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Do I really need a run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by littlepeepers, May 11, 2010.

  1. littlepeepers

    littlepeepers In the Brooder

    Apr 11, 2010
    I live in the tacoma/seattle area of washington. But, do I really need an enclosed run, or should I let me chickens free range. We have two big dogs, and two cats that wouldn't bother the chickens. We do live close but not very close to some woods, does anyone in this area have experience with predators during the day? The chickens would have a safe coop to go into at night, but do I really need an enclosed run for the protection of my chickens? Do other people in this are have problems with predators? Thanks, all responses would be lovely!

  2. littlepeepers

    littlepeepers In the Brooder

    Apr 11, 2010
    we have a huge yard for them to free range in too. thanks
  3. NurseELB

    NurseELB Songster

    Oct 16, 2008
    Lacey, WA
    I'm in Olympia, fairly small property, backyard is fully fenced w/6ft wood fence. Across the street is a large untouched forest area. I know I am taking a chance, but my girls are free ranged in my backyard, live in a small tractor that I NEVER close. They go into the upper box at night to sleep.
    We have raccoons and other predators (a cougar last summer) that could get in and do damage, but I believe they don't come into our yard because of our dogs.
    I'm building a bigger coop this summer because we've added babies and I have decided to build a run so we can keep them off the deck, but I'm pretty sure it won't be higher than 4 feet, and I won't cover it. Many people on here will tell you I will eventually lose this gamble but I think the girls are fine [​IMG]
  4. greenpeeps

    greenpeeps Songster

    Apr 15, 2009
    Greenford, Ohio
    We have 1 acre and farm behind us. Tons of room for our chickens, but they always tend to want to cross the road, (haha I know). So If I'm outside they are let loose, otherwise they are locked in the run. It would also come in handy if you had to go a way for a while. [​IMG]
  5. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I always say, Just Floss the Teeth You want to Keep.

    I have a chicken saying too:.

    Just Free Range those chickens that you don't mind loosing to a hawk or some other predator.
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
  6. patvetzal

    patvetzal Songster

    Aug 12, 2008
    Bancroft, Ontario
    We live in the bush on the shore of a small lake. Seen the odd stray dog, deer, one coyote, moose, wild turkeys etc in our yard. The first year we penned, the next two we totally free ranged. This year we are back to a pen so my wifes gardens can recover.
    The 6 birds would much rather have the run of the place, and food costs are less, but ours are $5 birds (with individual personalities), If we had lost one we would be upset, but they sure are fun to watch as they investigate the area (and put the run on our dog)
  7. schellie69

    schellie69 Songster

    Oct 8, 2009
    I free range during the day and have a pen/coop for them at night I feel safer having them in pen at night just due to Ferrel cats, raccoons and such at night I would hate to lose any of my girls to a predator I would rather be safe then sorry plus if you need to pen them for a period while you are away then that is also a bonus.

  8. blk90s13

    blk90s13 Songster

    Feb 16, 2009
    Quote:very well said
  9. CityChook

    CityChook Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    I don't free range my hens all day not because of predators, which are certainly out there, but because they are naughty and destructive to my yard/gardens. Left unattended, they will wander out of the yard, they poo on my patio furniture and back steps and they eat my vegetables and expensive flowers. On top of that, I have a great relationship with my neighbors, who enjoy the chickens as much as I do, but if they stepped in chicken poo every time they walked out their back door, that relationship *could* be compromised. Because of that, they are only allowed out to range when I'm already outside working in the gardens and can keep an eye on them.

    All that and it doesn't even begin to address all the beasties in my urban environment that would love to have chicken for lunch/dinner.
  10. rcentner

    rcentner Songster

    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY
    I would build a run for when you are not there to montior the free ranging. And monitor them when they are out. I had chickens free ranging for a long time, with no incidences, but then came the fox. I thought all I had to worry about was night time predators and hawks during the day. well, it turns out fox are crepuscular. that means they hunt for 2-3 hours surrounding sunrise and sunset. So I leave for work and mrs fox comes and eats/kills/chases away 8 chickens somehwere around 8-8:30 in the morning. I hear that if you have dogs and they can stay out all day with the chickens will protect them from such things, but idk personally. My dog is a total wimp and didn't even realize a few weeks ago that the fox was standing 15ft away from her.
    Like I said, I used to free range and they had free ranged for a few months, with no monitoring while we went to work and what not. But I had just got them and the predators were unaware of their presence. Built runs for them cause my DH was mad that they ruined the landscaping he did, they were in runs all winter. Then spring hit and we built a new coop and since we weren't done with the runs, I let them free range all weekend. So that monday I thought "my biggest worry is loosing one to a hawk" and they are so good about hiding from the hawks. WRONG! at 12:30pm when I came home and was missing 8 chickens. only 1 returned.

    so, if you love you chickens like I do, avoid the despair of coming home to find dead/missing chickens and build a run. I always felt bad keeping them in the runs, but bored chickens are way better than dead ones.

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