Height of Chicken Run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by rann5, Feb 27, 2016.

  1. rann5

    rann5 New Egg

    Feb 27, 2016
    I'm currently planning my chicken coop and run, but I keep running into the same issue... I don't know how tall to make the run! I keep seeing people saying that theirs are 4, 6, or 8 feet tall, but what is the minimum? I have fencing that I want to reuse that is two feet (actually more like 2.5) and two feet sounds small, but it looks like plenty of head space.

    I am covering the entire top with hardware cloth, so it's not a matter of needing height to keep them in. I just want to make sure they're going to be comfortable within a two foot high enclosure.

    I also like the two foot (2.5ish) height because I can easily step over it and my plan is to make the top removable, so I can walk in when I need to.

    Thanks for your help!
  2. DogCatChickMom

    DogCatChickMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2016
    Centertown, MO
    I'm under the impression that 2.5 ft. would be a suitable height. How large of an area will the run be? I just built a tractor coop and have the run extended under the coop, It's only 2 ft off the ground. The floor area is 4x10.
  3. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 7, 2016
    Saint Louis, MO
    If you're looking for minimum, you just really need enough space for them to stand up in.

    If you want to give them extra space to hop, flap their wings, etc. then you can always still use the 2'ish fence and stack it with an overlap, attaching it together with cable ties, hog rings, or cage clips.

    Depending on the level of predation in your area, you may want to consider either burying a portion of the fence or creating an apron to block diggers.
  4. rann5

    rann5 New Egg

    Feb 27, 2016
    Thanks. I'm just starting with a few chickens and I'm making the run so they each have 10 sq feet (together, though!). The coop and run itself is in a yard that's fenced in (6' privacy fence), although it's near a very busy road and part is open for a ramp, so it's not ideal for letting them out on their own. In a couple years I'm going to be on more land and build a more permanent (and larger!) structure for them (and the others I'm sure I'm going to end up with!).

    I was thinking since the fence is over two feet I'll buy hardware cloth that's 3' and let the extra be an apron just in case of predators. There are a lot of things around (traffic, people, fenced in dogs) that keep predators away and the fact that they'll be cooped within a fenced yard makes me hopeful they'll be alright! I'm excited to have fresh eggs, but they're really just going to be pets, so I'm still taking extra precautions!
  5. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 24, 2016
    I made mine tall enough to walk in. I wouldn't want to think about have to crawl in after a sick bird, or eggs that get laid in the run or if a predator got in and you needed to get it out. Not everyone has the option to go that tall though.
  6. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2015
    SW Ohio

    Ditto! With our first, pre-fab coop/run, we had to crawl on our belly to get inside, not fun crawling through chicken poo to reach those wayward chicks. That set-up lasted about a week before we realized our mistake and built the run pictured below.
  7. JadedPhoenix

    JadedPhoenix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 29, 2012
    Tyro-Lexington, NC
    One thing to think about with low hanging ceilings is that if the chickens get spooked, they will jump up instinctively and hit their heads. I've had two break their necks doing that when they were able to walk under their coop and a dog charged their run. So even though the dog couldn't get to the chicken, he was still able to kill it by scaring it into jumping and hitting the "roof". Now, I have a great bit of distance from the coop and the fencing. I have an 8 foot top to my run and when spooked it is not unheard of to see them reach the netting even there. But they of course have less momentum when and the netting will give a bit when they hit it.
  8. rann5

    rann5 New Egg

    Feb 27, 2016
    I really don't have the ability to make it high right now. In a year or two, when I have more land I absolutely am going to build a nice big coop and run.

    You make good points about not wanting to have to crawl into a run. That's why I don't want the fence too high. If I couldn't step over it, I wouldn't be able to have a removable top and then I'd really have to hobble through a four foot high enclosure! My back wouldn't be able to take that...

    Jaded Phoenix, good point. I'll have to think about that. Thankfully, I'm not getting my chicks till the end of March, so I still have plenty of time to plan before they'll be big enough for the coop.
  9. Chickadee75

    Chickadee75 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 26, 2016
    Sealy, TX
    My coop is 2ft high and will be covered with same chicken wire on top to protect them from predators, but we are also making the top where I can open and close it with locks for easy in and out access
  10. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    Oh, I so agree with making it tall.....no fun crawling in chicken poop to get eggs or a rescue an errant chicken. If you are like we were, space AND budget were both tight. We found a simple solution that didn't cost an arm and a leg, was so easy to put up that just the two of us, old and partially disabled, managed to get it done in no time at all. We simply used cattle panels. They are about 52" wide and 14 - 16 feet long and run about 20 bucks each. We used 3 at first, attached to steel fence posts pounded into the ground, and then when we got ready to expand it a year later, all we had to do was take the end off, add two more fence posts and another cattle panel, then put the end back up. We covered it with chicken wire to deter overhead predators and keep small birds out. We used hardware cloth as a skirt about 2 feet up, folded it outward at the bottom and ran it out about 2 feet as dig-proof apron. It has withstood our strong (60+ mph winds and snow) and we love it as much now as we did when we built it. We added the lattice in front just for "purty" because we live on a corner lot in town and our setup is visible from street on both the north and the east sides. In summer we toss landscape fabric over it for shade, and in winter we cover it with plastic. It's warm enough in there in winter to brood chicks out there. Cheap and cheerful!





    Notice the chick brooding pen on the left, and how bright and sunny it is in there during winter.

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