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Is an open top run ok? or should I stick with a fully enclosed run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by abbychad, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. abbychad

    abbychad Hatching

    Aug 17, 2010
    Alright, I am totally new to this chicken stuff!! HaHa.. I have been reading a ton a books, and researching alot online. We are in the planning stage of building our coop and run... We found some plans for a small coop that we are going to build, its about a 4 foot square.... I was thinking about just setting it in the middle of a fence..??? like a 12 x12 square fenced area?? We would put them up in the coop at night, but I just don't know if the chickens would try to fly out during the day?? Or should we just clip their wings?? We are pretty set on Rhode Island Red's... but everywhere Ive read says nothing about how likely they are to fly?? Any suggestions would be great!! Thanks!!

  2. 3rocksandme

    3rocksandme Chirping

    Jul 23, 2010
    Brookline, NH
    Not sure about RIR's flying abilities but I can say before we had a covered run we lost 4 due to hawks. We put a cover on the run and haven't had a problem since.
  3. wsdareme

    wsdareme Songster

    Mar 9, 2010
    Yelm, WA
    Quote:3rocksandme is absolutely right -- it's not so much about keeping the hens IN...it's about keeping hawks, eagles, and owls OUT.
  4. TcherDawn

    TcherDawn Granite State Chook

    Jan 30, 2009
    Prescott, AZ
    Bird netting is pretty cheap to put over the top. We strung it over the top with zip ties. We had a problem with it in winter with our first snow fall. This winter I am going to try either deer netting or chicken wire to see if it does a better job with the snow.
    First snow:
  5. 3rocksandme

    3rocksandme Chirping

    Jul 23, 2010
    Brookline, NH
    We have a fishing net. This will be our first winter, so I am not sure how it will hold up. The holes are larger so I am thinking snow build up wouldn't be such an issue.
  6. Not to make a similar thread... I guess I'll ask here! (I'm not trying to sabotage your thread Abbychad!

    I sort of have some of the same questions... so do hawks owls etc. normally attack them in the middle of the day?
    Also, how high should the fence be? I have a post and beam fence, that we were going to put chicken wire around, would that be high enough just to keep them somewhat cooped up?
    I am going to have a pretty large run... can I buy netting in large pieces or am I gunna have to get all craftsy and sew them together lol!?
  7. ducks4you

    ducks4you Songster

    Jan 20, 2009
    East Central Illinois
    Use Chicken wire for the top of the run. You can buy it in 50 ft long, 2 1/2 ft wide rolls, and one roll works great for a 10 x 10 dog run, like in a previous post. That's what I have. This is how to use it:
    1) Measure and cut 5 pieces, each will be 10 foot long--use wire clippers and WEAR HEAVY GLOVES!!
    2) Wire pieces together--use fencing wire, which is designed to hook cattle fencing onto posts--it will seem as if you are sewing them together
    3) Use wire to attach the finished product to the top of the run
    4) Use aluminum poles or wooden dowels the width of the run, if preferred to keep from sagging
    You MUST prevent owls and hawks from picking off your birds.
    IF you have a raccoon problem, this method doesn't work. Sorry! [​IMG]

  8. 3rocksandme

    3rocksandme Chirping

    Jul 23, 2010
    Brookline, NH
    Hawks, crows and eagles all strike during the day. I am pretty sure owls are only out at night.

    We have the tall chicken wire around the run, I think it's 5'. My husband put 8' poles in the center of the run and draped the netting on top and then secured it to the wire with zip ties. My run in large, no sure the exact size, probably 10 x 20. We starting with a pool cover net. I believe it was supposed to stop leaves and much from sitting on the pool cover itself. That one was okay, but it tended to rip. Then I got a fishing net from ebay. It was I think around $60 or $70. This one hasn't ripped and it seems like the larger holes allow more to fall through so there is less leaves, snow, etc building on top.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  9. Quote:Ok, great thanks so much! I don't want my chickens to be vulnerable! I'll look into fishing nets! [​IMG] I appreciate it!
  10. Oscgrr

    Oscgrr In the Brooder

    May 14, 2010
    Cape Cod
    I have a covered run more for protection from predators than anything else. Hawks, eagles and other flying critters will take them during the day although, I've heard that full grown chickens aren't high on their menu. I let them out to free range often and they seem to respect the four foot fence between them and my back yard (of course the presence of three dogs may be a deterent as well).

    I have all large breeds, EEs, barred rocks and RIRs and they all can fly but for some reason choose not to. I guess that the flying range of chickens isn't discussed much because from what I've seen, they don't fly much, they're kinda lazy. I don't recommed clipping their wings because that takes away an escape route. For what it's worth, you should spend as much attention on the bottom of the run as on the top. Not only will some predators dig their way in but the chickens will dig their way out, through their dusting pits.

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