Urban Chickens: Enclosed Run or Outdoor Space?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by SFChickens, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. SFChickens

    SFChickens In the Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2015
    Hi y'all!

    We are a family living in the city of San Francisco. We've decided to get chickens (3 hens is the current plan) for fresh eggs.

    We purchased a kit build coop+run from amazon (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007D8319O?psc=1), which we've assembled.

    Now the question we have is this. We both work, and so the chickens will often be unattended during the day, so for additional space, these are the three options we are considering:

    1: build a significant extension to the run, which would act as a "tunnel" to a space between a building and a fence, which we could then close off, to add 18' of linear space (by appx 24" across) which contains dirt, weeds, etc, and would allow for "anytime" access for the hens. This would be constructed from 2x4s and hardware cloth.
    2: add a small run to the existing structure (something like this: http://www.amazon.com/TRIXIE-Pet-Pr..._sim_lg_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1CCZYCJYY88VHD6SVEYD) to allow a small amount of additional space, but as a kit, so not a lot of sweat equity
    3: enclose a larger are which contains the coop structure with some chicken wire, letting the hens out in the morning, and asking our dog walker to close them up around 3 PM each afternoon. This would give them access to an area appx 11ft x 13ft, with some dense purple hopseed shrub they could take cover under in the event of an aerial attack.

    Our thoughts and concerns are with balancing the safety of our ladies with their need for space.

    Option 1 provides the most "secure" space for them.
    Option 2 provides the fewest "access points" for predators
    Option 3 provides the largest space for them

    We live in the Sunset District of San Francisco, in adjacent lots, about 10 blocks from the beach. Racoons are a common site at dusk and at night, and red-tail hawks are visible during the day.

    We'd love to hear any experience you can share on this topic - especially in urban environments, which I think have different predator concerns then the country/farmlands.

    Thanks so much!!!

    D+S
     
  2. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Songster

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    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    If you went with Option 3, you could buy a roll of bird netting at Home Depot to hang over it which would help with concerns about hawks. Otherwise, I'd go with Option 1. I'm just across the bay in Oakland. I keep mine in an 11' x 5' secure run when I'm at work and let them out to free range when I get home from work and on the weekends.

    BTW, we have a pretty awesome thread for NorCal peeps:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/25/california-northern
     
  3. SFChickens

    SFChickens In the Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2015
    @HighStreetCoop

    Thanks so much! We were thinking of the bird netting, but I am not sure how the aesthetics will be. I also wonder if that would really deter a hawk? I couldn't enclose in netting fully, so it would just be over top of the bushes.

    I'd prefer #1, but my wife is concerned about the construction time, and securing it well to keep raccoon out at night. How did you build your 11'x5' run?

    I guess my main concern/question, for the city folk, is how concerned about predators I need to be during the day. What's your experience in Oakland? I guess I can't really see a hawk coming down into a yard of a house (we have a dog, she's an indoor dog, but still), to try to catch a chicken in the bushes. But I don't want to find out I am wrong, the hard way.

    Thanks for the referral to the NorCal thread - that's a long thread :)
     
  4. barnaclebob

    barnaclebob Chirping

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    My chickens have an automatic pop door that opens to the yard in the morning and closes at night. Hawks have only been an issue when they weren't full grown knock on wood. The crows do a pretty good job of keeping the hawks busy where I live. My yard also has a lot of cover for them.

    Every area will be different. Bird netting is a pain and gets caught on everything. Both your options 1 and 2 sound pretty good to me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015
  5. HighStreetCoop

    HighStreetCoop Songster

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    Aug 28, 2014
    Oakland, CA
    My Coop
    Well, I have a hawk that lives in my neighborhood and likes to eat pigeons on the neighbor's roof, so I have definite concerns about them. I think my chickens are now BIGGER than the hawk, so this might not be such a major concern now, but I still think I'll keep netting draped over the Omlet fence I have surrounding their free range area.

    I took the easy way out and bought a coop and run that was delivered and assembled by the builder. It showed up in flat panels and they put them all together once they'd hauled all the pieces into my yard. But if you want to build it yourself, the people over at The Garden Coop have good, basic plans for attractive runs:

    http://www.thegardencoop.com/chicken-run-plans.html
     
  6. SFChickens

    SFChickens In the Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2015
    Thanks for the insight barnaclebob! Agreed, I have seen many a pair of crow's chasing a hawk around here.
     

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