Is a covered run necessary?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chicknjane, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. chicknjane

    chicknjane Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2009
    Pine Grove, PA
    I have a 25' x 60' movable run made of 6' U-posts and 1-20 gauge chicken wire. I do not have a covered area for them other than the space available under the coops. Do I need a covered run? I'm more concerned about winter time. Temps get into the teens, sometimes, but never for long.
  2. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    We never had a run. However, I have noticed that a friend covers the top and sides of her run every winter. The hens go out in it all winter long. Make sure the tarp or plastic you cover it with is VERY secure.
  3. Nemo

    Nemo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2008
    N'rn Wisconsin
    Lots of people let their chickens free range. That's the way it was done throughout history. I read a post on here once that said their chickens follow the cows out to the pasture every day.
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I think most people who cover their runs have concerns about predators. My chickens are pets and I only have a few birds. So a loss to me would really hurt; therefore my run is covered, as secure as I can make it.
    But people who keep many birds, or just utility birds, don't worry as much about an occasional loss, even those who really like their chickens. As an earlier poster said, chickens have free ranged as long as people have kept chickens, so losses are just part of the deal. So I guess I'm saying it kind of depends on how you view your birds...
  5. ShaggysGirl

    ShaggysGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2009
    Temperance, MI
    Our runs are covered but only because we had a lot of hawks nesting here. I have been tempted to let my older pullets out to free range a bit in the evening but so far I keep talking myself out of it.... scaredy cat I am [​IMG]
  6. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    Depends on your climate, and what you are trying to achieve. The winter temps should not be a problem at all--they will run around when it is 10 degrees out if it is not too windy or snowing. If you get a lot of snow or rain, it would be good to have an area that is covered for them to get out in--they won't usually go out into the snow. But make sure that cover is sturdy, lots of collapsed runs here last winter! For predation, you can cover with wire or netting, as long as they are in the coop at night. Once again make sure that the cover won't collect snow and collapse if that could be an issue.
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Wait, do you mean a *roof*, to keep the weather off -- not necessary, but nice if you can swing it -- or do you just mean some kind of cover such as mesh -- which is an awfully good idea for predatorproofing?

  8. chicknjane

    chicknjane Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2009
    Pine Grove, PA
    Thanks for all the replies. I'm just concerned about winter weather and letting them have room to roam without having to walk and scratch around in the snow. I saw someone mention putting hay down in their run during the winter to keep the ground from freezing so the chickens had a place to scratch in winter. This led me to question whether or not a cover over the run was necessary.
  9. MiniBeesKnees

    MiniBeesKnees Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a little experience with tarps...when I got my first pair I had them in temporary quarters which I constructed with fence panels I make myself over which I put a tarp. They had an airline dog crate without a door for waterproof housing. I covered that with a folded tarp too to make it totally dry.

    One thing with tarps collects rain water and will cave in unless you put the tarp up with one side much higher then the other...slanted so the water/snow slides or runs off.

    Now I have eleven chickens and have just finished building a chicken coop. A pair of OE with five babies, a D'Uccle rooster, and three mixed of somewhat indetermined genders that are three months old.

    Yesterday I used three of those metal corregated roof panels (side to size slightly overlapped) to make a place for them to get out of the rain and the sun. One short end is affixed two feet high to the pen fence, and the other end (they are eight feet long) just rests on the ground. I fixed one end to the fence with zip ties after I used an awl to make a hole...the other end on the ground is held down with rocks.

    They all seem to like it...the little chicks go under the lower end, and the rest of them fit nicely under the taller end.

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