Northern NJ - expanding run questions (page 3)?


In the Brooder
8 Years
May 27, 2011
Long Valley
So I am pretty new to having chickens, although I saw my grandfather do it for the whole time I was growing up. My coop is 8 feet by 8 feet by 8 feet. It was on the property when we bought it. We reconditioned it - its a nice building. Totally predator proofed. Its got 10 laying boxes in it, windows that open with the inside covered with hardware cloth. The run needed the most work - alot of it was rotted out. we replaced the wood underground with weatherproofed wood and rebuilt the coop with 2 foot spaced 2x4s. A little overkill, I know but I'm very worried about predators. We used hardware cloth, the kind with the tiny squares. We covered the roof and all walls, including the door. Under the ground, we ran thick plastic fencing material with the same 1/2" squares on it. Then covered the ground fencing with sand.

Here's the thing. I have 27 chickens (ordered from mcmurray, they only offered 25 lots). We have the coop and the run which are both 8 x 8 x 8, so total we have 16 x 16 x 16 of space for them. Whenever I let them out in the run they go nuts like they love the exercise.

I was thinking about leaving them out in the run, which I think is completeld predator proof, while I am at work (8am to 5pm). That way they get more exercise.

What does everyone think?
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A picture of the coop is below.

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Oh yes by all means do... otherwise what is the *point* of having a run?
That is how they're normally used -- chickens are allowed free access to run all day, then locked into coop at night for safety.

Especially since your coop is rather small for 25 chickens (only 64 square feet, which is less than 2.5 sq ft per chickens indoors). If the whole coop-and-run assembly gives them 16x16, that is a hair over 10 sq ft per chicken, which is about the minimum normally recommended for total space for backyard type flocks (e.g most extension service recommendations, the Storey book, etc etc etc). It's still not a *lot* of space but hopefully if you give them free access to the outdoors all day every day you can avoid most cannibalism problems.

Also, how is the coop (house portion of assembly, I mean) on natural light and ventilation. Unless there is a bunch on the other side, you may want to work on those things too (especially ventilation)

Remove the cute dog from the run first, though! LOL:lol:

Good luck, have fun,

I agree. Where in N. NJ are you ? Im over in Jackson. My girls stay out during the day & go in at night. With the heat we've had here in the past week or so, i would say letting them run free is a great idea
Pat -

Thanks for the quick reply!! The coop has 3 sided windows, about 3 ft x 2 ft that are pop up windows. I have them open now, as we speak. Plus, along the top of the inside of the coop there is some space between the top and the roof to allow for ventilation. The windows when open, have hardware cloth covering the openings.

I just wondered if they would be OK in the run all day, since noone will be home should a predator start to bother them. I guess from what I was reading though, most predators are nocturnal, and snakes wouldnt' be able to fit through the hardware cloth. Does that sound right?
I agree. Where in N. NJ are you ? Im over in Jackson. My girls stay out during the day & go in at night. With the heat we've had here in the past week or so, i would say letting them run free is a great idea

North Jersey, near Chester / Long Valley.
scratch'n'peck :

I agree too. It looks like quite a secure run for the daytime. The chickens might like some roosting space in the run, too, when you get the time.

Its funny that you said that. That was #1 on my list for Memorial day projects!! I was planning on cutting down a few saplings in the woods, cutting them to length, and using them as the roosts for the chickens. I was gonna put up a couple of them by drilling holes in the saplings, clearing them of branches, then screwing into the run frame. What do you think?

They have 2 roosts inside the coop, as well as the 10 nesting boxes with a perch in front of them as well.​
By all means let them out
they will love it
do you have a door so they can go in & out ? But I keep their food in so they wander in & out. Mine have the coop & run open to where they want during the day close them up at nite.
That door that you see straight on, has a chain that I installed to keep it pinned back to the right so it stays open. The door itself is pretty heavy since I made the backbone out of 2x4s as well. I want to be sure that it doesn't swing in the wind cuz it would do some damage if it slammed shut on one of the chickens.

People keep talking about pop doors, not sure what that means or whether I should look into installing one.

Also, any other suggestions are VERY welcome.

Another picture of the coop, this is inside:


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