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Run in the Woods

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bobchristenson, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. bobchristenson

    bobchristenson Out Of The Brooder

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    May 31, 2011
    SE Michigan
    No chicks yet (probably get them in February for summer eggs) but starting work on the coop now. As I begin, I notice that my situation is one I haven't seen before (although I'm sure not unheard of). I plan on having the run for my girls in the woods. I'm assuming since this is their natural habitat they should do pretty well but I figured I'd ask since I haven't seen anyone doing this before.

    In the three pics below note the heavy groundcover and overhead trees. A couple notes and questions:

    1. I'm planning on having overhead netting to keep daredevil coons from dropping in from the trees (mission impossible style).

    2. How much clearing to I need to do before letting them in an area like this? I assume they'll take care of all that? Do I need to worry about what's underfoot?

    3. Can they have TOO much shade? The run is basically situated between the coop and a garage, with a fence on the south side and trees overhead. It's pretty darn shady. I'm in Michigan so we get some heat in the summer and tons of snow in the winter. Is it possible they'll need MORE sun? (the coop will have 2 southern windows and most likely interior lighting to keep 'em laying)

    Anything else i need to think about with a run in the woods?

    Thanks for being a great community for a new egg!

    [​IMG]
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  2. Chemguy

    Chemguy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 30, 2011
    Springfield, Ohio
    Hi there. I had the same situation and posted almost the identical question here. What I took out of the discussion comes down to this: direct sun and heat can kill chickens but shade cannot. One thing that you might want to think about is whether the site you plan to use gets damp. A damp coop and yard breed all sorts of bacteria and fungi that can be bad for you future chicks.
     
  3. bobchristenson

    bobchristenson Out Of The Brooder

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    May 31, 2011
    SE Michigan
    Thanks for the advice. From what I've seen it never gets muddy in this area so I'd assume drainage is ok (?). That might be a good reason to do a little clearing, just to see what the soil looks like beneath.

    Have you had any issues housing them in the woods? I'll search for your post but a link would be great if you have it handy. Thanks!
     
  4. chickenbythesea

    chickenbythesea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 15, 2011
    Nova Scotia
    we're "in the woods" too... I think it's the best spot as they get dappled sunlight and protection from above by the tree limbs. I think you've picked a great spot, just be sure to limb the trees lower branches so that the chickens don't hop up and out of their area.
     
  5. crazyhen

    crazyhen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 26, 2008
    mtns of ,NC.
    I would build the run up higher than the other ground with a bunch of pure sand. After the hens get to scratching in reg. dirt, the ground will get wet and muggy easier. Also add some wind break if the area is between buildings for the winter. Mich. can get awfully windy at times. Does the snow build up deep there? If so and you put overhead wire, make sure it is on a very good skeleton of wood to prevent it falling in under the load.
    Enjoy your new chicks. Gloria Jean
     
  6. bobchristenson

    bobchristenson Out Of The Brooder

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    May 31, 2011
    SE Michigan
    I'm planning on having netting up top so that should keep the ladies from climbing the trees [​IMG]. Glad to hear that my default location seems like a good one so far!
     
  7. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    If it's in the woods, I'd make sure your run was securely covered with a lot more than just netting - some kind of welded wire would be good. You won't have to worry about raccoons dropping in - they'll climb right up whatever fencing you have in under a minute. My brother's chain link run (backs up to deep woods) is 6 ft. tall, and he's lost two hens to coons - he was not reliable at closing them securely inside the housing each evening (he is now).
     
  8. bobchristenson

    bobchristenson Out Of The Brooder

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    May 31, 2011
    SE Michigan
    Quote:I plan to somehow construct the overhead setup so I can actually span a temporary plywood roof over a portion of the run in the winter. This probably means a roof of full-on 2x4 construction since i figure it'll let them be outside more in the snow. My dad is in construction so I'll be having him help determine what's doable there.

    The west is a garage, the east is the coop, the north is trees and the south will be a fence, so wind should basically be null.
     
  9. bobchristenson

    bobchristenson Out Of The Brooder

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    May 31, 2011
    SE Michigan
    Quote:Good info here. I was thinking I'd probably have to do welded wire up top so thanks for the confirmation.
     
  10. ThinkingChickens

    ThinkingChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2011
    Wait, wait, you mean you are actually planning out the coop and run BEFORE you get chickens? Please note that this is absolutely backwards. You are supposed to get baby chicks (more than you originally planned) and then race to finish everything because they are growing up and ready to get the heck out of the brooder. LOL
     

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