Do the coop and the run have to be connected?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by CT, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. CT

    CT Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 19, 2010
    Great Lakes
    I am soon to be a first time chicken owner. I built a coop or cage, which I'll have to describe for now (pics to come after I get the space cleaned up a little). I took a large wooden table (about 4x8') and put it in the corner of my barn. The barn is a cinderblock structure, half underground, like a walkout basement is. It is in the southwest corner. On the south wall is a window (about 5 inches above the surface of the table sans litter) which is on hinges. I put it on so that it could be opened and secured from the outside, and the opening is large enough for me to lean in from outside and do daily stuff, like changing the water. The other two sides of the table I put up hardware cloth from the table edges to the ceiling beams. Both of these sides can be opened up for maintanance. The barn has two more windows and a door, all of which can be opened for good circulation, or closed to keep out the cold. I think this will be a good enclosure for the 3-4 birds I plan to have. I do welcome your thoughts on it, especially once I can get pictures up.

    But my question of the moment is about the outside. The window is a few feet off the ground from the outside. I can open it and prop it to keep it open, and there will have to be a ramp to let the birds in and out. But I was picturing just having it come straight down into the yard, for those times when the chickens and I are outside together. We have about 3 acres, none of which is fenced, although the neighbors are few and accomodating. There are certainly other animals living in the yard that will eat chickens. I don't think I can free-range them except under supervision, and besides, I have plans for where I want them to do their chicken thing. Can I built a fenced in area (probably a dome of some sort, because we have hawks) that is nothing but that and take the chickens out of the coop in the morning and plop them into the fencing for the day? Do they need to have a structure attached to a run so that they can go easily from one to the other? Will they need access to things like the nest box during the day? I do plan to set up a waterer and feed and make sure they have shade (and cover too, if there is a chance of rain) in the fenced area. But the coop I built would, under these conditions, be for night and bad weather and not available during outside time, unless they are exploring the yard with a person nearby. Since I've only seen coops with attached runs and portable designs that include housing, I wasn't sure if a stationary house and a portable yard are a bad idea.

  2. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 10, 2010
    For me, no way I would set-up myself to have to physically move the chickens every morning and evening to and from a coop to a run. Maybe with only the three or four chickens you have in mind it would be doable, but not for me. I have other things I like to do.

    With that being said, as long as the chickens would have shade, shelter, nesting boxes, food and water I think it would work. There are plenty of people out there who have very nice open coops (climate permitting of course). You may even want to leave the run gate open when you have them out to free-range. That way you would only have to have water and food in one place and they could get to it as often as they wanted to.

    You may be able to train them with treats to walk themselves to the day pen and back into the barn coop at night. Stranger things have been posted on BYC. [​IMG]
  3. flyboy129

    flyboy129 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 27, 2011
    No they don't have to be connected as long as you do;'t mind putting them in it in the morning and in the coop at night. If they are laying age, I would recommend nest boxes in the run if they can't get inside a coop. If not already done, I would also highly reccommend covering the run with wire for birds of prey. As long as they have food and water, it wouldn't be much different than a chicken tractor.
  4. suzyQlou

    suzyQlou Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2011
    Dillsburg, PA
    My Coop
    It's do-able to keep them separate. I had that setup for a couple months while I was building my coop. It wasn't really ideal, though. I had three pullets, and it became a pain to be the one carrying them back and forth from their run to their bedroom every day.

    I would say that you would want to include at least a little shelter in the run area. I used a big rubbermaid tub, and a tarp on the roof. There were days when rain surprised me. There were days that the girls needed to hide from barking dogs in the neighborhood. There were days when they needed lots of shade. Those are the kind of things that an attached coop would provide.

    I think the idea of a permanent, stationary coop has a lot of merit, though. It can be bigger and stronger. I might even build one some day so I can have more hens over the winter (shhhhhhhh, don't tell dh I said that).
  5. CT

    CT Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 19, 2010
    Great Lakes
    Thanks for the input. I am building an outdoor run that I can move, and yesm, I would have to grab the chickens and toss them in. Maybe not the most fun chore. But to get specific areas of the yard scratched up and fertilized, it seem the simplest thing. I should probably fence in a run directly adjacent to the barn though.
  6. Annabella

    Annabella Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 17, 2010
    As you want specific areas scratched and fertilized, would you better off utilising a chicken tractor?

    Easy enough then to move around, keeping them safe, you don't have to worry about forgetting to pen them up at nights then either. [​IMG]
  7. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I agree with Annabella - sounds to me like you should consider a tractor, at least for the milder months - put them in the perm. coop for night time and winter months.
    Of course personally I'd want a run of some kind attached to the barn area - that just sounds like a pain to me to move them in/out every
  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I have a fenced, small garden. In the fall, the chickens get a couple of months of rooting around there. They absolutely adore this. After day 1? There's no problem whatsoever. Open the garden door, open the barn door and they rush directly to their play/dig/work/scratch area for the day.

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