Run vs Fenced in Area for Coop

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by RitzHomestead, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. RitzHomestead

    RitzHomestead Chirping

    Feb 19, 2015
    Marble Hill, GA
    I have built a large coop that sits about 4' off the ground, and my original plan was to build a run that connected to the coop and was completely closed in. After looking at some other coops I see that people often times just fence in the area around their coop which leaves it open from above. I would like to do the fenced in approached as it would give the hens more room, but worried about how safe it really is for them. What are your thoughts or advice?

    Thank you!
  2. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    My personal (stress personal) preference, is for closed in on top. Either way is fine - a big fenced area or a big run, it's all the same to the chickens as long as they have space to prevent overcrowding. Closing it up on top can reduce the risk from overhead predators and gives you a firm base if you want or need to tarp it for any reason. Trying to tarp or cover a fenced in area without a top on it guarantees that the tarp will sag in the middle and it's hard to get it tight enough. Now that said, even a covered run or fenced in area can have a sagging tarp on top - it depends on the weight of the accumulated snow, rain, or leaves on top. But at least a cover gives it something to sag against. The other thing to consider is small birds. Believe it or not even family of sparrows could - and I repeat, could, not absolutely will - bring in stuff that you likely don't want in your chickens. There is probably no such thing as a totally mite free environment for the chickens, but letting small birds in is a pretty sure way to introduce the little pests. For those reasons I chose to cover my run. But your situation might be entirely different than mine, so I think in the end you'll look things over carefully and make the decision that's right for your setup.
  3. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Songster

    Jan 27, 2013
    Northern Wisconsin
    You can get large pieces of aviary netting to cover a fairly large run.
  4. Howlet

    Howlet Chirping

    Jul 31, 2014
    My Coop
    Im with Blooie, as long as it has a top. My hens, Specially Stormy, ( Brahma Bantam Hen ) Always has the urge to fly from her run, over my neighbors fence, and into the next neighbors yard where they keep dogs that will pop off a rabbits head in too seconds.Their 3 year old nephew throws them bread, which i WONT get into right now. Their friends of mine though so i really cant flip, because the hens love him :p

    I have a plywood roof on my run, but its a VERY small run ( their only inside during storms and some of winter, they like to eat snow )
  5. shadow rabbit10

    shadow rabbit10 Crowing

    Mar 3, 2012
    New Jersey
    I have a run with a top. I recommend something sturdy because tarps, or even netting can sag and collapse when it snows or rains... I have a very long and tall run, but I let my birds free range. I use plexiglass sheets as the roof of my run. I also make sure they are slightly slanted down so that the water drains off and doesn't collect.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I am glad I went with a mesh covered run...the way I did it limited the width to 8 feet, but I like it.
    Most the snow goes right thru, but gotta watch if it starts sticking and keep it knocked off.

  7. marktoo

    marktoo Songster

    I move this setup on occasion as part of garden rotation. The only predators we have to deal with are hawks. Sparrows are really difficult to keep out as they manage to slip through this 1" plastic fence & netting. I recently switched to demand type feeders in an effort to discourage them but they still enter, just because, I suppose.
  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    My set-up is a hoop run, and I'm pleased as punch at how well it has shed snow and laughed at our wild Wyoming winds - it's not unusual here to have sustained winds of 30-40 mph with gusts at 60+. The cattle panel "skeleton" supports the "muscle" of the chicken wire and the hardware cloth "skin" beautifully.

    Motel Chix in summer.

    We draped more white vinyl lattice over it and covered that with clear plastic for winter. The lattice puts a buffer between the plastic and the little pokey-outie things anchoring the chicken wire to the cattle panels so that they don't poke holes in the plastic when the winds howl and the snow piles up.

    All we do is step into the run with a push broom and gently push up against the top - snow slides right off. And yes, I know I forgot to take down the hummingbird feeder before winter set in. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2015

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