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How large of a enclosed run would be ideal?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kira782, May 19, 2011.

  1. kira782

    kira782 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 18, 2011
    Littleton, Colorado
    I'm wanting to get 4 chickens but would be unable to let them run free in our yard do to a 3.5ft fence that we would not be able to make any taller. I'm not confidant that the chickens wouldn't simply hop it, even with clipped wings, and either unset our neighbors or be eaten by their dogs. If I had a run attached to the coop how big would it have to be to have happy health chickens?
     
  2. franklinchickens

    franklinchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2010
    Franklin, TN
    Personally, I would make it as big as you possibly can and still have a bit of yard. Chickens like to roam around, peck & scratch, and hang out. They also poop a lot. So the smaller the space, the more stressed and poopy you will be. We had to recently fence our girls in so they wouldn't destroy the gardens (just until the gardens are fenced in). They've got about 300 s/f including their raised coop (4x4x4) and the run (4 x 10) which is left open all day so they have access to the fenced area.
    Chickens can do fine in small spaces but I think the more space the better for the enclosed run area. You can also create a large area and divide so you can move them from one spot to another to give grass/greenery time to recover after they eat everything in sight!
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Well obviously (you knew this) the answer is kind of "as big as you can possibly make it" [​IMG] -- but, since I realize that's not terribly helpful, I would say you probably don't want it to be *smaller than* about 10 sq ft per chicken. Bigger being better (except from your checking account's perspective!).

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  4. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    nice sturdy dog runs work great. 6ft tall. Trust me, chickens can get over a 3ft fence even with their wings clipped. Mine got over a 6ft fence. Only way to keep Houdini in the run was to put a top on it!!!. You'll need a minimum of a 6x10x6 dog run. You can install tin or a wire roof so they can't get out and critters can't get in. Just make sure you account for snow load if you are in a place where you have snowy winters. Duck Sanctuary down here outside of Charlotte lost their roof this past winter because snow load isn't something we tend to think about down here! Build stronger than you think you need. You can get a dog run off craigslist for a bit over $100
     
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:Dog runs work great for chickens, yes.

    The recommended 10 square feet per chicken in the run PLUS 4 square feet per chicken in the coop is wise.

    I would recommend going with the panels so you can enlarge it if you want to later. Also, line the bottom of the fence with chicken wire or hardware cloth to prevent something pulling your chickens through (happened to me).

    Netting on top for hawks.

    Apron out to prevent digging predators.

    The bigger the better! I have a 6 x 10 kennel and wouldn't want 4 hens in there unless I could let them out to free range. It is just so squeezy.

    The above poster is right, though- they get a lot of protection from dogs by being IN a kennel. [​IMG]

    Alternatively, you can make a great run by using hardware cloth/welded wire- check out the coop pages!!! Tons of really wonderful runs. You must decide how predator proof you want your run- it will greatly affect expense.

    1/2 inch hardware cloth is the only thing that will keep predators out though. Weasels and rats can get in if it's smaller.

    I don't have predator proof runs, because I wanted BIG. Really big.

    Here in this pic you can see the difference - the pen on the right is just chicken wire, with 2 inch chicken wire covering the top to keep hawks out. The pen on the left is a huge garden, with 8 foot high welded wire fencing (the rectangles of which get smaller as you get close to the ground = "rabbit fencing."
    [​IMG]

    Then there is hardware cloth, which is really spendy.

    I know you didn't ask all this, but I thought I would mention it anyway.

    Here is a pic of my dog kennel. (Everyone please note this is the setup that lost me a chicken to an owl due to no lining of the chain link.)
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2011
  6. kira782

    kira782 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 18, 2011
    Littleton, Colorado
    Thanks all for your suggestions! My plan is to make an attached hardware cloth run completely enclosed. We live in suburbia and have houses surrounding us and I fear our neighbors arent going to be excited about a giant chain link dog run, I'm hoping we can build something our picky neighbors wont complain about. We also have lots of predators around. Aside from neighborhood dogs and cats we have foxes, coyotes, hawks, owls, and raccoons (so much for the safey of the suburbs!) so it will definitely be very well secured! Hopefully down the line we'll be able to build a new fence around our yard and everyone can run amuck (at this point even my ten year old chubby dog can hop the fence with great ease!).
     
  7. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Last edited: May 20, 2011

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