Planning our chicken run. Ideas?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Grammahen, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. Grammahen

    Grammahen Songster

    Feb 23, 2009
    Southern New Hampshire
    We are in the designing days of our outdoor run. We were planning on having an 8x16 size run for 4-6 chickens. What would you do to yours differently if you were to start over? We would like it covered. Any suggestions there? I heard that those hard plastic grooved covers make it hot underneath in the summer. Is this true?
    Any tips, suggestions (or even pictures ?) would be greatly, greatly appreciated.
    Thanks! [​IMG]

  2. TerriLaChicks

    TerriLaChicks Crowing

    Apr 23, 2008
    Central Louisiana
    I'm ordering in some shade cloth like they use over greenhouses for additional shade for our run. Also it will keep hawks out, so serves a dual purpose.
  3. Build the biggest run you have space and $$ for. You will NEVER be sorry.

    We are in process of a 27'x12' fully covered (with metal roofing like what goes on a house) run. For 6-8 chickens! That's nearly 50 sq. foot per chicken![​IMG]

    So, I've learned, when it comes to chickens, bigger is ALWAYS better!

  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Give a thought to keeping the run dryish and well drained, which seems to be peoples' most common complaint about runs (right up there with predatorproofing concerns anyhow).

    If some of it can be sheltered from rain that helps; put gutters on all nearby buildings including the coop; run downspouts to locations well away from (and downhill of) the run; and remember that chickens often compact and/or erode the ground to where it becomes a bit lower than the surrounding area. Drainage swales/trenches/whatever, and/or slightly raising the level of the ground in the run, can help.

    Good luck, have fun,


  5. Grammahen

    Grammahen Songster

    Feb 23, 2009
    Southern New Hampshire
    Thanks for the replies! Hubby going to buy materials and supplies tonight. Thank goodness the snow is all gone, Yeah! I thought that stuff would never go.[​IMG]

    For those using hardware cloth, do you have trouble seeing into the run? Thought I read something on that earlier.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    If you paint the hardware cloth black, you can see through it better. People recommend doing it with a roller.

    I heard that those hard plastic grooved covers make it hot underneath in the summer.

    If you use totally opaque, you'll be OK, but the transparent or translucent act like in a greenhouse. Of course, you'll have the sides open so it won't really be just like a greenhouse, but opaque is better.
  7. joebryant

    joebryant Crowing

    Use fender washers and screws, not nails, to attach your half-inch hardware cloth wire. Use sand for the floor. Put down the sand BEFORE you build the run, i.e., have it in place, ready to spread, before you enclose it; that saves having to shovel it in later.
    You might get some help from my BYC page:

    "The run's outside perimeter has a truckload of dirt covering wire buried on the ground, and the run has another load of sand. Any interested predator will have to dig. When he starts digging, after going down four inches he will run into a 2x4 fence wire. If he wants to get under that, he'll have to turn around and go back thee feet before he can start digging under the wire. IF he figures out how to do THAT, once he gets up to the wall he will run into a buried 2x6 board, then below the board there's are eight inches of 1/2-inch hardware cloth buried in a trench, i.e., he'll have to go 14 inches straight down . If he does do that, once he starts up those 14 inches inside the run, after digging through dirt, he'll reach the level that has one foot of SAND that covers the entire floor of the run; the sand will run down into dirt hole he dug through, and it, hopefully, will fill his hole entrapping/killing him before he can reach the surface of the sand. The run is not connected directly to the two coops. The chickens have to go through a two-foot tunnel to reach the pop doors in order to enter the coops. Before a predator can lift the pop door from inside the tunnel, he'll first have to go back OUTSIDE the run to unlatch the pop door so that it can be raised or lowered, then dig his way into the run again so he can lift the pop door to enter the coops. Any predator that can do all that deserves a meal of chicken and is welcome to it. BTW, all doors and gates have locks. All the locks use the same key. We keep a key right by the doors and gates for our own convenience. If a predator can figure out how to put the key into the lock, open/remove the lock, and then undo another latch above, once again, that predator deserves a chicken and is welcome to it."
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2009

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