Large Run - Need some ideas on construction

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Charrisse, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. Charrisse

    Charrisse Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 15, 2012
    Nashville, Indiana
    We are about to begin construction on the large run.
    It will be probably 50X50 or 75X75 feet - wooded area. About 50 feet from the house. No way to cover the whole thing, so thinking of the "panic room" idea in the event of ariel attacks. Not to many hawks here - plenty of crows and geese haha (CAAAWWW CAWWWWW!!)

    What do I need to consider as a MUST HAVE, and what can be disregarded as eh, whatever's? My main concern is the occasional wandering dog, possum, coon.. the gals will be locked up in fort knox at night - so daytime will be my only problem.. its pretty uneventful around here. My neighbors chickens have done well, only one loss in 3 years, and that was when she didnt lock them up at night, has horrid fencing and something drug off one hen.

    Anyway - ideas for a large run, fencing type? Construction? Would barbed wire around the lower outer perimeter deter dogs from digging? Barbed on top outer perimeter keep things from climbing in? How high should fencing be? Will hens try to fly out?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    That's about what I have. It is 6' fencing buried about 6". I would have preferred wire attached to the bottom and laid on the ground about 2' out, but it's been there a few years and nothing has tried to dig under. I have one chicken who is an escape artist. I have observed a chicken sort of flapping and climbing the fence to get out or in on a very few occasions. Otherwise they stay in. We have plenty of hawks and crows, and I hear owls at night, but no losses to them that I know of. The only chickens we've lost while they were in this fenced yard were baby chicks with a broody. I have seen a hawk watching the chickens from a fence post or nearby building a few times. I believe the hawks around here are a bit small to take a grown chicken. We have dogs who patrol the property and usually chase off anything like a fox or bobcat, though fox have taken chickens before we built the fenced yard. We had losses from a coyote attack here once, with a very clear track next to my back porch, but the chickens had been turned loose out of the fenced yard at the time.

    There are actually no structures for them to get under in the yard, but there are annual weeds which grow in thick clumps 8' or 9' tall, with the dead stems lasting til the next spring, and the chickens group under them or hang around in the coop -- which is a large, airy structure with a fan, no warmer than outdoors in heavy shade in the summer. We've planted some things which will provide good cover in the yard in a few years.

    My fencing actually looks like chicken wire, but it is a heavy gauge galvanized material. I don't remember what it was called, but it was not called chicken wire. We originally had electric wire, 3 strands at 6", 2' and the top, attached, but never repaired it when it got messed up. The only animal that ever got zapped that we heard was one dog. There are a lot of rabbit, mice, etc. around for the foxes and hawks and such to eat.
     
  3. Charrisse

    Charrisse Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 15, 2012
    Nashville, Indiana
    Thank you! Thats very encouraging to hear. I hate the idea of only building them a small run so as to cover it, and really wanted to utilize the area we have that is not being used, so they are more like a free range type situation. I just want to do it right, so we dont regret it, but also not spend a small fortune lol
    I dont think we should have issue with hawks here, while they are everywhere around us, we have massive amounts of crows here, as I type this they are in the yard squawking away stealing cat food I think lol The only other critters that come up close are deer, because my dog could care less about them. Hes chased off any coons or possums that we used to see, when he was an indoor dog.
     
  4. Kaitie09

    Kaitie09 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2009
    South Central, PA
    We let the chickens in with the goats during the day and used 6ft tall, galvanized steel fencing. It is very durable, and very strong. You can get it at TSC in rolls of 100' for about $120. You might want to consider adding a strand of electric tape on the outside near the bottom so nothing can get close. As for bird protection, you could look on CL right about now. A lot of people may be selling old picnic tables than can no longer really be used. They would work great as covers, and if you get a good one, it could be your chicken watching seat. Since it will be in the woods, just make sure that there are not low branches that they could hop onto. They might decide they would rather roost high up in a tree than come back in at night.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  5. Charrisse

    Charrisse Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 15, 2012
    Nashville, Indiana
    Oh what a great idea about the picnic table! Love that! Im also very happy to hear about that fencing, exactly what I was hoping to learn. The electric tape at the bottom, is that just a electric fence line? Im totally new to this LOL
    Im going out there now to play with the babies, and Ill take a walk around the area we plan to fence in, and look at the trees, I think they are all mature hardwoods, with branches that start about 50 feet up, so they should be ok, right? Those silly chickens wont go that far up will they?
     
  6. Kaitie09

    Kaitie09 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2009
    South Central, PA
    Electric tape is wider than just plain high tensile wire strands. It tends to be fairly cheap, and it is visible. We keep our pen in the woods too but we can't use the electric wire because we have ferns that will short out the circuit if it touches it. I have not totally looked into all the electric stuff. We mainly got the fencing because our goats figured out they could jump the 4ft fence. It was a plus that the chickens could not get over it. This fence is strong enough that is snaps back when our 150-200lb Boers rub against it. It also held up pretty well when a large tree branch fell on it. It only sagged down to about 5 ft. It is not very flexible, so make sure you either make it flush with the ground, or bury it a couple inches. If not you will get gaps if there is any decline on your ground.

    Here a link to the electric tape I'm talking about.

    http://www.tractorsupply.com/zareba-reg-1-2-in-heavy-duty-poly-tape-1027628

    The fencing I'm talking about
    http://www.tractorsupply.com/welded-wire-72-in-x-100-ft--3626504

    We used landscaping timbers as posts and buried them in the ground 2 ft, then filled the holes with concrete. Home Depot sometimes has them half price during the spring, so we got ours for $1.50 a piece. We placed them every 8 ft. and secured the fencing with heavy duty staples.
     

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