do I need a run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by wndinptr, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. wndinptr

    wndinptr Chirping

    Oct 27, 2008
    I would like to free range chickens in my backyard, do I need to have an enclosed or fenced in run? I have a coop but wonder if I need to go to the trouble of building the run if I plan to have them out most of the time anyway. Any advice?
  2. the1much

    the1much Currently Birdless Hippy

    a run comes in REAL handy in emergencies, predators, sickness, bad bad weather.
  3. jacyjones

    jacyjones Songster

    Jun 9, 2008
    Aberystwyth, Wales
    Quote:I agree - you need a run for all of the above. Otherwise you have no way of containing your flock except shut in their house and that is very short term.
  4. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator Staff Member 10 Years

    Apr 21, 2008
    West Michigan

    A run is a definite must. You can still let them out of the run to free-range the majority of the time if that is what you want.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008
  5. Jayers

    Jayers In the Brooder

    Apr 16, 2008
    NE Illinois
    Can anyone post the suggested ratio between run size and number of chickens?
  6. Omran

    Omran Songster

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    Quote:I would say 10sq feet per bird.
  7. austinhart123

    austinhart123 Songster

    Mar 12, 2008
    Los Angeles CA
    the minimum is 4 square feet per bird i think but the bigger the better
  8. jacyjones

    jacyjones Songster

    Jun 9, 2008
    Aberystwyth, Wales
    Yes - go with the biggest you can manage, you won't regret it. It also means you can accommodate more birds if you get addicted like the rest of us!
  9. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    The recommended minimum for a run is 10 square feet per chicken. For a coop, it's 4 square feet per chicken. For chickens in confinement, where they never get outside, it's 10 square feet per chicken. These are not the amounts of space chickens do the best in, they are the minimums. They work for most flocks, most of the time. Some flocks with a mix of breeds or more aggressive breeds need more space.

    I usually go 5 for the coop and more than 10 for the run. If you won't be using it as much, 10 would probably be fine.

    I always recommend a run, even if you don't think you'll need one. It's often hard to say what daytime predator problems you're going to have, until you have your chickens. When there's not much of interest in your yard, they don't bother to stop by. After you have chickens, though, you can suddenly start having visits from hawks, coyotes, dogs, etc.

    Runs are also great if you ever have anyone visiting with a dog or small children, have people over for a party where you grill out or ever have work done in your yard that will require a gate being used or left open. They also work great if you ever plan on taking a vacation and can't get a pet sitter to come twice a day at the correct times to let your chickens out and lock them up, if you make the run preditor proof.

    Runs are also an excellent idea if you have a dog, as adding chickens to the family doesn't always go as well as you think it will. Once in awhile you get a chicken that likes to go over fences or other people's dogs run, jump or dig their way into your yard. It's not that that all of these things happen to everyone, but if they do, it's really tough to fix it in a hurry.
  10. psrumors

    psrumors In the Brooder

    Oct 11, 2008
    I am going to start with no run myself but can add as necessary.

    The coop we are building is in 4 fenced acres. The fence has a hot wire on the outside top and bottom protecting the field fence. We have no issues with our dogs or other dogs digging under. Not that we wont in the future but a good mini 14 will take care of that.

    The coop is 8x8 built 2 feet off the ground. This gives the ladies something to get under. The base will be encased in latice with doors cut in two sides. One side will ge a future run if needed and the other side will allow for entry and exit to the field.

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