Runs or free Range

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jeffery57, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. jeffery57

    jeffery57 In the Brooder

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    Mar 12, 2011
    New Ross, IN
    I would like some opinions on having fenced runs for chickens or just free ranging them. I live in rural central Indiana. Thanks!
     
  2. 10 point

    10 point country boy

    Feb 19, 2011
    LaFayette, NY
    It depends on how much each individual chicken means to you. If you couldn't stand losing one than go with a closed in run that will keep them safe. but if It doesn't matter if you lose a couple then free range is the way to go.

    we were going to free range but two days after we made that decision a fox showed ujp in the field next to our house. which made are decision of using the run much easier.
     
  3. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    Aug 25, 2008
    SC
    I have roomy runs for all my chickens and ducks, because we have lots of predators in SC. I do let them free range some, but I am very aware that I could lose them in the blink of an eye. My being out there with them doesn't deter a hungry hawk, fox, dog, etc at all.
     
  4. jeffery57

    jeffery57 In the Brooder

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    Mar 12, 2011
    New Ross, IN
    I have seen a coyote or two around in the past so a fenced run might be the way to go.
    Should the run also be covered on top? and approx. how big of a run for about 8 chickens? Thanks!
     
  5. 10 point

    10 point country boy

    Feb 19, 2011
    LaFayette, NY
    Our run isn't covered but probably should be. The size of the pen for 8 should be about 80 square feet (10 per chicken) which is 8x10.
     
  6. ericsplls

    ericsplls Songster

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    Feb 25, 2010
    I free range and use tractors. If you build a run make it 100 percent predator proof. I lose a couple a year that go broody and I can't find them. Found one and a pile of eggshells in the corner of the barn yesterday. My biggest loss to date was when a dog got in the tractor and killed the six hens in it. We have some predators but not much trouble in the daytime. I also have my coops near the dog pens.
     
  7. 10 point

    10 point country boy

    Feb 19, 2011
    LaFayette, NY
    You could go larger if you want to. I would exactly sugest bigger if you have the space.
     
  8. mamabigbird

    mamabigbird Songster

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    Feb 11, 2010
    Vancouver Island, B.C.,
    I use a combination of both. I leave them in their coop and run until around noon. By that time most of them will have laid their eggs. Then I open the gate so they can free range and still have access to their coop. In two years I have lost only one hen to a raven. If you have roosters they are good guardians, keeping an eye out and letting out a special warning sound if there is a threat.
    We don't have any roosters so we have been lucky.
    I think they are happier to be out foraging for bugs and green grass, but if they never get to free range they won't know the difference.
    Somedays when the wind and rain is too severe or in snowstorms I keep them in their coop and pen.
     
  9. jeffery57

    jeffery57 In the Brooder

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    Mar 12, 2011
    New Ross, IN
    Sounds like a covered run is the way to go. I have plenty of room so I will probably build one bigger than 8X10. Thanks for your imput.
     
  10. Noymira

    Noymira Songster

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    Mar 9, 2011
    Chittenden County, VT
    Good post, I've been wondering about this myself. I think we too will go with a large covered run; we have hawks, foxes, dogs, fishers, skunks, weasels & bears. We are also set back quite a bit from the road and into a little valley surrounded by forest.
     

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