If my chickens are going to be pastured, do they need a run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by xapikleia, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. xapikleia

    xapikleia In the Brooder

    Jan 15, 2009
    So Cal Suburbs
    Okay, this is probably a really dumb question, but I'm really new to this, so please bare with me. [​IMG]

    We have a large (for the suburbs) area that we are going to pasture our chickens in. We live on 1/3 acre, and about 1/4 of that is going to be just for the chickens, so I guess that's, what...1/12 acre? Anyway, we're planning to let the chickens roam free in that area all day long, and just put them in their coop at night. Do we need to build an official run, or just a place for them to sleep and eat?
  2. aberfitch

    aberfitch Songster

    Mar 24, 2008
    Texas Fort Worth
    ust a place to sleep.. carefull with predators. mine are free range and they love it.
  3. Chicken Woman

    Chicken Woman Incredible Egg

    Oct 16, 2008
    If you have neighbors with dogs you are taking a chance of them being attacked. You may find that hawks start flying around after you get chickens so watch out for them as they will snatch a chicken right in front of you.
  4. azelgin

    azelgin Songster

    Jan 18, 2008
    S.E. AZ
    We free range our chickens most days. We still have a secure covered run attached to their coop, for days when we won't be home soon enough to lock them up at night, or when we will be gone most of the day. They share their free range space with three mules whice take care of any predators. When we let the mules out to graze in the lower pasture, we keep the chickens penned up, if we are not there to keep an eye on things. It is nice to have them secure when you need to get away.
  5. Not only for the excellent reasons from the others but also - you might not want them having so much access to your yard. Some days you'll just want to confine them more.
  6. rainbowgardens

    rainbowgardens Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    Central Virginia
    Keep in mind that your chickens will be right there with you, whatever you are doing in your yard. If you're laying out in the sun to get a nice tan, they will want to be walking all over you pecking at you. If you're digging a hole to plant a bush they will be sure to have their little feet right where you are fixing to slice into the soil with your shovel. If you pull your dining room chairs out to the patio to paint them in the fresh air, you will have them to help you with their little feather brushes.
    It would be good to have a safe place to close them in for their safety or your sanity. I found that out when I found a hawk trying to peck my hens eye out. I had let them roam while we were at church. I had to quickly construct a run for them for the times I couldn't keep a watch on the sky for the circling hawks that go through our neighborhood .
  7. addiedunn

    addiedunn Songster

    Oct 12, 2008
    Martinsville, IN
    I have a very similar situation. Mine are truly "back yard" chickens and all of the replies so far have been on the money. We have a neighborhood hawk that flies over and even tried to attack one day last summer but the chooks hid under the tomato plants and I ran out and shooed it away. We built a box for ours in our garage, then cut a hole in the garage wall for them to go out and into a large pen, for when we just want to have them NOT in the back yard. But mostly the pen is open and they free range all over the back yard. Once spring hits I'll utilize the pen a lot more often, as I will want the garden and the flowers to get a start before they become a smorgasbord for my chicks.lol.
  8. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    Everyone has given lots of good reasons to have a fenced run. If you have one built, you have the option to use it for any or all of the reasons above. If you don't have one, it's not an option.

    On a side note, I have to say I love that stylish hat in your avatar Chicken Woman!!!! [​IMG]
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    It would be an awfully good idea to have a run.

    It will give them somewhere safe (well ok, as safe as you can make it) to go outdoors when it ain't safe to free-range, which, you will find, does happen.

    Good luck, have fun,

  10. ausamerican33

    ausamerican33 Songster

    Aug 5, 2008
    Wendell, NC
    Definitely an enclosed run attached to the coop, even for free-rangers. I made the mistake of taking my run off, only to discover I needed it again when my ladies started laying, a few weeks ago. Now I keep them in their coop/run until noon, to teach them to lay in their nesting boxes, and then let them free-range the rest of the day. I used a dog kennel, and attached it to my coop, and covered it with a tarp. Simplistic, but it works!



    This was before I attached the tarp. In these pictures, they can fly freely over it, or go through the door. Excuse the curious horse who is a camera hog. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2009

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