Run Opinions Wanted

Urban Chaos

8 Years
Feb 9, 2011
I have two design ideas. I tried to edit an image in paint to show the ideas - I know, it looks like a kindergartener did it... the first option is smaller and covered, the second larger and uncovered.

The first is a 5x20 ft covered run that extends off the coop - two fruit trees will be outside the run, just on the other side of the fence (welded wire)

second option is to start the run about 6ft from the coop, use the existing privacy fences on two sides and run the fence all the way to the 4ft chain link fence that separates our front/back yards. Inside would be 4 small trees (3 fruit/1 Rosebud) that would offer shade, day perch, and fallen fruit treats. The con would be that it is uncovered and possibly the 4 ft chain link fence being to low?

Thanks in advance,
Bigger is better than smaller, AND enclosed is better than open.
A smaller completely covered run means no predators can get in and the chickens cant get out, and you'll always be wishing you'd built a bigger one.
An open run means you run the risk of flying and climbing critters getting in, and chickens getting out and going on trips, maybe overnight trips, maybe out onto the highway. And even though they will find a way to fly OUT over the top, many BYCers say the chickens have no idea how to fly back in.
Covered is definately better. I had mine uncovered and wouldn't you know it, 2 hawls showed up. Even though our crows we feed chase them away I put on a cover. I used shade cloth. Helps with shade and will keep it 15% cooler (package stated) in summer. Works great and my gals are safe. Have had no problems.
I don't hear much about running electric wire around the perimeter? Is that effective against most predators?
terry's chicks :

I don't hear much about running electric wire around the perimeter? Is that effective against most predators?

I have electric wire along the outside of my run. One strand is about 6" off the ground and the other is about 36" off the ground. It works well - I live out in the country and have lots of predators and my coop is an open sided run in shed enclosed inside this run - so now way to lock anyone up. I've had no issues since installing the electric wire.​
I would think your decision should be baised on what birds you want to rear. If you are into bantams and lighter fowl the enclosing the cage is a good idea. Hawks love to eat chickens. If haven't had any troubles currently, don't count on that lasting forever, particuarly if you raise bantams. (I never had a hawk take anything bigger then a bantam, but my flock of old english game bantams was practically consummed in few days.)

A four foot fence really isn't that high. If not encoused you are going to have to pick birds that stay in it, which is based upon breed and personality. My Buff Orpingtons and Easter Eggers made regular trips over my fence last year. Also, as others have said they rarely can get back in, and decide that you are a monster when you try to help them. My Brahmas never tried to go over my fence, yet they flew 6 feet into the air each night to roost.
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Is there any way you could do both, have the smaller covered run for unlimited access during the day, with the larger uncovered run for supervised free ranging? Then you could have the best of both worlds.
terry's chicks :

I don't hear much about running electric wire around the perimeter? Is that effective against most predators?

Not against hawks, of course, which are one of the primary daytime predators.

One thing to consider about using the existing privacy fence: how would you secure that part from predators digging in under the fence? Usually what you do can do is lay an wire apron on the ground, attached to the base of the run and extending outwards 2 or 3 feet flat on the ground. Anchor it with landscaping staples, rocks or what have you, and you're done. But with a privacy fence, if the other side of it is another homeowner's property, you can't do that.​
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