How much space for temporary run & general advice please

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kopperdrake

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Hi people,

We're preparing a home for three chooks this spring, already have a coop with space inside for 4 hens so figure they'll be happy in there, but I'd like to know how much space to give them in a covered run that will attach to the front of the coop. We both work from home so they'll have the run of the garden around the house for pretty much as long as they want during the day, and the run is only for when we need to pop out during the day (which isn't often at all). I'm assuming once sun sets they should be tucked up in bed so if we go out on an evening then they'll be put to bed first anyway?

Our coop is the house-style with a slide-out galvanised sheet floor under the two perch bars for cleaning, I was thinking of raising this off the ground by a couple of feet to give them space under to run/shelter, then extend this run out to as large as needed, covered with something suitable and rainproof (clear corrugated plastic?) as a roof. I'd like to be able to move the run and coop every other week to start them on fresh grass, though as I said, they'll very rarely be in the run anyway (unless I'm wrong in thinking they want to be out in all weathers? Would they want somewhere to shelter even if they free range - we do have various overhangs/wood stores they might shelter under if not in the run).

I guess my question is, how large should a run be if it's for temporary use and not their main place of stay, how tall must it be if I'm roofing it, what should I roof it with (would plastic get hot?).

I don't intend on getting physically into the run, rather I'll just lift the lid on it and step in (I can easily step over 1m if that's a decent size). I plan on using weldmesh all round the run and a 1ft skirt of weldmesh on the ground.

Sorry for the questions but I'd like to know what's best before I build something. I've heard all sorts for run sizes, from 5 sqft per bird to 9sqft per bird, and obviously I assume the more the better, but as I said, this is just a temporary run, the majority of the time they've got the run of the garden and various hidy holes.

Thanks for any pointers :)

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Aunt Sally

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How much space for temporary run & general advice please
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2009, 16:26 »
Weldmesh with a skirt sounds fine.  Allow 1 squ metre of run space for each hen.  They should be happy with that when they have to stay in  :D
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kopperdrake

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How much space for temporary run & general advice please
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2009, 16:30 »
Thanks Aunt Sally for the quick reply! Do they have a preference for  head height?

I'd like to say a general thanks too for yourself and the other friendly/nutty/knowledgeable people on this forum - I know I only have a few posts but I read it a lot and since last year have started a veggie patch, planted fruit trees, begun composting and collecting horse muck, and am now introducing chooks - it's been an amazing year learning stuff from you lot here, so again, thanks!

Ah - next thing is cheese making ;)

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Aunt Sally

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How much space for temporary run & general advice please
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2009, 16:38 »
Sorry I forgot to mention that.  I have an eglu and the run for that is about a metre high.  My girls are quite happy with that  :D

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Aunt Sally

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How much space for temporary run & general advice please
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2009, 16:40 »
kopperdrake why don't you pop up to the Welcome Froum and reintroduce yourself there and tell every one what you're up to now.

Not everyone comes to the Hen House - I've no idea why  :wink:

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kopperdrake

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How much space for temporary run & general advice please
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2009, 16:42 »
Me neither, it smells fresh enough to me ;)

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richyrich7

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How much space for temporary run & general advice please
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2009, 20:31 »
Make sure you can get the run off the top of that run if it's a metre high. mine's that height and it's so easy to lift off sections and walk in on cleaning out/digging over days  :D
He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.

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kopperdrake

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How much space for temporary run & general advice please
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2009, 15:36 »
Thanks richyrich - anything to make life easier is a good idea! I've sourced a good supplier of weld mesh near us today, well, he's advising I go for hex netting instead, same guage as weld mesh but reckons it lasts longer. £33+VAT for 3.5 feet x 50m on a roll - sounds decent value though I'll end up with shedloads spare!



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