the replies everyone! [​IMG] I am hoping to just leave the trees where they are and fence around them, and have the coop in an open spot, maybe I could build them a ground floor tree fort for a coop! Haha! But electric fence is definitely a good plan! Thanks! [​IMG]
  7. Badlatitude

    Badlatitude Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2009
    using a tractor and ranging your chickens in a pasture with live stock ( or just after you rotate livestock out of that pasture) they will go to town on all the bugs , wasted grains and such. Its actually good for the whole cycle.

    Something to think about.
  8. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    When we had our chickens free ranging out in the pasture with our sheep, it kept the red-tailed hawks from being a problem. The chickens liked to hang out around the sheep and the sheep didn't mind them. They all got along. I had pretty mellow rams. [​IMG]
  9. Bnstorms

    Bnstorms New Egg

    May 30, 2015
    I've heard it said that forests are a chicken's natural habitat, but then again, people say a lot of things. I've observed wild chickens in the forests of Hawaii, and they do just fine. Yours will enjoy scratching in the leaf litter and digging for worms and grubs. If you make the run big enough, you wouldn't have to put any bedding in it, so that's a huge win.

    I saw a friend's chicken run that was next to a forest. Instead of putting in posts, he just used the existing trees as posts and attached the fencing to the trees. He didn't bother with a roof. It turned out to be cheaper and much less work. He never suffered predator problems unless one of them got left out at night.

    Besides the usual mammalian and avian predators, you might want to consider hardware clothe, at least around the bottom, to keep out snakes. If you keep the chicken food all locked up and sealed from hungry natives, I don't foresee any huge problems!

    Good luck!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by