Worth building a run, or will predators get in anyway? :/

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ShortHenTallPen, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. ShortHenTallPen

    ShortHenTallPen Out Of The Brooder

    55
    0
    46
    Jan 18, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    Hi there,

    We just converted part of our old barn into a coop, YAY! And as soon as the ground isn't frozen solid (Ontario! :), we had (obviously, I thought...) planned on building an outside run for the girls.

    Well my hubby was just speaking to the lady who runs a local feed store, and she said not to bother. She said either free-range them, or keep them inside, as whatever we do, a determined predator will get into the run. I'm a bit dismayed, TBH.

    I'd love to free-range my girls, but the fact is we're in a rural area, with the nearest neighbour maybe a half-mile away. Although we are mostly in fields, there are a couple of patches of wood, and coyotes around, as well as raccoons, and possibly foxes.

    I'm only at home in the summer when I'm not teaching, and I was assuming that predators would be more than willing to take their pick when nobody's around, even in the day. The lady said that she "only" lost two birds last summer, but that really isn't a scenario I want with my heritage ladies.

    Our barn isn't hooked up to electric, so there's no way for us to run an electric fence. We were thinking of sinking hardware cloth a couple of feet into the ground, and extending it high, and covering with lighter mesh to keep hawks etc out. We don't have a dog yet (couple of years away!) Is she right, are we crazy?

    I'm willing to ramp up our run design, but is it really the case that there's no point building one? Should I consider free ranging them?

    Thanks! :D
     
  2. Rowsdower

    Rowsdower Chillin' With My Peeps

    773
    55
    131
    May 27, 2012
    I have a run built very much like the one that you describe. I still lock the ladies up at night, but I have never had a predator get into my run. On the flip side, I free-range them whenever I am at home and I lost 4 hens to hawks over the Winter.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  3. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    16,991
    5,272
    501
    Mar 9, 2014
    Oregon
    My Coop
    I find her advice rather questionable. A secure run (and your plans are for a secure run) is one added layer of safety you offer your flock.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Rowsdower

    Rowsdower Chillin' With My Peeps

    773
    55
    131
    May 27, 2012
    They actually DO make solar-powered electric fencing. But I have never used it and it's rather pricey for the small area that you would need.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,707
    2,336
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Solar powered unit I have cost about $50.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,637
    3,260
    441
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    We have runs attached to our coops. I let my chickens free range as much as possible, but when they can't, they have the run. It's nice to have both. I would not use a lighter mesh on the top of the run. Raccoons can still get in there that way. Mine are covered with 4x2" welded wire. We have a fencer that hooks up to a car battery to keep the deer out of our sweet corn. It wasn't terribly expensive.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. ShortHenTallPen

    ShortHenTallPen Out Of The Brooder

    55
    0
    46
    Jan 18, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    Oooh... that's exciting! Might cost me a few more dollars up to the north here, but that sounds much less expensive than I was thinking... totally doable! :)

    Thanks... I'll get my fingers tapping and look into what's out there in my local stores :D
     
  8. ShortHenTallPen

    ShortHenTallPen Out Of The Brooder

    55
    0
    46
    Jan 18, 2015
    Ontario, Canada

    The 4x2 mesh sounds like a great idea. I was concerned about racoons, but hubby didn't think they'd be able to climb that high. He's Canadian and I'm British, so I didn't feel qualified to quibble with him (we don't have racoons in UK), but now I'll put the mesh idea to him :)

    Hm... car battery and fencing also sounds intriguing... Yay — I feel hopeful again! I really felt that this lady was painting it in kind of extreme terms, and I want my chickens to be as safe as they can be and have good access to an outside area :)

    Thanks so much for the input!!
     
  9. ShortHenTallPen

    ShortHenTallPen Out Of The Brooder

    55
    0
    46
    Jan 18, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
    Oooh... that's exciting! Might cost me a few more dollars up to the north here, but that sounds much less expensive than I was thinking... totally doable! :)

    Thanks... I'll get my fingers tapping and look into what's out there in my local stores :D


    [/quote]
     
  10. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,637
    3,260
    441
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I don't know about Canadian raccoons, but the ones here in MN will most certainly climb that high. (I'm not quite sure how high *that* high is, but ours climb to the tops of our century old cottonwood trees...) They have no qualms about climbing up a fence, unless, of course, you get that solar or battery powered fencer and juice up your run a bit... If you have trees near the run, they'll use that to get to your chickens. They are diabolical creatures. Evil. Conniving. Nasty.
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by