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Run Necessities

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sebloc, Jul 31, 2016.

  1. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello
    I was wondering some of the important things you needed in a run. Not about the overall safe proofing part, but more about extra things. Here are some of my questions:

    -Does the opening to the chicken door need to have an actual door IF they're in a fenced in run? It may make the chances of a predator getting in easier, but the run is completely enclosed in hardware cloth IN an already fenced in garden.

    -Do you need perches in the run? I would assume you would hang them rather then screwing them in to the walls. How high off the ground would these perches need to be, and how many? 1 or 2 I would figure.

    -Do we need to cover the area above the ladder that goes into the coop with something? The ladder gets sort of slippery during the rain and yesterday we had to manually pick them up and put them in the coop.

    -In our run, we put a bedding that consisted of a couple layers. The first layer (on top of concrete) was gravel mixed with a bit of sand a little dirt, and wood chips above that. How ofter do we need to change this? Never? Once a week? Once a year? The coop sits above ground (help up by post). We put sand underneath that portion, should we just continue the reg. bedding from the rest of the run into there?

    I know this is quite a lot to ask, but it pretty much covers all I want/may need to know. Thanks for any help you can provide :D
    -sebloc
     
  2. Cacique500

    Cacique500 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lets see if I can tackle a couple of these:

    1) The door...optional if your run is very secure. I have an automatic door that goes into a VERY secure run. I like the extra security the door provides at night when the chickens are at their most vulnerable.

    2) Perches - I have several types of perches so the birds can get off the ground, and also offer a variety of textures. Smooth wood (2x4), concrete blocks, log with bark, and a floor of 100% PDZ. I think sometimes they just like to hop up and "get away from it all". Most of my perches are 18" or less off the ground...again, variety.

    3) Not quite sure what this would look like, but the ladder should be 45 degrees or less so they can get up it. I put small strips of wood on my ladder to help them go up. If the ladder is too steep try adding a concrete block at the base to lessen the angle.

    4) Litter - Did you mean wood chips or pine shavings? Is the run covered? Wood chips are not going to be very absorbent and will take a long time to break down. Search the forum for "Deep litter" and that will give you more info based on your setup.

    Good luck with it!
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Pics would help.
    Is your run covered with solid roof?
     
  4. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2016
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    Hello
    The run is not covered with a roof, hardware cloth covers the top. I will try to get some pics in later but I have a busy schedule today :/
    Thanks
     
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

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    I wouldn't have roosts available in the run; without a roof, your birds would get caught out in the rain or snow, not good. Deep bedding with chips, shavings and stuff, will develop into compost over time. Adding fresh occasionally on top is good, and clean out once in a while. Mary
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    It would be good to protect the pop door and ladder/ramp from the weather...I put an awning over and wind block in front of mine
    Ramps should be about 30 degrees, you can stick a concrete block tall ways under end of ramp to decrease angle.
    Young birds can take some time to learn to use ramps.... and 'go to bed' when they are 'supposed to'.

    You can have roosts in the run.....
    .......but keep them lower than the roosts in the coop,
    or they may try to spend the night out on the roosts in the run.
    There are many ways to install roosts in a run...put them on concrete blocks, stumps, old ladders,etc.
    Use screws and washers thru the HC mesh into ends of roosts.
    You can lean pallets up against the run walls, they will roost on the edge and enjoy going underneath them.
    Pallets up on blocks or stumps/logs....lots of things to offer stimulation in a run...be creative.
    They may(probably) balk at new things but get used to them pretty quickly once their curiosity trumps their fears.

    If you get a good mix of dry plant matter in the run, you should never have to 'clean it out'.
    Here's a great description of contents and how to manage organic 'bedding' in a run or coop...and there's a great video of what it looks like.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1037998/muddy-run-help-please#post_16017992
     
  7. FridayYet

    FridayYet Innocent Bystander

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    I just have some big tree limbs in my run, with one end propped up on a log. The bigger chickens roost on the thick part, the younger chicks like to hide in the tangle of smaller branches at the other end,

    It's nice to have a covered section of your run for shade and to keep areas dry for food, water, and dust bathing when the weather is bad. Metal or fiberglass panels work well, or even a strong tarp could work.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Good point.......and @sebloc how do you plan on handling snow load on the HC?
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    In my opinion (and that is what all this is, opinion)

    -Does the opening to the chicken door need to have an actual door IF they're in a fenced in run? It may make the chances of a predator getting in easier, but the run is completely enclosed in hardware cloth IN an already fenced in garden.

    It depends on how secure you feel your run is. If you are comfortable that they are safe from predators you do not need to close a door every night. However, there may be times you want to lock them in the coop or in the run. Some way to block that door will give you flexibility in how you manage them even if you don’t close it every night, but that is for your convenience, not a necessity.

    -Do you need perches in the run? I would assume you would hang them rather then screwing them in to the walls. How high off the ground would these perches need to be, and how many? 1 or 2 I would figure.

    You don’t “need” anything in the run, perches or anything else. The chickens will not become ill or suffer a nervous breakdown if you don’t have perches in the run. I don’t know what your run looks like or how it is built, so I don’t know how inconvenient perches might make it for you to move around in the run. But chickens often enjoy perching during the day, just going up and sitting there. What’s the best way to attach them? However you wish, the chickens don’t care. What’s easiest for you? I would suggest not putting them right up to the edge of the fencing. I’m guessing you used ½” hardware cloth for your run, but that is a guess. If you used 1” hardware cloth a raccoon can reach through that and eat a chicken in parts by pulling it through the fence. If you do run the perch all the way to the fence, put something in that area to stop a raccoon form reaching through.

    How high do they need to be? Up off the ground. If the list in your signature is correct, you don’t have Silkies (which cannot fly) so your chickens can fly up pretty much any height you are likely to put them. Personally I’d keep the perches lower than the door to your elevated coop to encourage them to sleep inside in the winter. There is no guarantee that that will work, they may want to sleep on these perches instead of on the roosts inside anyway, but it won’t hurt. I would not put in any perches in the run until they are roosting in the coop at night.

    -Do we need to cover the area above the ladder that goes into the coop with something? The ladder gets sort of slippery during the rain and yesterday we had to manually pick them up and put them in the coop.

    I don’t know how old your chickens are but with your breeds even two-week-olds should be able to fly up to the door if they want to unless that door is ridiculously high. That sounds more like a motivational thing than any problem with a slick ramp. Is it possible it started to rain and they wanted to stay out and play in the rain but you were concerned about that? I’m just not sure what was going on. Anyway, a fairly flat ramp with strips across it every 6” or so should give them good traction, even if it is slick.

    Is rain blowing into the coop through that door and getting the inside of the coop wet? That’s the only reason I can think of you might need to put a cover over the door.

    -In our run, we put a bedding that consisted of a couple layers. The first layer (on top of concrete) was gravel mixed with a bit of sand a little dirt, and wood chips above that. How ofter do we need to change this? Never? Once a week? Once a year? The coop sits above ground (help up by post). We put sand underneath that portion, should we just continue the reg. bedding from the rest of the run into there?

    How often do you need to change it out? When it starts to stink. Wet manure will stink after a day or two, that’s just the way it is. There are a whole lot of different factors involved from how well it drains to chicken density to climate, so there is no one answer that covers everyone regardless of anything else. Experience and your nose will tell you how often you need to change it out. That may be pretty regularly, it may be never.
     
  10. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 7, 2016
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    After a lot of posts, I will try to answer/respond to everyone.

    -When snow does pile up on the hc, as we do with our house, use a snow rake and take it off. The chickens do have a shaded area with cover under the coop, and the ladder as cover.

    -Sand with a mix of wood shavings under the coop and wood chips in the actual run seems to be working at the moment.

    -The chicken door is not having any problems upon getting wet inside, the door is shielded by trees outside the run.

    - -We have fixed the ladder problem. Thanks

    -The run is extremely protected.

    Pictures up soon. Thanks. Hope this covered the majority of the questions. I'm sure pictures will help.

    [​IMG]
    Ramp in to coop

    [​IMG]
    Back side (you can see the transition of the sand/shavings to the wood chips

    [​IMG]
    Where we shaded certain areas( ramp, food, big door)

    [​IMG]
    Inside the shaded part of the run (under coop) the hens take the corner while our 1 rooster sits and watches. (1 is walking over to the roo) These pictures were taken today, and it was at a kind of cloudy. They only really come out into the open part of the run when it's sunny and warmer out (70 F today)

    [​IMG]
    Overall coop. Some of the coop still needs to be sided. (as you can see the mess outside the coop :/)

    That's it for pictures.

    Thanks
     

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