1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Semi free range run help/suggestions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kmpcfp, Dec 16, 2016.

  1. kmpcfp

    kmpcfp Out Of The Brooder

    94
    1
    41
    Mar 24, 2014
    I am in the process of determining the best set up for my property.

    Right now my 8 15 week old pullets are in a very rickety temporary pen. They get out, I let them hang out. I need to get a move on for permanent pen, which will be on the other side of the house.

    My goal is to have a small 100% predator proof run attached to the coop for 24/7 access. I have one at my mother in law's house which has worked out perfectly in the past 2.5 years. (Eventually they will be integrated all on my property).

    I also want to give them day time access to a wooded hillside area.

    My biggest day time concern are hawks and eagles. We have very occasional raccoons and foxes, but I am home most of the day and my dogs and kids are loud, so not too concerned about that.

    I bought a 50x50 heavy duty nylon net that I am still not sure how to hang. This is the area in question.

    [​IMG]

    Suggestions?

    I was hoping to use the trees as "fence" posts. Depending on how far the chickens roam I may have to fence in the sides some how as well. The area would be at the hairpin turn in the path up to the driveway and to the far right of the picture.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2016
  2. Daox13

    Daox13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    239
    21
    78
    Jan 17, 2014
    Richmond va
    My Coop
    well you won't have a 100% predator proof pen with nylon netting but if its mainly to keep out sky predators and you are only using it on top of the run then you should be ok.

    I have build a run that is pretty secure and it is linked under my profile. I of course am going full bore on the predator proofing but it might help you a little with the planning.

    If you are still going with the nylon netting I would suggest throwing up a free standing structure with 4x4s and 2x4s in the rectangle or square pattern and that way you can put 2x4 welded wire on the sides combined with 1/2" HW cloth and nylon netting over top as it will serve as no protection on the sides of any predators including hawks and eagles as their beaks will slice right through it.... keep in mind that grass will be gone and you will be stuck with a muddy mess in a good rain or snow... a roof would fix that but I understand the expense of one is not always on the table.

    here is a simple picture of what you could do:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2016
  3. kmpcfp

    kmpcfp Out Of The Brooder

    94
    1
    41
    Mar 24, 2014
    The picture that you posted is basically what I plan to do for the 24/7 access run. I am envisioning an automatic pop door in that run open for day time access to "free-ranging" under the nylon netting. Not sure if the netting would be enough to dissuade hawks from breaking in.
     
  4. Daox13

    Daox13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    239
    21
    78
    Jan 17, 2014
    Richmond va
    My Coop
    got it! that's not a half bad idea, but I may caution an auto pop door because it may be a good idea to only free range when you are there and to simply inspect the "free run" area before opening... the last thing you want is it to auto pop and a predator waiting for a free snack.
    you could do it remote though which is an idea...
     
  5. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,453
    339
    159
    Dec 15, 2014
    Massachusetts
    Well, don't count on your birds ranging where you want them to. They will go where they want when they want and unless you contain them somehow there is no guarantee it will be in that area. If you want them there you'll need some kind of fencing. It may be as simple as a roll or two of deer fencing attached to the trees. Pretty much any predator can bust thru it or just travel thru the trees to get over it but it'll keep your birds in.

    You are right to be concerned about aerial predators. Your net would help with that but I don't know how you would string a 50x50' net in that area with all the trees in the way. It seems like you'd have to cut it which would compromise the protection it offered not to mention making it more difficult to hang. If you manage to get it up, I imagine you would leave it up year round rather than struggle each year. However, being in the trees like that means you are going to get lots of leaves getting caught in it every year, weighing it down.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by