Hello! I've been lurking around here for a few weeks, ever since the day I looked and realized, "Oh my gosh, I can own CHICKENS." A week and two days later we started building the coop and I had my chickens all picked out. We've hit a few road bumps for things like having to ask permission to own chickens, and have had to adjust accordingly, but we're hoping to be able to have some pullets that are ready to go outside by the end of May. (My friends are probably tired of me gushing about the types of chicks I'm getting.) Of course, we're almost done with the coop. We started building it before realizing how long we had to wait, but on top of that--we're just excited! (And I think he wanted to build something ) It's been costly even getting some of the materials from the local Humanity Restore building, but hopefully plenty secure. We have padlocks for everything and hardware cloth as screens for the windows, which has been inserted in the inside--behind a piece of wood to seal it in. I'm pretty sure no creatures will be getting in the coop But here's the thing. We both work and have 30-90 minute commutes. That means that any given work day we're away for anywhere from 9-12 hours. For now I work from home two days a week, but that's not a permanent job, and even when I get a job closer to home we'll be away for 8+ hours. We leave anywhere between 4-6am. In winter, the sun isn't up yet, but we would want to be able to let the coop door down so the chickens can run around during the way while we're gone. So in winter especially, a secure run is definitely a concern. --Skip to here if you want to read half the rambling -- Where we live I've never seen a raccoon or a fox, though I'm sure they're around as it's on the edge of rural. We definitely have skunks (we have a dog nicknamed "skunk killer"--she's killed 3 skunks in the 2 and 1/2 years we've lived here) and we have a lot of vultures, plus a recent spike in the hawk population. Before I ask you what you recommend for the run, here's what I've gathered and what I'm wondering and just what I'm thinking. I definitely want to protect my birds but I also don't want to go broke doing it. At my estimations of how much hardware cloth we'd need to run the whole thing with hardware cloth, we're talking about a run that costs $800+. That's a little more than what we've already put into the chicken coop (how did it get so expensive so fast?!). I've seen different tricks for the top of the run, but I know that given the big birds in our area we'll have to have something to prevent that. Will this even be a problem with full-grown hens? If it is, will using chicken wire for the roof of the run work? My boyfriend will be bringing home some aluminum fencing from work by the end of May. I know we will need to reinforce this as well. Will hardware cloth on the bottom 3-4 feet and chicken wire on the upper 3-4 feet work? What about protecting underneath the run? Do we have to bury the wire or could we run cinder blocks or another heavy paver around the outside of the run to prevent digging by creatures? Whew, I think I'm done! Sorry about that guys, I can go on. But I appreciate your help and all the amazing posts I've already read!