First time keeping hens with a run instead of free range - any relatively inexpensive options?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by GretasFlock, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. GretasFlock

    GretasFlock Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 21, 2013
    Hi, so I just recently moved cross country, and had to rehome my hens. They all got to go to a great home together, and now I'm getting ready to start over. I have a couple questions, though.

    I moved from Utah suburbs to a semi-rural town in North Carolina. In Utah, the chickens had a coop that they'd go in at night, but they were just out in the yard during the day, semi free ranging behind the backyard fence. It worked out pretty well, but this time they need to be more secured for a few reasons. First reason is that I have a dog now, and though she doesn't have a high prey drive, she's very large and very playful and would probably accidentally kill a chicken or at least terrorize them.

    The neighborhood cats are large and very predatory(they kill rats/squirrels pretty frequently), so I wouldn't put it past them to kill a chicken.

    And lastly, being a rural town, there are a LOT of large hawks that soar around the area, as well as other predators.

    Obviously not a good idea to let them wander loose.

    I'm wanting to get about 6-8 hens. About how big would the run have to be, and how would you guys suggest going about inexpensively building/buying it? I have a coop already, they just need the secure roaming space and so far I'm having trouble finding good options. DIY options are great as long as they don't require any building expertise that your average non-builder person wouldn't have. :)

    Thanks in advance!
  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    Aim for a rough minimum of 10 sq ft a bird. Obviously if you can manage more space, they'll appreciate it!

    A good, not-too-expensive option is a chain link dog kennel, they're usually 10 x 10 which would be enough for your birds. You'll need to reinforce it with hardware cloth or welded wire but that can be done with very little "construction" knowledge.

    I've also seen on there some folks using carports as the skeleton of a run, which I think is a fantastic idea and I'm considering that for the future as that would give you quite a bit of space with very good coverage overhead (against hawks), though I haven't looked into the cost of doing that.

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