Run help


In the Brooder
Jun 16, 2022
Hello! I just joined. I’ve been working on building a run for a week now. It has been difficult to say the least. I’m definitely not a carpenter.

It is a 20 x 8 run, 7 feet high. I made it 7 feet because it was easier dealing with it on a ladder while building than If I had left it at 8ft.

I want to put hardware cloth on the bottom to make a critter barrier and above that I want to use chicken wire.

Does hardware cloth get run horizontal or vertical? I heard that you run chicken wire horizontal.

It’s all so confusing so maybe me telling you my dilemma will help. So I need to add horizontal bracing to my run. But it seams to that I’d want to add the bracing according to the width of the material? But that would only work if I ran the hardware cloth vertical. I guess what I’m saying is that is that if I don’t put the horizontal bracing in the right places then I’m going to have places where critters can get into, correct? Shouldn’t I make sure that my wire overlaps on to wood? But the wire is only 3 ft wide at most. So then what?

Should the chicken wire and net be placed inside or outside?

Final question, how does everyone keep critters from getting under the run? Do you bury the hardware cloth? Do you stretch it out to the sides?

Thank you in advance!
Building a run can definitely make you want to pull your hair out😉 Do you have a picture of what you have done so far?
Rather than put hardware cloth on the bottom of the run, you may want to put some outside the run as an apron extending at least a foot (2 feet is better) from the run. This discourages digging predators from even trying to dig into the run.
We found it easier to run the hardware cloth vertically on the outside of the run, but you have to plan for that with your vertical supports. If you run it horizontally, you will need 2 horizontal bars all around your coop for your 3' wide hardware cloth.
You can overlap or butt the ends of the hardware cloth on your supports. We have a mixture of both since it can be difficult to make it run perfectly straight. We used screws with washers to secure the hardware cloth to the wood.
If you are trying to make a secure run, you need to put a solid roof or hardware cloth on the top of the run as well. Chicken wire will not keep most predators out of your run.
This shows our first coop with the hardware cloth. You can also see the apron on the bottom. We have very acidic soil and very few digging predators so we used vinyl coated fencing instead of hardware cloth for the apron. Wire tends to rust away in just over a year in our soil and we didn't want to replace the apron annually. If you have a lot of digging predators, hardware cloth would be better.
back coop.jpg
Is this a standalone run, or something attached to a wood coop structure? Any pics of what you've got already installed?

On my coop I used 48" wide 1/2" hardware cloth and ran it vertically between my wood structure that had 48" spacing, no horizontal supports needed, all seams are along a wood support. To me it made more sense to just spend a little more and buy the full roll of HC than to get a 2nd roll of different material and try and try to splice them together.

I have an additional external run to my coop that's ~750 sq/ft; for that I used all salvaged materials: T-post spaced every 10ft, with 2x2 woven wire fencing that's about 5ft high. It was fine for almost a year, but because I didn't have overhead protection or a skirt on that run, we lost many chickens - found out it's a bobcat that gets over the top.

The past month or so I've been working on securing that run better for our new flock and have added 1/2" hardware cloth bottom perimeter and skirt, as well as chicken wire at the top to enclose overhead. I'm using 36" HC horizontally, about 20" high and folded it so the skirt sticks out 16" horizontally, secured to the 2x2 fence with galvanized wire.

All my fencing is installed external to my support structures, so the exterior looks more streamline and there are no edges anywhere that a chicken can get caught on when trying to get away from another chicken. Over wood, I usually use pneumatic staples every few inches, or modified truss head screws. On other supports like t-post, seams, etc. I use 19ga galvanized fence wire. Sometimes I use galvanized plumber's tape to secure stuff too, like wood to a t-post for example.

Hope this helps. If you have more building questions or pics of what you have now, I can try to help with specifics
Does hardware cloth get run horizontal or vertical?
It doesn't matter, whichever is the best way to match it with the framing for easier and stronger attachment.

Final question, how does everyone keep critters from getting under the run?
Good examples of anti-dig apron installation.

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