Minimum run height/outdoor nest box?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Winter, May 22, 2008.

  1. Winter

    Winter In the Brooder

    Apr 2, 2008
    In order to maximize my tiny yard space I have decided to build up rather than out...
    The plan is to have the chicken run under the veggie garden which will be a giant box basically.
    What is the minimum height for the run over the chickens heads? I see that some people have a raised house with a run underneath, it would be something similar. They will be standard heavy breeds.
    Also, I plan on having a tiny coop so that the majority or their time is spent outside in the covered run, except night roosting. Should I provide them with a nest box outside in the run, or just let them use the one in the coop? I am only having 4 hens. The run will be about 55 sq/ft.
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:So, you are planning on making your veggie garden in a sort of raised sandbox-table sort of design, is that right, with the chickens underneath the wooden floor that holds the dirt on top?

    Do you have a reliable TESTED set of plans for this to work from, because dirt (when watered) is HEAVY. You will also be restricted to shallower-rooted veggies, and those that don't mind having hot roots (the soil in the raised box will get much hotter in the summer sun than if the plants were growing in the ground, even just in raised beds on the ground). I just want to make sure you know what you're getting into [​IMG]

    If it is much or all of the chickens' run area, I would not want less than 2' of actual space (that's AFTER you put in any run footing you might use) underneath the raised box. And really another 6" or more would be much kinder to the chickens. If OTOH it would be just one little part of the run, you could go as low as 16" - that's the height of my tractor pen in the part that's under the 'house' portion of the tractor, and while they do have to duck a bit, they'll use it, esp. if they just want shade to sit in.

    You will need to thoughtfully engineer the drainage system of your raised garden box (it will NEED a drainage system!) so that it does not just dump down into the chicken run underneath. Otherwise the run is likely to become a stinking muddy SMELLY mess. I wouldn't let the water dump right next to the run for the same reason - need to route it to where it can drain away in another direction.

    They should just use the nestbox in the coop, honest (I am assuming the coop is physically connected to this run so they can go in and out anytime they want).

    Good luck,

  3. Winter

    Winter In the Brooder

    Apr 2, 2008
    thanks Pat!
    This will be the most part of the chickens run, but they will have a little side run not under the garden that they can go in to.
    I have definitely considered all of the above, thanks for the advice. The climate I live in has very low night time temperatures (altitude), so veggies actually do better in boxes than the groud. The only way I can grow cucumbers is in containers. I don't know anyone who can get more than a few inch ear of corn here, just too cold at night. Lettuce of course does excellent, as do carrots, beets and peas. Alas, no good pumpkins either.

    Anyhow, I definitely do not want to drain the water into the chickens so I will be lining the bottom of the garden box with corrugated plastic and having it angled down and away from the run. The run will be lined with 6" of bark mulch which will be able to drain well since it will not be directly on earth. In fact, where I live is so dry that keeping it dry should not be a problem.

    I think (hope) that my design will keep my backyard ultra functional and allow me to have both chickens and the garden because I just can't decide between them!!!
    Oh, and yes, the coop is attached to the run so they can go in and out at their leisure.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: