The dream of many people who decide to raise backyard chickens is to have then free range. But, the sad fact is that not everyone can raise free range chickens and having a chicken run is the only viable solution to keeping your chickens alive.
Making a chicken run may be necessary for a number of reasons:
- You live in an area where your chickens are not allowed to roam.
- You don’t have enough room to keep your chickens safe and off the road.
- There are too many predators and you would lose too many chickens.
- You don’t like chicken droppings all over your yard, porch, deck, etc.
Whatever the reason, making a chicken run doesn’t require you to be a rocket scientist nor does it have to break the bank. The goal of making a run for your chickens is to give your chickens room to move around during the day and still keep them safe and contained.
When making a chicken run, the size will depend on how many chickens you have. If you have a small flock of chickens, you will only need to make a space that is around 10 square feet. But if you have a large flock of chickens, you will need to consider making one that is much larger so that your chickens are not overcrowded. Overcrowded chickens are more stressed, more prone to disease and will not lay as well.
- It needs to be constructed to keep predators and pets out. Sometimes predators will dig under your chicken run so take that into consideration and bury some of your fencing.
- Use good quality lumber to build a chicken run that is strong and will be long lasting. I used 4×4’s along the base when making a chicken run for my chickens and it made the structure very sturdy.
- Consider using a hardwire mesh when making your chicken run. It’s a great material because it’s tough, it can be bent to mold around the chicken run and predators can’t squeeze through it.
- The hardware you purchase for doors and windows needs to also be animal proof. Many dogs, racoons and foxes have the ablity to open latches on gates and get to your chickens. So always buy latches that have pins or that you can put a clip through.
- Consider intalling motion detector lights around your chicken coop as a predator proofing method when making your chicken run. Most animals will run when a blinding light comes on. If you can see your chicken coop from the house, you will also know when something is lurking around and threatening your chickens.
Raising chickens is a fun way to become more self reliant but it can be heartbreaking to go out in the morning and find dead or missing chickens. Take the necessary precautions when making your chicken run so that your chickens live long and protected lives.
Check out these links if you need chicken run blueprints or just want some different ideas before you start making your chicken run.