Daytime run - What to consider?


Sep 11, 2018
SF Bay Area
Hello all BYC'ers!
Sorry for the length.. just wanted to give a bit of a set up....

Our flock currently free ranges in our backyard, but for a variety of reasons I'd like to provide them with another space so they aren't in the back yard as much messing it all up. We have a somewhat unique set up: we live in an urban environment (suburbs of San Francisco), but our back yard butts up against an easement so we have a relatively large, wooded space behind our fence that we can fence off and use for a run. The space behind the fence is on a slope and is very rugged with lots of plants, trees and downed trees.

Our coop already has been placed behind the fence and we have a hole in the fence that goes directly into the coop so they can range in the backyard. I'd like add additional wire fencing to create a large area of the space behind the fence, about 20'x30', that encloses the coop.

It doesn't have to be pretty, so I was thinking metal posts with 1"x2" galvanized wire or just regular wire fencing with 1" or ½" hardwire around the bottom 3'.

Okay, considerations:
1) I know it would be ideal to have it all covered, but since there are trees in this space, that would be very difficult to do... thoughts? How risky is it to have it be uncovered...

2) Its pretty woodsy back there - do we need to clear out or cut back the plant life that is growing... would love to keep it to reduce the amount of work the needs to go into it (and also to provide cover if needed)...

3) We have predators! Coyotes, raccoons, opossums... I'm sure snakes... Most of these are nocturnal, so how much do we need to worry about them in the daytime?

4) other thoughts?

thanks so much!


5 Years
Apr 6, 2014
Melrose Park Illinois
Let me share some thoughts................ :frow
The run area needs to be clear enough for the chickens to run around in. That does not mean totally cleared.
The fence needs to be high enough so chickens do not fly over with EASE. and coyotes jump in with EASE. Coyotes are daytime predators as well.
Snakes are there day and night. Not sure which snakes you have, but if the environment is not snake friendly, they will relocate to area they prefer. Cutting back and clearing would make it less snake friendly.
Hawks, and other areal raptors are difficult to protect from. One way is to install some netting or light tarps attached to the trees inside run. You may not have every square yard covered, but some overhead protection works as a deterrent. The tarps also do give protection from weather related elements. The tarps I am talking about are the inexpensive variety (blue,green silver). Attach them to trees using rubber straps. This way wind will not rip them as easily. The rubber straps provide enough give motion. That is how I have my run overhead protected.
Ask anything else you need to know. We are all here to help each other out.:thumbsup
WISHING YOU BEST.............................. :welcome


Jul 13, 2016
Southeast, MA
My Coop
My Coop
We added a daytime run this summer. When we are going to be home for most of the day we let them out into the larger run. Considerations:
  • 1000 SF of added run space. The fence is 5'. The openings are 2"x 4". It adds roughly 50' x 20' to their ranging area. This gives a lot of space to range.
  • Shade. there is a huge oak tree that gives great shade
  • Protection. The run gives some level of protection.
  • Risk. Our coop and covered run are very secure. Opening the added run increases risk. Access is through a side door. If/when predators gain access to the run. they have access to the covered run and coop.
  • predators. it puts the hens right next to the woods where the fox, coyote, fisher cats live. The fence will only slow them down and the new side door is open and will allow easy access. Even with "supervision" we know this is a risk.
  • dogs. We rarely have neighborhood dogs loose, so the fence is probably all we need for them.
  • fence height. They can all get over the fence if they want. Two escapees in 6 months. The funny thing is they couldn't/wouldn't figure out how to get back in.
  • run floor. At this point the run is mostly dirt. We have been throwing cut grass and yard waste in there. This fall, leaves, pine needles yard waste. Hopefully it will be a bit more forest floor.


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