Question about run construction materials

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Willischicks, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. Willischicks

    Willischicks New Egg

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    Jul 2, 2016
    Pocasset, OK
    Hello all! I've just started my little flock not that long ago and they are in need of a run. I have a wood framed 12ft long x 8ft wide x 4ft high priced out. It'll be really easy to construct due to the dimensions. Now, I know it'll the even easier and cheaper (which means I can make the run larger) if I use the metal fence posts instead of a wood frame. The thing is I'm not sure how I would create a gate to get in and out. Any suggestions?
     
  2. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know how much space you have, or how many birds, but 8X12' is a small space for chickens. I'll give you a suggestion for something better than a small wood framed run/box. You can safely surround a much larger area, for far less $$$, with electrified poultry net, than constructing a wood framed, hardware clothed cage.
    Building the run/box is just the start. You will have to either put down some kind of wire apron, or dig down and bury the fencing into the ground. Otherwise, predators will simply, and quickly dig under, and go after their chicken dinner. It's a lot of work building a pred proof, wood framed run.
    With the electronet, just step it into the ground, hook up some wires (Either house electric, or solar), and you're done.
    I've had my netting/fence up for close to 5yrs now. I started with 300', and liked it so much, I bought another 350'. I have not had a loss to a ground based predator in that time. I lost 18 birds within a couple of months before I got the fence. The fox was going to put me out of the chicken business. But now, they get a face full of in excess of 7000Vs, they forget all about chicken dinner. One of the best things I have down for my birds.





    https://www.premier1supplies.com/poultry/fencing.php?gclid=CP3vteCMn9ACFYpKDQodoA4GmA

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    Last edited: Nov 10, 2016
  3. Willischicks

    Willischicks New Egg

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    I only have 11 chickens lol But the still doesn't answer how to get on and out? That's my only problem with not using the wood frame. I still need a gate or something to get in and out. I've done so much online hunting for an answer to my problem... Even just looking at others pics and nothing shows or talks about a gate. I do love the idea of the electric fence. We have all types of wildlife out here, to include our dogs and barn cats.
     
  4. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You could just build a simple wood frame, and a wood framed gate to go with it. Cut a hole into the fence, and install it. Pretty straight forward, easy. As for the poultry net, Premier sells a gate kit to go with the fence.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    First a suggestion. I’d build that tall enough I could walk in there without banging my head if you are going to cover it. Since you mention metal posts you may or may not be planning on covering it. I also don’t know what kind of wire you plan to use. I assume you can attach it to the metal posts. I’m not sure where you plan to position the gate compared to the coop section either.

    The gate is potentially a weak point getting into the run as far as predators go. So yes they need be to stout and fit well. I suggest you think more like a door than a gate. Sink a post or two, depending on how the coop section fits in. I’d use 4” x 4” treated timber instead of a round post to make the connections easy. Firmly set the post the gate will be hung from. Set it deep, set it in concrete, and brace that back to something solid like another wooden post. Otherwise it will sag from the weight of the gate and your gate/door will not fit well. Or if your coop is stout enough you might anchor the gate (the part with the hinges) to the coop.

    Put another 4x4 or 4x6 flat on the ground between your gate posts like a door sill. Make this flush with your posts so the gate can rest up against it to create a seal. At the top of your gate posts put a 2x4, 2x6, something also flush that you can butt the door up against. This will also help keep the opening from distorting.

    Then build your gate. You can build it solid out of wood. If you frame it right and fill it in you can make it stout enough so it doesn’t sag. If you want a frame covered with wire put diagonals on it to keep it from sagging. Build it stout enough so it doesn’t sag and fit it so it butts up firmly against your gate posts and the cross wood pieces.

    To attach the wire to your gate posts I suggest you use furring strips. Get some wood maybe ¾” to 1” thick. 2” to 3” wide work. I usually rip 2x4’s with a table saw to get these 1-1/2” wide. Attach the ends of your wire temporarily to your fence posts just to make construction easier. Then cover the wire with those furring strips. Drill pilot holes to keep the wood from splitting and make screwing them in so much easier. Put your screws in the holes of the wire. I usually use fender washers on the screws to spread the load, make sure the screw heads don’t disappear down inside the wood, and help with not splitting the wooden furring strips. This is why I like the 4x4 or 4x6 gate posts, they give you a flat surface to work with. By covering the sharp edges of your wire you don’t leave sharp things that can snag your clothing or skin.

    There are other methods to do this but it’s pretty much what I do.
     
  6. Willischicks

    Willischicks New Egg

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    Thank you to both of you! That really helped me get a visual. It sounds like Ill be needing to sink some posts into the ground for the gate entrance. The way I had it set planned out with the wood frame there would have been no gap with the ground at the gate entrance. I am confident that I can apply the same concept to the wire run gate though.

    I had planned on putting poultry wire in the bottom of the run to keep borrowing animals out. There is just too many options and variables that I end up rethinking it and changing things constantly. I had originally thought to have my run covered but that would have cost more which would mean it would take longer to get the run up.

    I think I will apply all your feed back into the run design and work from there. Thank you both so much!
     
  7. bjwilber

    bjwilber New Egg

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    Hi, I just popped in to research the type and size of netting to use for the top enclosure for a run for my hens. Great information here and thanks. Fortunately I haven't had any problems with predators on the ground and I feel pretty lucky there. I just lost my best hen to an immature bald eagle two days ago (4' wingspan and still all black/brown). I knew that they were in the area but had no idea that they would attack so close to the henhouse and right inside the fenced yard. Need to say it was pretty traumatic for my other hens and for me to find.
    I knew that the smaller hawks were bold and would come into the yard to get doves, but wow! An eagle?
    So my weekend project is putting a roof on the run to keep the rest of the girls safe.
     
  8. Willischicks

    Willischicks New Egg

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    Jul 2, 2016
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    Oh goodness! Im so sorry to hear this! We have owls and hawks here. The owls I've only seen out at night (they live in my barn) and the hawks stay away from the house. That doesn't mean I wont have issues later on though. As for the size of wire or netting from everything I've read and seen, some people use actual netting and others use poultry wire. The wire seems to be the most sturdy and safest because the birds cant tare though it. I hope that helps a little.
     
  9. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Like I said, A LOT of work, to build a proper and safe wood frame and wire run. If you go that way, the run will have to have some kind of cover, wire, or whatever. Because a ground predator is not only capable of digging under and in. They can climb and go over in a blink of an eye. Reading about what's involved with constructing regular wood framed run, I'm more than happy with the way I went. Digging post holes, burying aprons, the heck with all that.

    I have hawks, eagles, owls, everything that flies, short of a pterodactyl. I provide my birds with ground cover to hide in. The coop itself, a big brushy area behind the coop. There are a few pallets on top of some cinder blocks, with tall grass growing around them, for shade and cover. Chickens learn and react to the airborne threats. I've even seen them react to, what must be hawk warning cries from crows, and haul butt to cover. That said, I did lose a bird to what must have been a hawk, about 3 yrs ago. But, I believe the chickens used that, as a learning experience. They are well tuned into their environment now.
     
  10. Willischicks

    Willischicks New Egg

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    Jul 2, 2016
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    You totally make me laugh with your heck with that comment! That's just how I'm feeling LOL I love my ladies too much though to chance letting them free run... especially with so little of them. Not saying that those who free run don't love theirs as much but I know mine would be gone a less than a week if I did. I think I have it figured out now though. I shall be busy this weekend now!
     

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