1. HickChick Wannabe

    HickChick Wannabe Out Of The Brooder

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    May 8, 2008
    North Ridgeville, Ohio
    The coop is almost built [​IMG] and it's time to start thinking about the run. Here's the dilemma: My vision of the run is 16' X 45', with part of that being the area under the 8' X 8' coop (so they can go under for shade- it's 1.5 feet off the ground- will that work or will I regret giving them access to that area?) My dh's idea of the run is about 8' X 12' and minus the area under the coop (it will be difficult to secure at this stage- oops). There are 6 3-week old chicks. I'm not having any luck convincing dh that I need all that space for 6 chickens. I'd consider it as a temporary measure to try it, but then how do I predator proof it, yet still be able to expand it at a later date? The shed itself is intended to be Fort Knox and our yard is fenced, so there shouldn't be too much trouble with daytime predators when they're out in the run, so I would just need to get them locked up at dusk. Of course, working full time and tending a toddler under 2 when I get home.... how long can I keep that up, before I start missing the dusk deadline?

    Help!
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2008
  2. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    Sep 25, 2007
    Michigan
    Well, bear in mind that in my humble opinion, more room is better for them! Plus, if you decide to add more chickens later, you'll have plenty of room. Also, they'll eat all the grass in no time, but I would think if you had more fenced in for them, that may not happen (?)

    Good thing you're thinking of predator proofing now; it's much easier, I think, to do it while building. You want to make sure to bury your fencing in the ground - I buried mine 5-6" deep all the way around. I should have gone deeper, but our ground is mostly clay and is extremely hard and difficult to dig. Some folks bend the bottom of the fencing out at a 90 degree angle and sort of pull back the grass - like a layer of sod - then put the "apron" of fencing on the dirt & put the "sod" back over top, and the roots will eventually grow back & hold the apron of fencing in place. Will you have a roof over top of the run? That's important for predators that fly, like hawks, eagles, and owls. Some folks don't have tops on their runs & seem to not have issues. But, if you want Fort Knox, and you want to not have to worry, it's best to have a "roof."

    My coop is raised off the ground, and I absolutely love it! We put a sheet of marine-grade plywood as a floor, with some leftover linoleum on top of that, stapled down. I put their dishes of oyster shell & grit under there so they don't get rained on or frozen, and they go underneath the coop to get shade, and get out of the rain. This way, they can still be outside in the rain if they want.

    Hope describing what we did was helpful!! [​IMG]

    Edited to add: Welcome to BYC!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2008
  3. HickChick Wannabe

    HickChick Wannabe Out Of The Brooder

    72
    0
    39
    May 8, 2008
    North Ridgeville, Ohio
    That was my thought as well. A few chickens on a large area would be good for the grass (and them), a small area will be destroyed and I'll have a lot more work cleaning it up. But... I still have to convince my other half. There's a gate in that corner of the yard that leads to a soccer field behind our house and he doesn't want to have to wade through chicken poop to use it. Of course, we rarely use it, but never mind that. [​IMG] By making the run smaller, there will be a path behind the run.

    So you never have a problem with them laying eggs under there? And what if I want to bring them into the coop before dusk? Is it difficult to coax them in (with, say, scratch) or will I be trying to shoe them out from under the coop? And 1.5 feet is tall enough for a full size chicken to hang out under, right?

    Thanks for the input and the welcome, Wynette!

    Anyone else?
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2008
  4. Jenski

    Jenski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    HC-W, you are welcome to check out my little suburban setup here - -

    http://theworldofjenotopia.com/cmsjoomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=63&Itemid=27

    I have a much smaller "Fort Knox" area for my four hens than you are planning, but we also have two adjoining fenced yards they run in when I am at home.

    * On the "unprotected" side of the covered run and fence I have patio paving stones.
    * There is a 2' clearance under the coop, and my girls love that area. Like Wynette's chickens, my girls have their food and water underneath, and they have good shade there too.
    * As dusk approaches, the girls always come in and hop onto the run perches we put up for them. This makes it easy to fetch them if they don't go into the coop by themselves. They also like sitting up there and watching us when we're on the patio.
    * I have also made some summer modifications to the coop to allow more ventilation. You might check back to my site next week; I'm going to add a summer article this weekend.

    A larger covered run will take some planning but is going to be great for your hens! Good luck!


    Jen in TN
     
  5. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Here's a thought- why not go with a small roofed run, predator-proofed with 1/2" hardware cloth, and then, later, if you feel you need to extend, you can?

    The added benefit is that you'd have 2 areas, one of them ultra-secure and less expensive and could invest in the other next year or while your birds are already enjoying the smaller space.

    [​IMG]

    Having fun yet?
     
  6. sweetshoplady

    sweetshoplady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2008
    Venice, Florida
    Your girls will go to bed when its time. Once they have "their spot" they'll head right in. It seems like on overcast days they head in a little earlier. I know one night I went to go pick up a dog run and it was dark when I got home. Rather than try to chase chickens I went and got the dog run. When I got home, about 10 pm, I secured the chickens, after doing a head count.

    They will enjoy that space under the coop. Mine love being under my trucks. Its a place to be out of the rain, as well as a wonderful place to scratch around for buggies. And a place to run to if something scary flies overhead. (even if you have a net or something over the run).

    Mine seem to head to bed after I give them "supper" (they have access to food all day, but do like having new dishes of food and treats at night and in the morning).
     

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