Secondary "run"


May 17, 2018
I have a (so-far) predator-proof coop and run in a very wooded, but suburban area. Coyotes, fox, dogs, skunks, possum, etc. After I lost my favorite hen during supervised free-range to a cooper's hawk, I created a secondary "yard" with a little hobbit door from the run to a fenced-in area in the woods. It is half covered by garden fencing and seemed secure enough to give the girls some extra square footage safely without actually free-ranging.

Then I lost my head hen suddenly in that fenced area and with no sign of forced entry, no feathers, nothing. Since we have seen a red-tailed hawked skulking around, we tend to think it was that. So I covered all of the fenced area with netting and only let the flock out when I can sit with them.
Today, a cooper's hawk swooped down while I was there. I ran it off and it never got near the netting. But it was sobering.

I miss free-ranging my girls, I miss being outside with them. I feel terrible keeping them cooped up, literally, and am looking for another solution. I know nothing is guaranteed. But if I were to put in some permanent fencing and a more permanent solution, what could that look like? Would something like a retractable awning over a chain link or cedar fence work?

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