What size run for chickens?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by From the North, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. From the North

    From the North Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 22, 2013
    What size of a run should I be building to keep 6-8 hens in, not including the coop? They will be in the run most of the time -- we have full time jobs so can't let them free range except on the weekends, or after work in the summer, I guess (do they stay up later when the days are longer?)
    Thanks everyone for all the help -- I'm starting to feel a lot more confident about this whole endeavor.
  2. jma6004

    jma6004 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 30, 2013
    Carencro, LA
    There are tons of suggestions on the Internet for what's best for the birds. I have 8 buffs in a 8 x 12 run. They love it. Never had any trouble at all. Like you mine mostly come out on the weekends. I am starting to feel more comfortable (after almost two years haha) and let them out during the day while I sleep (I work nights). I think they say the run should have 4 sq ft per chicken. Depends on your climate I guess but with mine a bigger run is much more important then a bigger coop. Mine rarely go in the coop except to lay or roost at night.
  3. Jakoda

    Jakoda Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2012
    Old Lyme CT
    I agree about varying ideas on size.. My opinion is bigger is always better, if you do it the first time, you won't rethink "it's to small"...I have 9 standard chicks can't let them free range because of critters.

    Their outdoor run is 12 x 20+,, seems to work for them,
  4. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    They recommend 10sq ft per chicken for the run and 4sq ft per chicken for the coop (less for leghorns and bantams), but bigger is always better as the other posters have mentioned! My 8 girls are currently in a 20ftx30ft run, but there have also been times where they have been in a small run as part of a pasture pen that was only 4ftx8ft. Really depends on your style of management. As long as your hens are healthy and not picking on each other, you probably have a working setup.
  5. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    Instead of building a costly wood framed, hardware clothed run, get a few lengths of electrified poultry netting. You can fence in a huge area for way less than you would spend on a conventional run. Your birds will be safe from ground predators. And if you supply places for them to get under and hide, safe from airborne preds. I have a 100X100' run, that I got from Premier. You can get solar or household electric powered chargers for the fence. I spent less than half of what I saw somebody spent on a 20X12' wood and wire run.

    1 person likes this.
  6. From the North

    From the North Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 22, 2013
    Can't they just fly right over that? I love the flexibility of electric fencing, and I do have an extra charger and extra Tposts, but I don't want them to fly right over?

    I had not yet read 10 square feet per chicken in the run, I thought it was about 5/chicken.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  7. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Storey's guide will tell you 5sqft/chicken, but recently published books about small backyard flocks will say closer to 10. Really, try keeping 10 hens in a run that's 5ftx10ft and see the kind of poo that builds up, the way they pick on each other... if you can find a way to do it, make it bigger. If not, place deep litter, hanging treats, find ways to keep them entertained. It's not a set rule that you must provide X number of sqft.

    Most who have electronet either have heavy breeds that don't fly very high, or they clip wings.
  8. ladyrsanti

    ladyrsanti Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 19, 2012
    I've considered electric too but mine fly over fences. Granted, I don't clip wings. But they fly over higher fences than that. I'd like to hear more about how electric fences work for chicken owners.
  9. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    I had one bird go over the first day I installed the fence. Then she wandered back and forth wanting to go back in with her buddies. I gave her a clipped wing and that settled that. The birds are out every day, the fence will have been up a year in Mar, and I have had no escapees since that first day. Even Maude, the adventurist with her new wing feathers stays in. Pic of Maude (Wife's fav) showing off her clipped wing below.
  10. DownwardDog

    DownwardDog Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2012
    Seacoast New Hampshire
    How does an electric fence work when snow is on the ground? Doesn't it short out? And is there some kind of gate/door to get in/out? We're contemplating an e.fence but aren't sure of the details. We're not sure how it would work in our wooded area, we're afraid raccoons would climb down a tree and get the girls!

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