What is the best, most secure way to build a run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by steffpeck, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. steffpeck

    steffpeck Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    Erda, UT
    My DH put up a large run last weekend for our chickens, but it just isn't quite right. I have been reading different posts that suggest Hardware Cloth, we just used Chicken Wire. It is about 30'x30' and 6' tall. He used large treated posts (3x3 maybe) for the corners and then put field fence posts between the large corner posts. But it is just flimsy. Not tight at all. I think it needs more posts or framing or something. What is the best way to construct a run?
  2. love-my-wolves

    love-my-wolves Songster

    Mar 14, 2008
    Front Royal, VA
    I did mine just like framing walls, 26-30 inches in between 2x4's, and covered it with hardware cloth on the bottom, and regular chicken wire on the top and roof. It is very sturdy, and as predator proof as I can get it. Good luck!!!
  3. steffpeck

    steffpeck Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    Erda, UT
    Thanks, Steph!!
  4. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

    Jan 15, 2007
    Shepherdstown, WV
    for the safest, best and most secure run....

    personally, I'd replace that great big doorway with:

    jmho [​IMG]
  5. meemee

    meemee Hatching

    Nov 12, 2007
    We had to reinforce our run this year. Black Bear got in the run and then into the coop. We built the run using 1" x1/2" welded wire on the bottom about 48" up then put 1" chicken wire on up top of run about 6' and over the top. The bear could not get its claws into the bottom wire but really did a number on the top wire. Tore a big hole in the fence. Crawled up and over and into the run. At first just ate the chicken feed then tore the small chicken door out and went inside the coop. This was a mother and its cub. We repaired the fence with the welded wire on the top part of the run and it is pretty strong now. The next thing they did was pull the human door off the run and got in that way. We were in town and when we got back I noticed my chickens out. One was missing. So I went into town and got some very big hinges and put 4 on the door and then put some big door slide locks about 3...one at top, one in the middle and one at bottom. The locks have a hole that you can put a big nail into and it keeps the slide from working until you take the nail out. Takes me awhile to get into the run but so far been safe.
    So if you have any chance that bears or anything in that size range use welded wire and small gage. It costs a lot more than chicken wire but I think it is going to work. We thought we had built a Fort Knox before but we are still reinforcing it.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  6. Just-Like-Hatching

    Just-Like-Hatching Songster

    Mar 23, 2008
    Dothan, AL
    I like chain link fencing for runs around the sides and 1" chicken wire for the top. I have all of my runs inside of my chain link fence in my yard in a seperate chain link fenced in area then runs made out chicken wire within that yard.

    That way if they get over the first chain link fence then they have to get around my dogs that are in the yard and then over the second chain link fence and then through the chicken wire runs to get to the chcickens.

    Hopefully by then there will have been enough noise to wake me up and then they have to deal with me and my trusty old rifle/shotgun.
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:There are a couple possibilities -- more than likely, several are at work in your setup.

    It is possible the fence was just never pulled really snugly tight. It helps to build a jig for grabbing onto it, by putting a series of nails in a scrap piece of 2x4's so that it is hooked on for its entire height.

    It is possible that the hardware cloth gets slightly crooked as it goes down the fenceline. THis creates wrinkles or ripples that cannot possibly be tensioned out. (Sight down the topline of the hardwarecloth - is it an *absolutely totally* straight line? If not, there's part of your problem).

    If the corner posts are not set ROCK SOLID (set deeply, well braced, and tamped very securely), then when you tension the fence enough to take out the slack, the corner posts just tip inward a little, so you can't ever really get the slack out.

    It is also possible you just need more, or sturdier, line posts.

    Finally, realize that you are not likely to get a long run of hardwarecloth so tight that you can, like, lean against it. If you want something stronger then you will need to go to (for example) wooden line posts and 2x4's run horizontally between 'em.

    Hope this helps, good luck,

  8. joebryant

    joebryant Crowing

    Quote:THAT's what I want. Where do I buy the stones?

  9. Oblio13

    Oblio13 Songster

    Jan 26, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I didn't notice til a later rereading of your initial post -- oh, you have *chickenwire* not hardwarecloth.

    I would suggest something stronger, as others are saying too.

    Chainlink is great (with hardwarecloth over the lower parts) but expensive and if you haven't done it before you should really have it professionally installed (extra expense). 1x1" welded wire mesh is really good stuff. If that's still too expensive, consider 2x4" welded wire mesh and put hardwarecloth along the bottom 2' of the fence.

    Whatever you do, you will also need a digproof barrier, either buried into the soil or an 'apron' lying more or less on the soil and weighted down with rocks or whatever.

    I would not honestly recommend the electronet (not even the permanet) for a run except in special circumstances. The main reason is that you have to keep weed/grass growth away from the bottom of the fence, which in a permanent installation requires either a LOT of time spent on your knees with scissors [​IMG] or laying down a strip of concrete or compacted gravel, (or using a kills-everything herbicide which is probably a really bad plan for this sort of thing). Also you'd have to sink in permanent posts to attach it to, since it will otherwise eventually go over in the wind, and you need those permanent posts also b/c you would need to build an additional wire-mesh or netting top for the run for good security. All in all, not a great all-purpose product. (I am not opposed to electronet, I have some myself, it is just full of idiosyncrasies that prevent it being the solution to all the world's problems [​IMG])

    There are some good designs for runs made with horse panels (heavy welded wire fence panels) although you need to also cover at least the lower part with hardwarecloth.

    Good luck,


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