Run questions!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by wings, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. wings

    wings Songster

    Jan 11, 2009
    I just found out that the run we have for our 5 chickens will be too small when we get 5 more, so I need my dad to build another one. It will be permanent, not a transportable one (we already have one of those). It needs to come off the coop door that we have. Here are my questions:

    1. We live right next to a college campus, so I don't think we have many predators that would try to eat the chickens during the day. How much predator-proofing do I really need to have in this run?

    2. Is it necessary to line the bottom with chicken wire? Will this prevent them from dust bathing or scratching in the dirt?

    3. Do I have to have a ceiling? What should I make it out of?

    4. If I don't need a ceiling, how high do the fences need to be? We have RIRs, one Buckeye, and will get Barred Rocks and Wyandottes.

    5. I will be including part of the fence that lines our backyard. How do I do this? Do you guys have any pics?

    6. What are the advantages/disadvantages of having a high ceiling? (if I have a ceiling) What do you guys think?

    I would really appreciate ideas and PICTURES, please!!!

  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Even (perhaps especially) next to campus, loose/stray dogs are a big concern. And really, a reasonably dogproof (or dog-resistant) run, with the addition of smaller mesh on the lower 3' of it, will protect against most anything else short of a bear anyhow. I'd really go ahead and make a fairly serious run, like 2x4 wire, rather than playing 'dog roulette'.

    The only thing that won't help vs is aerial predators. I guarantee you hvae them. If you are concerned, you could get some cheap garden trellis or deer netting (or for longer-lasting stronger stuff, actual aviary netting) to drape over the top, with a circus tent pole or rafter type supports. Bear in mind this will not stop predators that climb over the fence (primarily dogs and possums) and it will collapse in your first snowfall. If you want to build a top that will withstand siginficant snow, it gets to be much mroe of an engineering and financial project.

    If you put a top on the run, either make the run narrow enough that you can make individual top sections that lift up for access inside, or (much better) make the whole darn thing at least as tall as you are. Seriously. A 4-5' run will KILL your back [​IMG]

    If you don't put a top on, most non-especially-flight-minded breeds seem to stay inside a 6' fence unless they have good reason to go over it, and some will fairly reliably stay inside a 3-4' fence just cuz they feel like it. However I have a speckled sussex cockerel - not a particularly active or lightweight breed! - who repeatedly flew almost straight up onto a 6' chainlink fence when 'motivated' by the dominant male in the group. It is just a matter of whether they take it into their head to try, you know?

    Don't put wire on the ground inside the run, IMO - it SERIOUSLY interferes with chicken quality of life. Instead, if you are concerned about something digging in, either bury your wire eighteen inches plus into the ground below the fence, or make an apron of 2x4 wire that lies on the ground or just under turf or pavers, out to 2-3' away from the run fence.

    Good luck, have fun [​IMG],

  3. HorseFeathers

    HorseFeathers Frazzled

    Apr 2, 2008
    Southern Maine
    Quote:1) ALWAYS predator-proof your run, no matter what.
    2) You could just bury wire along the sides, 1 or two feet down, to discourage digging predators.
    3) It's good to protect against hawks. Also, it keeps snow and rain out. We have clear plastic stuff that is perfect for both.
    4) I would recommend a ceiling.
    5) Secure it firmly?
    6) Are you tall and do you mind crouching?
  4. Bec

    Bec THE Delaware Blue Hen

    I just bought some deer netting at Lowes on Friday, put it up on the top of the pen yesterday and it is great! We zip tied it on, it is light and the holes are about 1/2 inch so it will keep everyone in and bad ones out! The deer netting was about 12 dollars for a 7 1/2 X 100 ft roll. Zip ties about 5$. Cheap and if it needs to be replaced, you won't spend a fortune to fix it.

    Edited for my poor typing
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2009
  5. wings

    wings Songster

    Jan 11, 2009
    Sounds like a good idea.

  6. Bec

    Bec THE Delaware Blue Hen

    Yeah, it worked well for us. We had to piece it together because the pen is 10X10 and the netting is 7 1/2 wide. We brought it in the house, laid it out on the kitchen floor, used tiny zip ties to hook it together, then we carried it out and draped it up and over the pen and coop. We pulled it kind of tight and used bigger zip ties to attach it to the pen. All together I spent about 15$ to cover to runs! If something happens to it, I can replace it!
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2009

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