First time chicken owner, have some questions about run design - Pic added

allysonnhoward

In the Brooder
Jul 14, 2021
3
11
21
Hi all!

I've spent the past week perusing through the forums and galleries and I'm so glad to have found this community!

We recently purchased 4 Easter Eggers that will need to move out to their coop in the next few weeks and I want to make sure I have it as safe as possible. Our set up is a little unique, as we live on a very sloped lot. The best spot, I think, is in an area that is close to our house, and detached shed because the area is flat, shaded and accessible by an existing brick walkway. There is a large garden bed underneath a multi-trunk magnolia that is approximately 9'x9'. There is nothing growing in the bed because it's nearly full shade and we let our son use his constructions toys in it (he has since outgrown them).

I was thinking about turning that space into the run, constructing 4 stud walls around the perimeter, with hardware cloth, but because there is a tree in the middle, I'd leave the top open. My plan is to run fishing wire back and forth across the top, even though I'm not sure a hawk or owl could actually make the dive, because of the protected nature of the space, and then I was going to run a string of electric fencing wire around the top to prevent any predators from climbing in. The coop will be attached, and have an automatic door. There will also be a predator apron on the two sides that don't have a walkway in front of them.

Do you think the fishing line and electric wire will be sufficient? I want to make sure I get this right, so I'm happy for all input!

Thanks so much!
 

DobieLover

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Welcome to BYC!

The fishing line will be very hard for a bird of prey to see.
The hot wire should be lower, at nose level. The way they work is the critter you are trying to run off must be touching the wire as well as the ground to complete the circuit. Otherwise they won't get shocked.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
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Feb 2, 2009
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Hi, welcome to the forum from Louisiana, glad you joined.

Hardware cloth and aprons, good. Can a climbing predator reach that magnolia tree by climbing through the branches of a neighboring tree? As long as they cannot I'd use deer netting or something like that to stop birds of prey instead of fishing line. The downside of covering the run where a tree can drop leaves on it is that the covering can really sag under that weight so you may need to remove those heavy magnolia leaves so they don't build up too much. If you get snow or ice the that can get really heavy. To me that is the big downside of putting it under a tree. The shade will be nice.

For electricity to work to keep critters away the critter has to complete the circuit between the hot wire and the ground. In your case I'd put the hot wire on insulators around the outside of the run pretty high up and wire it up so the hardware cloth is the ground. The soil does not need to be your electrical ground at all, though that won't hurt anything. And the hot wire will be high enough that the weeds or grass will not grow into it and short circuit it.
 

allysonnhoward

In the Brooder
Jul 14, 2021
3
11
21
You all are incredible! Thank you so much for your feedback so far!

We live in sticky/hot Middle Tennessee so shade is important and fortunately, we don't get too much snow (although we did get quite a bit, for us Tennesseean's last year). Because of the nature of the slope, that area drains well.

As you can see in the picture I just ran outside to snap, we definitely get a lot of falling leaves, however, they typically shed once a year, around this time. My plan was to move the rocks out of there, build the run on top of the perimeter of the planter (there are railroad ties under the bricks), and then put the attached coop above the railroad tie retaining wall.

There are neighboring trees that I do believe a predator could use to get to the magnolia, that was definitely something I hadn't considered! I guess this puts me back at square one unless y'all have any other creative solutions!

IMG_0673.jpeg
 

3KillerBs

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That looks very promising. Can we see more photos of the area with the neighboring trees? Are you willing to do any pruning or tree removal of said neighboring trees?

Do you have the coop already or are you going to build? If the latter, you might consider an Open Air coop for your climate.
 

allysonnhoward

In the Brooder
Jul 14, 2021
3
11
21
I haven't started the build on the coop yet - but I'm glad to know I can do an open air coop! I would really love to do a miniature version of this one by Krumdieck A+I (we are limited to 6 total chickens) but I wanted to settle on the location before beginning the build.

sunshinefarms01.jpg


Here are pictures of the neighboring trees. Maybe I'm giving the racoons and possum too much credit but these little ladies have quickly become apart of our family and I would hate for anything to happen to them.
IMG_0674.jpeg
IMG_0680 2.jpeg
 

3KillerBs

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That's a really lovely design!

How attached are you to the tree that's right at the corner of the house? Without actually standing on your property that looks to me like the only one that would offer the opportunity to climb into the proposed run.

The more distant ones might be lightly pruned, but I think that the branches that touch wouldn't be strong enough.

It's even possible that just shutting them securely into the coop proper each night would be adequate. There's no guarantees, but I have an open run surrounded by electric poultry net and have had no problems in a year of using this setup.
 

rosemarythyme

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Jul 3, 2016
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Rather than surround the tree, I'd consider putting the run next to the tree. Shade is great, but it makes it a lot easier to do maintenance if the tree can be accessed from outside the run.

Hmm, don't have a lot of photos where you can see the actual tree, but here's an old one where you can see the weeping willow tree that shades the majority of my run in the afternoon. I have the entire run netted now to protect from hawks but I can peel back a corner of netting to cut back any overly large/intrusive branches that hang into the run, but otherwise maintenance can be done from outside by my arborist.

willow.jpg
 

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