Covered run? Advice? Pictures added.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by soffielove1000, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. soffielove1000

    soffielove1000 New Egg

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    Oct 16, 2012
    Hello!

    I'm looking to find advice or tips about my current chicken yard set up. We've made our own chicken coop with a small fully enclosed run attached to it after looking up some designs online. Recently we decided to expand the chicken yard and set up a 6' tall fence adding about 150 square feet. We took off one section of the wire on the attached chicken run, allowing our hen to wander out into the new enclosure but still have the remaining cover from the run and access to the hen house where there is a 3'x3' nesting box. I'm curious as to if anyone thinks I should work on covering the new yard? We do have hawks around here, but they are few and far between, actually haven't seen one in this area yet. Other than sparrows, there hasn't been any other visitors to the house before and after the new addition. We're looking to get a couple more chickens so that our current hen will have company and extra warmth to roost with this coming winter.

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    Thanks for any advice!
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  2. soffielove1000

    soffielove1000 New Egg

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    Oct 16, 2012
    Anyone?
     
  3. bridget-rdh

    bridget-rdh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We had to cover our run to keep the chickens in.. They flew out of our 6ft fence the first day. We covered part with sheet metal for shade, covered the rest with the same material we used for fencing, 2x4 welded wire. We live in the country, but our dogs keep most predators away.. You definitely need more chickens! Your single will be lonesome..
     
  4. soffielove1000

    soffielove1000 New Egg

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    We actually just picked up two Americana chickens. A hen and a rooster. They're settling in okay with our current hen.

    The woman we purchased them said to clip one side of their primary feathers to keep them from flying out. The rooster can't fly because he's feet are crippled and he can't really get airborne. The hen on the other hand will only fly out to greet you, according to the previous owners. And our hen has never showed an interest in flying.

    We have decided to plan on covering it asap with some sort of fencing material.
     
  5. bridget-rdh

    bridget-rdh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like a good plan. You will worry less about the occasional predator. We have 4 americanas. No roosters tho. Don't want to deal with the crowing. Good luck!
     
  6. soffielove1000

    soffielove1000 New Egg

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    So far he hasn't been a crower according to his previous owners. Even so, we have a couple neighboring roosters that crow every day so it doesn't bother us too much.

    The rooster is about 7-8 months old, the hen is around 3 months.
     
  7. aggiemae

    aggiemae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dues to rain/mud, snow and even hot summer sun I think that a covered run area is a good idea in most places. It rains a lot there and I would recommend gutters if you live in a rainy climate.

    These are the first chickens we have had in years but I am a pretty successful (urban) farmer so do know a thing or two about soil management. I keep the covered area well mulched (leaves, pine needles, wood chips) for the fall and winter when the run gets most of it's use adding mulch as needed due to crushing and decomposition. In the spring I rake out about 3/4's of the mulch and til the rest in to aerate the soil and then start to mulch it again (usually by starting a mulch path to the hen house door). My hens free range in the summer so I throw out a few handfuls of whole oat into the runs, The roots will encourage insects and worms to the area and the hens will scratch out the sprouts/stalks and keep soil and mulch loose.

    By the time the ladies need to be undercover due to rain, there is usually a good layer of mulch. Even though the hens would scratch their poop into the mulch due to our heavy clay soil I pick up the visible poop everyday and compost it. If your soil has lots of clay this is critical to avoid sour soil.


    BTW, we used corrugated galvanized steel to build our cover. Its inexpensive, lightweight and, other than the sharp corners, it's easy to work with. It does need to be well re enforced or have a deep pitch if it will get lots of snow cover. The down side is that it's surprisingly noisy in the rain so (LIVE AND LEARN) should probably not be used closed to your bedroom window (or your neighbors bedroom window).

    As for flying...it really seems to vary form one chicken to the next. We have on that jumps off the deck of out house built on a steep slope and about 20 feet up and can fly all the way across our yard, about 190 feet. She also occasional roosts o a cedar tree branch about 20 feet up. Since the drop from the deck I haven't clipped her wing for fear she'll break her neck but (so far) she never leave the yard.. Two other hens often follow her up to the deck and after she flies off they sit on the rail squawking their heads off. Apparently, it doesn't occur to either of them that they can just walk back the way they came, so someone has to go out and "rescue" " them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  8. soffielove1000

    soffielove1000 New Egg

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    I live in Southern California. For the most part, the highest threat we have during the year is the 100+ heat waves. This year though we're expecting to get a cold wet winter. I'm going to be going over the current "hen house" and making sure there's no gaps in the walls and that the roof is leak proof. I will probably put some sort of solid sheeting over the backside of the pen to prevent water from rushing down into the house since it's on a slope.

    According to the pictures I've provided, are there any other visible weaknesses I should be aware of. We have a former dog house attached to the hen house, that our two new guests have taken refuge in since our hen hasn't allowed them inside her house. We plan on setting up a box and a roost in the dog house so that the new comers at least have the option to hunker down in there.


    Now, the 3 month old hen we got won't join the rooster or our hen inside either of the shelters. Is that something we should be concerned with? Or just see how they settle down over the next few days. I'm worried about her being outside by herself with the temps dropping. This morning I found her huddled down behind the hen house while the rooster was in the dog house and our hen in the hen house.
     
  9. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    My Coop
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    SoCal is my old stompin' ground, tho been in western PA these last 20 years. If you don't have coyotes or anything that will scale the fence, a simple net will do. Look up pheasent netting. see how they install it. Now to get some, try craigslist in yoru several communities. Also, check with the golf courses and/or driving ranges to see if they are throwing out or replacing the big nets which they use to keep golf balls inbounds. Another thing you can do is check c-list and online..see if you can find anyone who is dumping or doesn't need a cover for one of those 10x15or 10x20 carports. If torn, colored duct tape can fix easily. Then trim it to fit. If it's going to rain, always nice to keep part of run dry for the birds.
    Best,
    Karen in western PA
     
  10. aggiemae

    aggiemae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Salem Oregon
    Consider putting your bossy hen in the run where she can see what going in a large dog carried for a day or two until the other hen settles into the coop and the roo learns his "job". With any luck, she'll get over it ,and start too enjoy the company soon enough. Then make sure she isn't keeping the "lower" hen from eating or drinking. I have one who does this but only to one hen... she makes me nuts, but she is the best layer. so I just make sure that I put feed in two locations so the low chicken can get her share. All the hens sit on the highest roost together, but there is lots of bickering and squawking on the roost at dusk since there haven't been any injuries I just ignore it.

    Use the search freature and you can get lots of help questions by reading old threads.

    BTW, In the future you really should consider quarantining new birds before introducing then to your flock to prevent them from bring in disease.
     

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