How much headroom in run/under coop?


10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
Okay, so my wonderful husband went and picked up a great giant hutch for my chickens. Its really (really) heavy, and was just sitting on the trailer waiting for strong men or a tractor to lift it down. Today he and his Father-in-law got it down on the ground for me.

But here is my dilemma. It used to be a rabbit hutch- but it is 8 x6 foot, and looks more like a shed on stilts. It is about 10 feet tall, 4 or so which is the legs. They just put it on the ground without digging holes for the legs. Instead of the obvious choice of digging holes to put the legs in- my DH wants to use a jack to lift it up and cut the legs shorter. Its pretty heavy and I'm pretty sure it will not tip. The legs are really thick.

So, should I have him cut the legs to 3 feet tall or 2 feet tall, I'm going to use the area underneath as part of the run. I'm going to have a couple standard chickens, and some bantams. I thought 2 feet would be good so I could use 3 ft hardware cloth and bury the bottom foot horizontally. Is two feet enough room for the chickens to comfortably run around under there?

Sorry this is so long.


11 Years
Mar 21, 2008
Centre Rawdon, Nova Scotia, Canada
Sooner or later *someone*, probably you, will have to go under there for a hen or some eggs or whatever awful task presents itself, so you need some clearance, without jepordizing the stability of the structure. You could set it on those concrete blocks that have a depression on top to hold a 4x4. It needs to be tall enough so that your tallest chicken can strut without touching the underside, and high enough so that on your back or belly you can get under for whatevvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvver...

Oh another way of predator-proofing is to fasten the hardware cloth to the underside...
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Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
Is there an actual reason not to leave the legs as they are and have 4' below the coop? That would be my choice, as long as it will be stable and you can still access the inside of the coop ok (I don't know how it's constructed, so maybe or maybe not).

If you need it lower, I'd go with 3' rather than 2', because of the access issue Lynne mentions -- you don't want to be commando-crawling in chicken poo, and I *promise* you will sometime need to get under there! You can usually buy 3' wide hardwarecloth; frankly though I would skip the burying the hardwarecloth and just run an apron out a few ft from the fence, maybe not even hardwarecloth for the apron, just 1x1 or 2x4 mesh. Less work, just as good protection, easier to check on and replace if needed.

Good luck, have fun,



10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
Thanks for the advice!

I am a little bit, uhh.. short- so the way it is right now is just too tall for me reach all the way in, let alone reach the roost, nest boxes etc..., so I have to make it shorter in some way. The bottom of the doors are 5' right now, and I'm 5'2. Bringing them down to 4' would be better, 3' would be best, but you guys are totally right about cleaning it out under there. Yuck- I definitely do NOT want to crawl around commando style in chicken poo.

Choices choices! Maybe I should just buy a stool! Actually, I think I'll cut the legs to 3' and take your advice about the bigger mesh for an apron- I have some rabbit guard fence laying around. Being short should give me a little advantage when it comes to crawling around under buildings- maybe

I'm so excited just to see this thing on the ground! I was beginning to think we'd have to buy my FIL's trailer and I was going to have the world's most awkward chicken tractor.

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