A chicken run is an enclosed outdoor space attached to a chicken coop. It is the area where chickens can freely roam around without getting too far from the coop.
However, not all chicken runs are appropriate for every location and situation. Here are some things you need to consider so you will know how to choose a suitable chicken run.
1. Know your flock
First, you should know what will constitute your flock. How many chickens do you have or plan to have? You may want to consider starting a bigger run should you decide to add more chickens to your flock.
You should also consider the breed of the chickens. Different breeds will need different requirements. Be sure to know their individual requirements before adding them to your flock.
Larger breeds will need a larger area for the run. As a rule of thumb, you need to provide sufficient space for your chickens. A minimum of 10 square feet for each chicken would be enough. Chickens spend most of their time outside the coop. Thus, you need to make the chickens run and roam in as vast an area as possible to keep them happy.
Overcrowding of chickens can cause several problems such as fighting and pecking. Insufficient space may also lead to the transmission of diseases in chickens.
2. Choose a location
When choosing a location for your chicken run and coop, protection from the sun, wind, rain, and even snow is important. Make sure that your chickens will be kept warm and dry during rainy and winter seasons, and shield them from the heat during summer.
Choose an area that is grassy so the chicken can have plenty of things to peck. You can also place the chicken house in a shaded place. It is advisable to keep the chicken run away from muddy environments. This will help prevent diseases that can harm your flock and will also make cleaning and maintenance easier.
3. Determine your budget
Your budget is a huge factor in choosing a suitable chicken run. The key is to invest wisely in the construction of your chicken run. Take note of all the expenses and costs so that you will not go overboard with your project.
You can either buy a newly constructed run or, if you are working on a tight budget, one that is made from reused materials. Just make sure that it is sturdy enough for long-term use.
4. Protection from predators
It is also important to consider the safety and protection of your chickens from predators. There could be rats, foxes, racoons, weasels, badgers, hawks, eagles, or even bears that could be lurking around.
The most basic option is to put chicken wire. However, this was proven to be less effective. There are other options to consider, though. You can go for a non-electrified chicken run fence.
A chicken run can be fenced and wired for added protection. An electric poultry net is another great solution to keep predators at bay. This option is highly flexible should you need further adjustments with your chicken run.