Do I need a run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Ummsantos, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. Ummsantos

    Ummsantos New Egg

    1
    0
    7
    Feb 14, 2012
    Hi all. I live in sw Houston and am making my first chicken coop. I was wondering if a run is necessary. My neighbors have no pets. I've lived in my house for a year and have only seen squirrels in my backyard. I want my chickens (3 pullets) to be free range.

    Thanks!
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,942
    4,187
    461
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Even though my chickens free range, I have a run. It's nice if we're going to be gone for a few days, since the run is attached to the coop. I can leave the coop door open, but shut the run door and they can let themselves out and put themselves back in at night. Also. although you have only seen squirrels, I will guarantee that once you have chickens you will likely see other wildlife. Raccoons live in cities, as do hawks, possums, and even coyotes. My son watched a coyote cross 4 lanes of busy traffic in St. Paul, MN last November. Just because your neighbor doesn't have pets, it doesn't mean that you won't have strays show up in your yard wanting to play with your little feathered squeaky toys. Chickens are at the bottom of the food chain, and they WILL be found. You can still free range, but with a run you have a safe place for them if needed.
     
  3. Qurus

    Qurus Chillin' With My Peeps

    384
    1
    91
    Feb 14, 2012
    Donna, Texas
    I made this same decision just a few days ago. I had planned to free-range during the day, and coop at night. Then I had a talk with my neighbor, who allows his flock to free range. I have seen coyotes near my area, but wasn't worried because of my property fence, but my neighbor clued me in to the dangers of predators that I don't often see or notice, like oppossums, bobcats, and snakes, not to mention birds of prey such as hawks. The vultures we have here will attack chickens, and my neighbor claims to have lost a hen to one. Houston is not far away, so I imagine you'll have some of the same dangers there. I would recommend that you figure the price of a run (Most of the savy people on this forum recommend 10 square feet per chicken), add in the price of any additional feed that you'll have to buy, and balance that against how you (and others in your house) will feel if your best egg-layer is attacked. Needless to say, I built a run for mine.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by