To Cover or Not to Cover...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Irish Cluck, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. Irish Cluck

    Irish Cluck Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay, so I am going to be building a new coop (actually re-purposing a shed I already have) The old coop was small as was the run. I was letting the gals free range alot but unfortunately I lost 2 of them to foxes inside of a week. So the wife has instructed me that the new run is to be LARGE as they will no longer be roaming free about the property. The new run area is going to be huge (think 40' x 40' and you'll be getting close). Because of the shear size of the run as well as the fact that it will be odd in shape, the question is, can I go without a cover? It is nicely wooded giving lots of protection from hawks and I plan on about a 5' fence. Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  2. K8tieCat

    K8tieCat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Predators can climb over the top. Owls can swoop from trees. Even though you have shade, that is not enough protection, just my opinion. I'll bet you two cents a fox could climb the sides and jump right into the run with them, and then where will the chicks run then? Lots of folks have uncovered runs, but I don't recommend it.
     
  3. Noymira

    Noymira Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:With a 5' fence and no cover, they will be able to get out if they want to. But with a 40'x40' space, will they want to? I can't imagine it would be easy to cover that space, so I wouldn't try, as long as they will be locked in a secure coop at night. I would add some cover for them to duck under in to avoid the hawks, probably in several locations around the run. Some people use old tables, you could build something with left over tin, just about anything they can get under. It won't be as secure as a covered run, but more secure than free ranging.

    Would love to see it when it's done!
     
  4. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    Avian netting could cover that area if you want. If you want to prevent foxes and raccoons from climbing in (which they could, but I don't know if they would during the day), then you could use electric fencing around the top and/or bottom. Or a cheaper easier and less secure alternative is to give the chickens things to hide under in their run if they spot a hawk.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  5. Irish Cluck

    Irish Cluck Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 6, 2011
    Baldwinsville, NY
    Perhpas I should clarify a bit.

    The entire area is thickly wooded (sumac and poplar). So it would be impossible to pull a net over it as well. I'm not at all worried about flying predators in this area... really excellent coverage. The concern is foxes and coyotes as well as keeping the girls in it. Will they challenge a fence in that large of an area? How high would I need to go? They will be locked up at night, this is a day time run only.
     
  6. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    Oh in that case, depending on how well they fly 5 ft would probably be ok.
     
  7. Noymira

    Noymira Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With a space that large, as long as there is a lot to distract them inside they probably will not want to get over the fence. There is a chance something else could scare them over a fence, or drop in from the trees (maybe a really bold raccoon). There are risks, but not nearly as great as you would have free ranging.

    I would expect you will see the fox(es) back if they've already had a good meal. I would think a 6' fence might be a better deterrent for flying out, but that will depend a lot on your breeds and their personalities.
     
  8. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    It's too large to cover with anything but deer netting or fruit tree netting which won't stop night predators like coons. Skirt the fence from diggers and lock the birds in at night and see if hawks are a issue. A rooster will help alert the hens to a hawk and if they have a safe spot (brush pile or low sunshade) they can hide. Besides the rooster will be the first to the fight to protect his hens and die for them if needed
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  9. JackE

    JackE Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:My rooster didn't die during the fox attack. He was one of two survivors. That, and becoming more and more of a lunatic to people, led to his demise.
    Jack
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
  10. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow...I've lost several to fox before I got my fence and skirt done (one while I was standing in the yard) and have also watched my current roo fight a raven
     

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