Have the coop (sorta) but need the run!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ByeEyed, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. ByeEyed

    ByeEyed Out Of The Brooder

    May 21, 2016

    I am hoping this hasn't brought up too recently and I didn't miss it while perusing the other threads but I am in a bit of a quandary. The area where I have chosen to place my run (and the only feasible place) is dry on the surface. I have 8 foot long lumber i plan on sinking into the ground 2 feet so the top is 6 feet high. When I started digging, I hit water 1/2 to 1 foot beneath the surface. I live less than a mile from the beach so the soil is maybe 3-4 inches of dirt mixed with sand then beneath that is pure crushed shells. It is a relatively stable area with a lot of vegatation and bushes holding everything.

    I am wanting to build the run 29 ft by nearly 18 feet wide with a 6 feet height so I can visit the chickens without having to stoop. I hope this will be big enough for 5 chickens but any input on that would be appreciated!! It will be fully enclosed including the top as I have a pair of hawks who love to hang out in the backyard and my dog regularly chases armadillos and opposums out of the yard. I have seen raccoons as well but never in the yard although that will change once the chickens move out there permanently. I also plan o letting the chickens out into the backyard when I am present to surpervise but as I work 2nd shift, they need to have a safe place to browse and chill as I won't be there to shut the coop up until 12:30am!

    My question is, has anyone else encountered the problem of ghe standing water underneath the surface and if so, how was the problem resolved? I don't want to sink wood in moisture then ending up having to replace lumber every 2-3 years vecause it rotted. Some one suggested elevating but I can't quite picture that in my head and I would love to keep my chickens on the ground. I have a huge surplus of lumber I would like to use rather than purchasing even more materials but am open to other options. I can put concrete in but am not sure how well that'd work considering the ground is still so wet.

    The chicks will be 2 weeks this Wednesday si I figure I have 3-4 more weeks to get this run built. The coop is already built and is fully enclosed however it is way too small to keep 5 grown chickens on a full time basis. I have a massive old shed as seen on the right in the photo that I plan on converting but that will have to be held until later this fall. The run will start at where the shed is situated (it will be a part of the run) and all the way down to the fence on the other side. I want to keep as much vegatation as possible, not only for privacy but for chicken entertainment!

    Thank you in advance for any help you can give me!! I appreciate it a great deal! If there is anything I can clarify or tske more pictures to show what I am working with, please let me know!

  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    I would suggest using cement piers for your vertical posts. You can buy them, or easily make them if you know how to work with concrete. There are several different types. This article talks about them a little:

    In general you want a minimum of 10 square feet of run space per bird. That means for 6 birds a 6x10 run would be adequate, although more is great. I use heavy-duty poultry netting over my runs. Put a tall post in the center of the run if you use this, to allow you to walk around inside, and to protect your birds from having the netting fall on them.

    Any vegetation in the run will be completely decimated by your birds, they can turn any green area into a lunar landscape.
  3. BeachMomma

    BeachMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2015
    Have you thought of using treated landscaping timbers as your base around the run? As long as you put tiny hardcloth skirting, I think it's 1/4 inch, attached and buried down/out it could work.

    We had a similar issue when constructing our new run. The ground was just unsuitable so I used 8 ft treated landscape timbers on top of the ground, doubled them up so it was 2 timbers per side. Then used 2x4's on top of that to build the whole framing of the run. Instead of an open netted roof, I did a pitched plywood roof (painted with waterproof barn paint) so the run didn't get swampy after rains and it keeps it slightly cooler in the summer.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  4. Rock Home Isle

    Rock Home Isle Chillin' With My Peeps

    If your entire yard is securely fenced, you might consider letting the flock forage the whole yard.

    There looks to be a fence in the photo. What posts were used for the fence? If you could find the same material, it should work.

    Another option is using steel T-bar posts. They drive into the ground easily, and I've seen them as long as 9 feet in our local farm & ranch stores.
  5. ByeEyed

    ByeEyed Out Of The Brooder

    May 21, 2016
    Well I sorta forgot I had this thread going. [​IMG] My apologies to the kind folks who took the time to reply! I truly didn't mean to leave yall in the hole wondering.

    I have finished half of the run! It is 10X13ft which should be enough space for 5 chickens (EE bantam, Mille Fleur bantam, australorp, SLW, and appenzeller spitzhauben) for the short term.

    The run will eventually expand all the way down to the fence line and become approximately 28 feet long and 13 feet wide. Due to the scope and breadth of this project, I opted to do this in several stages. First was getting the initial run built and the prefab coop put in (which I already have very very serious problems with ugh). Next was building the 2nd part of the run then converting the shed into a coop. Due to circumstances surrounding the pre-fab coop which I loathe with a burning passion, I have decided to work on converting the shed first instead then work on making the run bigger. It will be a headache but ultimately give me more peace of mind for my chickens' safety in the long run.

    That said, the run was built by sinking 8 feet long 4X4 posts 2 feet into the ground and pouring concrete around each post. It was then framed out and 1/2 hardware cloth fastened to the wall with a 12 inch apron extending out. I would have preferred burying the wire but there are massive oak and cedar trees as you can see in the pictures and digging down around huge roots was very difficult. It took us 4 full days non-stop working to get this beast done but I am very proud of it!


    I also dug and buried concrete 12 inches deep where the door frame is. It isn't visible in the picture but I also placed a wooden pole on the ground to fill the small gaps between door and concrete and wrapped with hardware cloth. I also roofed the run with 5 feet rolls of 2X4 galvanized steel mesh but due to rushing, the top isn't completely level and squared so there were some areas where the mesh doesn't contact the support beam across the middle. I ziplined the heck out of it and stapled/screwed down everywhere possible. My vision is once I get the shed converted and the second half of the run built, I'll go back over this and get roofing to put over it so when it rains, the peeps can still get out and enjoy the outdoors.

    The flooring is predominantly crushed shells that were dug up while we put posts in. About once a week, I go out and rake up dried leaves and pine straw and dump it in the run for the girls to kick through.

    If there are any questions or you see something that is worth pointing out, please let me know! I have endeavored to make this as predator proof as possible and am looking at several options for electric fencing on the outside.

    Thank you all for all your helpful comments! :)

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