Finally decided to try my hand at building a run! Have questions!!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by nharbison0722, Jun 20, 2016.

  1. nharbison0722

    nharbison0722 Out Of The Brooder

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    Well, with no carpentry experience, I've decided to go ahead and build my chicken run from scratch. Below I've posted some of the progress. There will be cross beams on the top and chicken wire all the way around and on top as well. There aren't many predators in our area that I know of, and we do have a fenced in back yard. Upon seeing what I've done thus far, I'd greatly appreciate any tips or advice! Also, do I put out bedding into the run as well as inside the coop! I'm using a mixture of costal hay and pine shavings. Thanks for the advice and thanks for making such a great community to share in!
    -Neil
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  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Nice start.
    I have to ask where you are located that you don't think you have many predators.
    I always say, "If you build it, they will come".
    In that regard, chicken wire won't keep raccoons or big dogs out. Your perimeter fence will work for dogs but not raccoons, foxes and opossums. A fox can jump that fence and raccoons/opossums can climb it.

    For the run, temporarily you may want to get some forage crops started like alfalfa and 7-top turnips.
    Eventually they'll destroy all greenery but broadcasting some of that seed now may help.
     
  3. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    You are off to go a good start. You probably still need more support along the far end from the coop. I assume you just haven't gotten to it yet though, because the rest is not bad at all for no experience. They will have some great looking grass to scratch in for a while, so no shavings or hay in the run right now. In a month or so it will all be bare dirt. I prefer shavings in the coop and a dirt run as long as possible. When it rains a lot and the run gets muddy, I throw down some hay so there aren't any mud puddles but move it back out as soon as the water soaks in good. Looks like you have lots of shade back there but obvoiusly it gets some sun or your grass wouldn't be so lush.
     
  4. nharbison0722

    nharbison0722 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the replies. I'm in Central Texas. So we don't see many raccoons or opossums. And yes, I do plan on more support at the furthest end, I just had to come to a stopping point for the day yesterday. There is quite a bit of shade, and dappled sun, I'm hoping it will be enough shade for the girls. I actually moved the coop from where it was in full sun, to where it is now with the shade. It's in the upper 90's here in Texas with heat indexes of 102-106! I plan on taking the girls out little bit little to get them acclimated. They are 4 weeks old Wednesday. They've been in the house under a heat lamp since day two of their lives. Thanks for the advice on the forage greens. I actually bought some forage seed mix for the omega-3 factor. I planted that in a 17 inch flat that I will put out for them. I thought my grass was too dense to put any in the yard at this time. And when it's down to dirt, I'm sure they will eat the seeds before they sprout!
    Thanks again everyone! All comments/concerns are welcomed!!!
     
  5. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    I see from your other posts that you moved the coop from near the fence to under the trees. That will help with the heat. Since they are still little, they won't scratch all your grass too quickly. The grass and the shade under the trees will actually be cooler than the air up higher. Unfortunately it isn't going to get cooler for any of us any time soon. The longer you wait to put them in the coop, the hotter it will be. You may already know, but when you do transition from inside to the coop, make sure it is in the coolest part of the day. Late after dark or early morning. We moved a flock during the day in July a couple years ago and lost a hen due to all the stress. Thanks to BYC I know better now.
     
  6. nharbison0722

    nharbison0722 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the advice! Would you suggest acclimating them slowly, like a little bit of time each day outside? It is nice and shaded but still very hot!
     
  7. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    That part I can't answer. I brooded mine on the back porch so I had already taken the heat lamp out and it was still getting almost 90 in the brooder at midday. My theory is probably wrong but I'd just do it all at once and get it over with. Watch them close for heat stress and make sure they have cool water to drink. I've been filling quart Gatorade bottles with water, freezing them, and then putting them inside the waterer to keep it cold. Change out every couple hours with another bottle of ice.
    At 4 weeks old they are old enough to have a shallow pan of water to "wade" in to cool off too, I think.
    If you have a thermometer, put it out on the grass in the run to see how hot it is down there and then you might be able to make a better judgement. Have you been using the electrolyte supplement in their water? It is supposed to help with the heat and all my girls love it. I keep it chilled in the refrigerator and the give them some in a separate waterer all day too.
    We are directly east of you so same temps and heat index.
     
  8. nharbison0722

    nharbison0722 Out Of The Brooder

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    Well, I just finished the framework of the run today. It's not perfect or as fancy as some of the others, but it will do. Tomorrow I'll be putting the wire on and all that fun stuff.
    I do have the electrolyte stuff for the girls- the one I have also has a probiotic in it, so I've been giving it to them as there sole ration of water. When they go outside, I'll do what you do and provide two different ones. I like the idea of freezing bottles to add to their water. I've been saving water bottle just for that. What size and type of waterer do you use?
    Thanks again for all your help!!
     
  9. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    My waterers are 3 gallons each. I think they are made by Miller Mfg. but I'm not sure. I got them at Tractor supply. The screw top is big enough for the quart bottle of ice to fit inside. I've never actually filled them with a full 3 gallons though. The water would get too nasty by the time they drank it all.
    And I have them sitting on blocks about 2" off the ground to keep some of the dirt out of them.
    I don't think you need anything that big though. There are 1 gallon and 1 quart sizes that are much easier to handle and might suit you better. I can't remember how many birds you have.
     
  10. nharbison0722

    nharbison0722 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thabks for the info. I have 6 girls that are almost ready to go out now, and at the end of the month I'll have 4 more chicks. I don't think my coop will really hold 10 though, so I dunno.
     

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