Free Range... need a run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Ellie, Aug 31, 2007.

  1. Ellie

    Ellie Songster

    Aug 10, 2007
    Redding, Ca.
    Boy, this is a dumb question... I see so many enclosed fences and wonder if I need that since I am going to let them free range.

    I can do that and have space but don't want them to have to run in there and then their coop, but then maybe they need that... ok. I just don't know. [​IMG]

    Thank you,
  2. allen wranch

    allen wranch Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    There are no dumb questions.

    If for some reason you need to confine the chickens for a few day, the coop may be too small (don't know size or number of chickens you have) if they are used to free ranging.

    Just a small covered run would be a good idea.
  3. Zenbirder

    Zenbirder Songster

    May 3, 2007
    New Mexico
    I would say yes. I free range, but have a run also, though a bit on the small side for the number of chickens I have. I find it helpful:
    1. When I want to make sure they get the hang of laying inside the henhouse, not out elsewhere.
    2. Every evening I like to get them in and counted by the time I want to take a shower and relax, it eases my mind and body into the evening knowing I won't be on a hunt.
    3. When something like a persistant hawk overhead comes up, I have the option of coaxing them in the covered run.
    4. When I know a really BAD storm is on the way I can get them in so that the natural shelter they take is good shelter.
    Hope that helps!
  4. WindyOaksYokes

    WindyOaksYokes Songster

    Jul 17, 2007
    Central Virginia
    Personally we have a coop with run attached... I let mine free range all day... we live on 40 acres... but they only range on 5 of them... we have had no problems with them going off further... no fencing is up here (except for the run)... I dont know what your situation is... just thought I would share our experiance.

    Edit: We do however put ours in every night... they range from about 11:00 in the morning til dusk.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2007
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I'd make a secure run that you can open up to let the birds free range. That is what I do. Their run is too small for the number of birds but it is a great place to confine them when you need to go though the flock, and a good place for them to get away from the coop if you are late to let them out.
  6. Ellie

    Ellie Songster

    Aug 10, 2007
    Redding, Ca.
    Thanks SO much. I really debated whether to show my ignorance on that one [​IMG]

    I will put in a small run then and try to get it covered. I looked at Home Depot today and they had up to 4 ft. chicken fencing. I would need 6 I think.

    Anyhow, thanks, this is a great place to come with questions. My little one week olds are doing well, but I want to get them outside by 4 weeks and only have weekends to work (like many out there, I suspect [​IMG]

    Thanks again,
  7. jessied1227

    jessied1227 Songster

    Mar 31, 2007
    East Brady, PA
    Yep, Home Depot has the 4 foot chicken wire. What we did on our small run was this: We made the sides 6 feet tall, overlapping the extra two feet over the top on each side, then laying a strip of chicken wire down the middle, so we have an 8 foot wide run.

    We free range our girls from 11 am to dusk. I have 12 mature girls and 16 smaller chickens, plus 5 small guineas in our run. When we finally get everyone introduced, the run will be for our boys or for quarantine.

    It's nice to have around.
  8. allen wranch

    allen wranch Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    Just remember chicken wire keeps chickens in, but doesn't keep predators out.

    You also need to cover the run if they are in there for a while because of flying predators.

    I would still lock them in at night.
  9. FarmerMack

    FarmerMack Songster

    Oct 28, 2007
    Stanford, KY
    Ok after scanning thruough all the "run" requirements for "free range" chicken I'm more confused than ever. LOL
    A, Chicken wire is crap, keeps chickens in.
    B. trees and bushes great place to hide from flying predators.
    C. I know nothing of chicken but boy arent they cute
    D. These Dixie chicks owe me some eggs. hahaha

    If the run is only used to give them some extra outside space and they are going to be locked up each night what would be the minimum size needed for 11 birds. The coop is going to be 6X8 which is 48 sq ft. plenty for the ladies. I intend on letting them roam my 1 acre lot during the day light hours and only use the run for winter and to keep them in until they know where home is. after that I intend to let them be chickens and roam free as chicken should. 10 square square ft per seems a bit much but what do I know

    11 ladies 1 week old coop in process.

    Coopless in NH

    Farmer Mack [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2007
  10. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    The 10 sq ft figure really only applies to those that have chickens that spend a good part of their day locked in the run. No reason why you can't let them range in the winter. Mine range all winter.

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