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Run height?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by GoodEgg, Jun 26, 2007.

  1. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    Hello all,

    I'm still trying to get a coop and run put together. I have some of it done, but I need to ask a question before I build something that won't work in the long run.

    I have some 28" fencing, I guess it's probably rabbit fencing for gardens, small holes on the bottom, going up to larger spaces on the top. My plan is to make a 10 x 10 foot run with 2 x 4's, and use this on the sides all the way around. I think I will put poultry wire over the garden fencing, if needed, to keep little ones in if the holes are too big. That would make the overall height of the run 28" or 29" or so. Oh, and covering the top with chicken wire too, or maybe part of it something solid.

    I have I think 20 heavy breed layers, and 6 assorted bantams. My plan is to let them free range as much as possible (it depends on how much I can watch them and how safe I feel they are while I am in the house) but to lock them up in the run anytime I am not at home. I do work a couple of days a week, and am gone half a day another day. The rest of the time they would probably be out most of the day, if it turns out I feel they are safe from hawks.

    The outer yard is pretty large (less than an acre maybe though) and fenced with chain link about 4' tall.

    Should I go ahead and build this, or will I find out that it's useless and be wasting it all?

    I have the 4 ducks too that I originally thought to put in with them, but they are already *extremely* independent regarding caging and I think they'd be miserable in there, so I will probably let them stay free or give them a bigger cage with just chicken wire.

    Thanks for any advice. I'm still trying to do what I can with some very limited materials (and very limited experience, lol).

    trish
     
  2. allen wranch

    allen wranch Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    28" will not keep the birds in (even chicks) if it is not covered. You also need to think about predators getting into your yard when you are gone. Dogs and coyotes can go over the chain link fence, and rabbit wire will not prevent them from getting to your birds.
     
  3. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    Thanks, Carla,

    I don't know if rabbit wire is the real name of it? It's very heavy gauge wire, and it's welded at the seams. It's just that the bottom holes are about 2 x 2 inches, and then it goes to something like 2 x 3 and at the top it's maybe 3 x 3.

    Although at first it probably won't have anything to keep anything from digging under. I was planning to make the run moveable. I might make it stationary and bury chicken wire, if that will help.

    And I will definitely cover it. They already jump out of the box and can fly up to a good 3 feet high or so.

    I just wonder if they will be happy enough with 28 or 29" clearance over their heads? I don't know how big they will be getting, and I don't want something that is too cramped for them. My design won't really allow me to easily make it taller once I finish. I didn't want to waste the whole thing if nobody would be happy inside or the height isn't enough?

    Thanks for the reply!

    trish
     
  4. allen wranch

    allen wranch Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    28-29" is tall enough unless the birds are really really big. If you look at some of the tractor pictures here and on other websites you will see a lot of them with short runs. You only need the height if you are putting in roosts. You could probably get by with a very short roost in your run too.

    After you put in the food and water, twenty standard breeds and 6 bantams may be a little crowded in a 10x10 run if they have to stay there all day. Four square feet per standard bird and 2 sq feet per bantam is the recommended minumun, but more is better. I also wonder if that many standards with the bantams in a small area will be a problem.

    Just like anything else, you try what works best for you and make adjustments along the way. Each of my coops was different because of what I learned each time I built.
     
  5. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    Thanks again Carla,

    I had wondered about mixing them too. If everything is as it SHOULD be, the larger ones are all hens, and I ordered the bantams hoping some would be roos.

    Now that I have it framed up though, the size looks too small for an all-day run once they are grown. (They're so cute now, they look almost just like chickens, but so small!) Even though it will only be one full day, one 3/4 day, and a few hours while we are at church. I don't wanna encourage fighting.

    Funny, there really isn't much sparring or problems at all yet. They are over 4 weeks old now. If anyone tries to pick on anyone, it's usually one of the smaller bantams that challenges someone else (usually another bantam). Mostly it's the partridge and silver penciled rock bantams. Everyone else gets along fine except for maybe stepping on each other sometimes.

    I might just go ahead and put together another frame. I have enough wire to double the size, except I would fall 10' short. I can buy some hardware cloth to make up 10', I think. The supports are already cut. I just really need to get a coop figured out before I worry about a run, since they are outside all day today in a makeshift run, so at least they are OUT there. They can't be there Friday when I go to work though, so I have 3 days to finish up.

    Thanks!

    trish
     

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