my new run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by pallas, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. pallas

    pallas In the Brooder

    Jul 14, 2016

    I have not had chickens for a year now (due to a particularly hungry coyote who decided that my first flock looked like a good thanksgiving dinner). But I finally got my mothers permission to start a new flock and this time I am going to make sure that no coyotes mess it up. I am building my own coop this time so that I can have everything that was missing in my old one, starting with the run. I need a run that is manageable, but still big enough to hold six chickens with out feeling cramped and i want to be able to walk into it. if anyone has any building tips (or tips on how to make it comfy for the hens) i would greatly appreciate it.
    P.S are there any good plants that i could grow on the ground instead of grass I know that it is good for the hens but my yard has a lot of shade so it doesn't actually grow grass (plus I have a dog who runs through it at 90 miles an hour not the best for grass seed).

    -thanks [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

  2. Lilaby Babys

    Lilaby Babys In the Brooder

    Feb 28, 2017
    For your planting issue I recommend not planting in that area at all. I would actually plant in some place exceptional, corn is great for chickens and easy to grow just make sure you have enough space for it and your not planting anything with the corn. corn roots are big so they wont let smaller veggies grow. I would harvest the corn, cut all the kernels off and scatter it on the ground, you can even dry it first but if you do you need to make sure you have grit to help them digest it or they simply just wont. You can also get bags of dry corn kernels at tractor supply and the chickens love scavenging for it. I find that they love rice too and grains are good for them. These little things really make a good chicken diet. As for building I would recommend something very casual and simple. My coop has a door so I can walk into it and has a smaller chicken flap dog door kinda thing, just know that the chickens wont push the dog door open themselves you have to prop it up during the day and close it/lock it at night. I also have a thick branch propped against the two walls which is where they will sleep at night. then I have the nesting boxes, they can literally just be wood boxes with an opening in the front with some hay inside but if you build yours off the ground make sure that you put a small peice of wood by the edge so the eggs dont fall out off the box and crack and if you want make little chicken stairs for the to climb up but the will most like fly up there themselves and come down using the stairs lol. the funny way chickens are, anyways hope I helped

    Love Lilaby babys
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I have so been where you are: Predators, new coop/run.

    A coop that you can walk into is very nice. Working with 4 and 8 feet plywood sheets, and multiples of those numbers leaves the least waste, but building a coop is expensive.

    I have had good luck with a woven wire fence for the run, with the lower part lined with chicken wire so that the chicken wire bent L shape with about a foot on top of the ground. The first year, I put some rocks or posts on top of it, to keep it flat along the ground but now the vegetation has grown up through it. Predators tend to dig in a tight U shape, and the wire along the ground hurts their paws.

    I would strongly suggest looking on the various trade and sale pages in your community. Often times you can get older sheds or fencing material. A bit of paint, and they can look quite nice for a fraction of the price of new.

    The most space you can squeeze out really helps, but do not forget vertical space in a run. So many runs are just an empty rectangular space. With the birds having to stay on the floor. By adding pallets, cement blocks, saw horses, roosts in a run can add shade, or a place to bask in the sun.

    If you have bare dirt, I would suggest getting some waste hay, if not to close to your home, you could even do dirty bedding from say a neighbors horse. Chickens love to peck through that.

    Mrs K
  4. pallas

    pallas In the Brooder

    Jul 14, 2016

    Thank you guys for the great advice I will most definitely take it into mind when making my coop. But I do have one more question, when I am building my run would it be better to put plastic mesh on the top or wire mesh? I already have plastic mesh but I am worried it would be easy for raccoons to get through. If I use wire i am adding at least a hundred dollars more to the coop price. ( I am guesstimating it to be around 350 dollars, but only because I am using a waffle shack as a base, it is so much simpler than building a large coop from scratch) if you guys have any experience on good roofing material I would greatly appreciate your advice

  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Definitely use wire mesh, coons would rip right thru most plastic mesh.

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