Eronica

In the Brooder
Jun 14, 2017
11
8
40
Calumet City, IL
  1. Hello everyone, so excited to try this out! I am a new comer to the Chicken world and so far I've learned plenty things from the Chickens and myself as a Chicken owner :). I have one problem that keeps bugging me; I want to keep my chickens free-range at all times. Since the weather in Chicago is getting hotter and I also want my two girls to enjoy the grass and grubs they find. I have a large vinyl fence so there's complete privacy from on-lookers. Here are my problems and concerns:

    > There are big gaps underneath the fence, the fence is not touching the ground, leaving space for squirrels, mice/rats, possums, skunks and cats to crawl under.

    > That being said, I have seen my yard (before having chickens) with roaming skunks and a cat once, including one time a groundhog! Oh and I've also seen a hawk eating a squirrel once in our tree!

    Those are my main concerns and problems. I can't stay outside all day and watch them as they free-range. (although that would be nice!) I'm a teacher and currently been doing part-time for the Summer. The schedule has been so far, letting the girls free range from 7 am-11:45 am. After that, I guide them back to the coop. I can tell they want more time in the grass, but I need to get going and feel terrible leaving them inside the coop.

    Our Chicken coop is quite small, we ordered our chicken coop from, My Pet Chicken and it's called "The Clubhouse" here are the dimensions:
    Exterior dimensions: 83" wide x 36" deep x 52.5" tall, at peak
    Interior dimensions, house: 26" wide x 26" deep, excluding nest box
    Interior dimensions, nest box: 12" wide x 22" deep x 14" at highest (12" high at lowest)
    Run dimensions: 66" wide x 27" deep. Area under house is 18" high

    My Husband and I do plan to make this coop and run larger as we do want more chickens :) but in the meantime, money is a bit short in hand and we want to be able to let them free range in our yard.

    Any suggestions or ideas that I can do to keep my chickens safe from the predators while they free range?

    Thank you all for your time <3
 

Pork Pie

Flockwit
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jan 30, 2015
56,899
227,918
1,687
Hi and welcome to BYC. I'd suggest posting your question on this forum - https://www.backyardchickens.com/forums/coop-run-design-construction-maintenance.9/. Since you know your potential critters, it may be an idea to use the search function to see how to deter / protect against each one (click on 'search forums').

You could also ask on your state thread, as there may be members nearby who can also offer advice -
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/270925/find-your-states-thread#post_3239224

All the best

CT
 

Yorkshire Coop

*
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Aug 16, 2014
22,833
25,183
1,247
Hi :welcome

Glad you could join the flock! CT has left you a great link to check out in our coop and run section. I'm sure you will get lots of help and advice there.

Good luck for the future and enjoy your time here on BYC :frow
 

Suzi18

Crossing the Road
Apr 4, 2017
3,722
21,030
856
Sandusky Ohio
I have the same coop. I bought a second one and attached them to a 10x8 covered run. Mine free range a few hours a day and they seem fine with the space. They only use the coop to sleep and lay eggs. I have 2 LF in one and 4 bantams in the other. I know some people will say I need more coop space but this has been working just fine for me.
 

theoldchick

The Chicken Whisperer
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
May 11, 2010
31,689
16,755
867
You'll just have to buckle down and build a predator proof area for your two gals. Have you considered a chicken tractor?
 

drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Aug 26, 2009
138,660
271,117
2,027
Out to pasture
Folks who free range have to accept the losses to predators - it comes with the territory. If not build them a secure, covered run
 

Suzi18

Crossing the Road
Apr 4, 2017
3,722
21,030
856
Sandusky Ohio
I have the same coop. I bought a second one and attached them to a 10x8 covered run. Mine free range a few hours a day and they seem fine with the space. They only use the coop to sleep and lay eggs. I have 2 LF in one and 4 bantams in the other. I know some people will say I need more coop space but this has been working just fine for me.
WOW! I never knew that, I sure did look it up! Thank you! This could be a perfect idea!
As I said .....I have 2 of the same coops that you bought. I thought you'd like to see how I prettied them up a bit
 

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Eronica

In the Brooder
Jun 14, 2017
11
8
40
Calumet City, IL
As I said .....I have 2 of the same coops that you bought. I thought you'd like to see how I prettied them up a bit
That looks beautiful! I really like that you put your own design into it as well, the colors coordinate well with each other too :D I really like that you added your own roofing idea instead of the wood type. Does your roof provide a more 'cooling' shade to your chickens? Right now I have been struggling keeping them cool, I've placed a huge patio umbrella that my husband and I sort of winged off of. Its basically like a clothes line dryer shaped like an umbrella and we just placed a tarp and secured it with binder clips. The thing looks big! but I feel like that't not enough... and it doesn't look attractive... hehe :p I also really like the back portion of the coop, did you build something extra behind it?
 

Suzi18

Crossing the Road
Apr 4, 2017
3,722
21,030
856
Sandusky Ohio
That looks beautiful! I really like that you put your own design into it as well, the colors coordinate well with each other too :D I really like that you added your own roofing idea instead of the wood type. Does your roof provide a more 'cooling' shade to your chickens? Right now I have been struggling keeping them cool, I've placed a huge patio umbrella that my husband and I sort of winged off of. Its basically like a clothes line dryer shaped like an umbrella and we just placed a tarp and secured it with binder clips. The thing looks big! but I feel like that't not enough... and it doesn't look attractive... hehe :p I also really like the back portion of the coop, did you build something extra behind it?
We have it under a large tree so it gets plenty of shade, but the galvanized roof was added to keep out the rain and the predators. We added a 10x8 run to the back of the small front run and took out the hardware cloth between them. So now it's one big covered run. We also just recently had screen doors made for the front coop doors. Of course they are made with hardware cloth and have predator proof latches. I thought this would really help to keep them cooler on those warm muggy summer nights. The second coop is actually inside the run and we lifted it an additional 6 inches for a total of 26 inches under the coop. That way we didn't lose any floor space by putting the second coop in there and they love to perch on top of it.
 

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