Doesn't a coop need a run?

bjengel

In the Brooder
9 Years
Feb 22, 2010
22
0
22
Bay City, Michigan
A friend of my son (age 8) at school has some backyard chickens and now my son is obsessed with getting some as well.

We have a 6'-0" x 12'-0" lean-to off the back side of our barn which should be more than enough room for 4 or so hens (no more than 6).

My question is this - my son's friend doesn't ever let their chickens outside, they are 100% of the time cooped up in their coop, they have no free range, no run, no nothing, - they just spend all day every day in their coop.

That can't be good/healthy for the chickens can it? Don't you have to have a run or something for your chickens to get some outside time? I'm just curious because I told my son that if we get chickens then we would have to build a pen/run for them as well (free range isn't a option), and that is when he said "no we don't, Jack never lets his chickens out"............. I guess I just didn't think that it was ok to have the chickens cooped up like that constantly.
 

gryeyes

Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers
10 Years
Sep 22, 2009
15,506
432
358
My slice of heaven in Somerset, CA
AAAAAUUUUGGHHHH!!!!!

CHICKENS need a run. If they don't get outside, they're no more than battery chickens! IMNSHO.

Remember that parents' old adage: Just because your friends do it, doesn't mean YOU do the same thing. Be better, rise higher, achieve greater.
 

Teach97

Bantam Addict
11 Years
Nov 12, 2008
5,603
14
241
Hooker, OK
I go for...be lesser, shoot for the bottom, achieve nothing....

I keep birds in cages. They lay regular and have no diseases. Trying to keep lines pure for showing. Put that is me...
 

NYREDS

Crowing
12 Years
Jan 14, 2008
5,644
446
303
72 square feet is a lot of room for 4 or even 6 chickens. There's no reason not to do a run if you want to but they would be fine without one. There are pleanty of people who keep perfectly healthy chickens confined.
 

scooter147

Songster
11 Years
Jul 30, 2008
2,042
79
221
Missouri
When you say lean to I picture a the longest side open, is this correct? If so you have a coop and run in one. For 4 hens you can easily build a enclosed shelter of approximately 20 square feet and wire the rest of it off for a run.
 

chickerdoodle

Songster
10 Years
Aug 21, 2009
1,610
43
179
Oregon
I'll use horses for an example. I had my mare at a hunter jumper show barn. All the fancy smancy folks had sparkling clean stalls for their horses when they weren't riding. My hosre didn't like the stalls so I pastured her where she had a lean to and could walk, run, or whatever she wanted all day--everyday with the other 2 horses. When I wanted to ride her I just called her (if she hadn't already ran to me) groom her well (sometimes dry mud) and then ride. When I was done, I reversed the process. She is 27 years old and sound. The horses in sparkling stalls turned up lame or sore now and again--they also had a much shorter working life and usually had to be retired by the mid teens. Horses naturally need to walk all day, graze a bit here or there (the 21/2 acre pasture she was in had little good grass left but enough to keep them active). Chickens naturally need to scratch and walk around. Their immune systems need to be challenged periodically in oder to become stronger and hardier stock to breed from (hardiness is critical in my opinion). They also need to be happy--who are we to put them in small, cramped spaces and take their eggs just for our needs? They are sentient creatures and deserve to be treated as such. I certainly understand separation for breeding purposes (and I am sure its clean) but hopefully they get to stretch and walk on more natural flooring everyday. Chickens are the most used (and abused) livestock in the world but still need to be able to be , well, a chicken!
big_smile.png
 

bjengel

In the Brooder
9 Years
Feb 22, 2010
22
0
22
Bay City, Michigan
Quote:
No it is actually a lean-to addition onto the back of our barn, it is all enclosed. Our barn was 16x12 and then they basically added on this little 6'-0" addition onto the back of the barn (but not as tall as the barn is) - there is one 3'-0" wide door leading from the barn into the "lean-to" addition, - so you have to enter into the barn, go to the back wall of the barn and there is a doorway which leads into this little addition (6'-0" x 12'-0" with about a 7'-0" ceiling).

If I were to make a run off this room, then I would have to cut a pop-door into a wall and build a run off of it.
 

scooter147

Songster
11 Years
Jul 30, 2008
2,042
79
221
Missouri
Quote:
No it is actually a lean-to addition onto the back of our barn, it is all enclosed. Our barn was 16x12 and then they basically added on this little 6'-0" addition onto the back of the barn (but not as tall as the barn is) - there is one 3'-0" wide door leading from the barn into the "lean-to" addition, - so you have to enter into the barn, go to the back wall of the barn and there is a doorway which leads into this little addition (6'-0" x 12'-0" with about a 7'-0" ceiling).

If I were to make a run off this room, then I would have to cut a pop-door into a wall and build a run off of it.

Then if I was going to do it I would build a run or I personally I wouldn't get the chickens. That being said the run does not have to be elaborate or expensive. Eight foot landscape timbers make great posts and what I did was buy the $2 ones off the scrap pile at Home Depot, just made sure I had 6 feet of good timber. Chicken wire is relatively inexpensive but is hard to work with and every time I use it for something I look like I've been in a fight with about 10 cats. I built a run once with three foot high 1"inch square woven wire and used the same wire to make a top to keep the birds in and the hawks out. At only three feet high even chickens with clipped wings are likely to go over it. This run was approximately 16 feet long by 8 feet wide, it made a great run for the three hens and one rooster I had in it. The lentgh was two 8 foot timbers by one timber wide.
As long as the hens have a good spot to dust bath, a place to scratch, fresh air, fresh water, food and a predator proof place to roost at night they will be happy campers. Keep the run interesting for them by adding straw and or bedding and throw a bit of scratch feed around. It satisfies thier natural need to scratch to find their food. When my chickens free range they spend their day scratching around, dust and sun bathing, resting, pooping etc. They will gladly eat all your table scraps too (with the exception of bones and raw veggies).
 

toletiquesbysam

Songster
11 Years
Sep 19, 2008
1,711
8
161
Nebraska
I did some of the same things scooter did, with the landscape timbers and used chicken wire. DH cut the pop door and most days they have the option of coming out into the run or staying inside. But this winter because of our snow/blowing/etc, they spent almost a month it seemed stuck inside their coop. They didn't mind it, but they were sure happy to be given the opportunity to go outside again!
 

teach1rusl

Love My Chickens
10 Years
Jul 28, 2009
10,017
188
356
Floyds Knobs, Indiana
My Coop
My Coop
I would say YES, of course chickens need a run, or access to outdoors. But obviously, since some people keep them confined inside their entire lives, it is possible to do so. I guess it comes down to WHY you have chickens and your feelings of quality of life for your animals. But I don't believe in "no kill shelters" for dogs either. I'd rather see a dog put down than have it spend his/her life in a small cage. I kind of agree with the poster who equated it to the conditions of "factory chickens."

If you're not concerned with a permanent run, you can always just buy a 100 or 150 ft. roll of welded wire. The roll can be moved around, and you can form it into a circle or horseshoe, and it'll stand up without using any posts...very rigid. As others have mentioned doing, I used landscape timbers for my run posts because they're pretty cheap. Good luck to you...
 

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