Run question...


10 Years
Jun 6, 2009
We live in the city with a fully fenced yard, so big predators aren't a big issue, but my mother (who had a farm way-back-when) told me to build the outside run like a completely fenced cube - hardware cloth on all sides including top and bottom. She said that would prevent anything from digging under to get into the run. My question is... Won't that prevent the chickens from exploring the ground?

Also, how big should the outside run be for 8 RIRs?

You want to build an apron around the bottom extending outward from the run not on the inside. I took mine about 1.5 feet out. I put up my hardware cloth on the wall and kept going below the soil,did a 90 degree bend and then ran it out. It keeps things from digging under. If you put it inside the run on the floor that would give the best protection, but yes, unless you cover it with dirt they can't scratch though it.

Is it just going to be a day run or night too. If night you will need more predator proofing.

Minimum I have heard here is 10'/chicken outside so 80' so 8x10 or so for the outside run.
i don't have anything on the bottom of my run but the earth! Mine were free range but all the poop was killing me and the plants ...well what plants!

They had to adjust but i am glad i did it!

And some predators have 2 feet by the way!
I did start out with 8 (4 RIR's and 4 Buff Orps) and my run was 8 x 16 but as a general rule of thumb allow a minimum of 10 sq feet per chicken in the run, 4 sq feet per chicken in the coop. This is a good standard to follow. I now have 11 chickens and haven't added on anywhere - they all seem happy.
I didn't put anything down as a floor for protection in run. I did however bury my sides about a foot down and a couple of inches out to prevent anything from digging under. I also put stone in the trench before covering back over with dirt - seems to be working just fine.
Good luck - keep us posted!
I've done this before (for my dogs) so I can tell you from experience that the grass, weeds, etc will grow up over the hardware cloth or welded wire and you will barely be able to tell it's there, unless the chickens turn the entire run to dirt. Fostering a digger (dog) I had to secure my entire yard so I went inside the fence 18 inches with welded wire. It looked ugly at first but then the grass grew up over it and you couldn't tell it was there.

It would interfere with dirt baths, however. A girl just has to have her dirt bath. lol
Thank you for all of your replies. It will be a day run, not a night run, as I'm too scared to leave them out at night.
We will bury the hardware cloth though, that should take care of my concerns.

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