Advice for run structure please!

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bozza
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Advice for run structure please!

Post by bozza »

Hi, I’m a very excited Chicken newbie and need some advice from experienced chicken owners please. I’m planning on having my hens in a large run in my garden next spring. I have seen runs that have metal poles as the supporting structure and also runs that have wooden supports. I plan on having an apex roof which will be covered too. There are so many decisions to make and although I have done loads of reading on here and other sites I’m still quite unsure as to whether to go for wooden supports or metal? Has anyone had experience of both and favours one over the other? I have looked at a couple of websites supplying both kinds and the costs certainly add up in both cases so I really want to get my decision right at the planning stage!! Any advice gratefully received, lovely chicken folk!! Thanks!
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Marigold
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Re: Advice for run structure please!

Post by Marigold »

Hi Bozza and welcome to the forum.
One advantage of using a home-made wooden structure is that you can make it to the exact dimensions to fit your maximum space. Also, with wood you can easily attach extras such as clear plastic tarps to keep out the worst of the winter wind and snow, or long high perches under the roof, which the hens will probably choose to roost on, ignoring your coop, especially in hot weather! Furthermore, you can make it truly fox proof and vermin- proof if you line the floor with 1/2" galvanised mesh and join this to the mesh on the sides. Fixing roof panels is also easy on a wooden framework. We used 3"X3" supports for the main uprights, tanalised timber with the ends pre-soaked in preservative before concreting in to holes 15" deep. If you are able to supply the skills and the labour, you'll finish up with a much better run for the price of a pre-made metal one. Ours is still as good as when we made it ten years ago, and if I give up keeping chickens it could be used as a fruit cage, or we could fill in the sides and make a large shed. Of course if the choice is between ready-made wood or metal, then wood will probably be more expensive if of good quality, and might need more work to erect. It really depends on how much you can do for yourself.

Good idea to have a roof, but with an apex design you'll need two gutters, whereas with a simple slope you can get away with one. The gutter is needed to prevent rain blowing in under the edge of the roof in wet windy conditions and making the inside of the run wet and unprotected, so just one gutter, on the most accessible side, is best so you can easily clear out leaves etc.
bigyetiman
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Re: Advice for run structure please!

Post by bigyetiman »

Hi Bozza and welcome.
We inherited a home made wooden structure when we moved here 12 years ago which has stood the test of time. It did need re roofing in places so we replaced that with a sloping roof. We added an extension at one end when we got "morehens disease" and just made a door through which was a simple case of just cutting the mesh. Ideal when we have newbies to gradually introduce to older hens. As marigold says the mesh is ideal fox/rodent proofing and it is easy to attach a wind proof tarpaulin to the wood in the winter.
Do let us know what you decide and let us know about the hens you get.
Not to mention when "morehens disease" strikes it happens to an awful lot of us :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Marigold
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Re: Advice for run structure please!

Post by Marigold »

Bozza is wanting to reply but has messaged me to say he's unable to do so because his account has been blocked. I've asked Tim if he can sort it out. Some kind of mistaken failure to recognise his details, I expect the software thinks he's a spammer, which is obviously not the case. Hang on in there, Bozza, we hope you're back online with us soon!
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bozza
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Re: Advice for run structure please!

Post by bozza »

So, this is me trying again in hope that I can reply! Thanks so much to you Marigold for pursuing my issue. I kind of glaze over when things get too technical but I was very frustrated at not being able to respond to your message and advice. Bigyetiman, I have just laughed out loud at your ‘more hens disease’!! I feel it coming on with me and I don’t have any at all yet! I will keep you posted as to my progress as things get moving and assuming this site allows my IP address to keep posting!
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Marigold
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Re: Advice for run structure please!

Post by Marigold »

Hooray, Bozza, you're back! So sorry the software suspected you of dastardly intentions. I expect all will be well now you've managed to post this. We're looking forward to hearing your plans. Meanwhile, do join us in the dustbath, we're a crazy lot on here and in fact we do occasionally talk about chickens, I promise you!
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bozza
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Re: Advice for run structure please!

Post by bozza »

Yes, I‘m back! It’s my taken me a (very busy!) month to get my act together and finally get sorted! So, in response to your advice, I must confess that neither me or my other half are very keen/savvy when it comes to diy, so for us to build a run from scratch (especially the way I want it) is a definite no-no!! We don’t know one end of a saw from the other and it would probably result in divorce to be honest!! I have been looking at the runs you can buy from Jim Vyse. These come flat packed with everything I had in mind for my run (A-frame, tantalised timber, onduline type roof and guttering). They are costly and I am prepared for that but I would rather buy something decent and do everything as well as I can at the outset to avoid having to remedy issues like rats, mud bogs etc once the hens are in situ. I am planning to dig down and lay permeable membrane/welded mesh and have got someone coming to grind down some old tree stumps so I can get this started. I will start to take some pictures to chart my progress (and hard work!!) so I will keep you posted as to how I get on. I will undoubtedly be needing loads of advice along the way so apologies in advance!!!
Margaid
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Re: Advice for run structure please!

Post by Margaid »

They look good on the website and if you don't have the skills then you don't have them. Neither do I and I expect you're very good at something else!
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Marigold
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Re: Advice for run structure please!

Post by Marigold »

jim Vise is an excellent small company, located about 2 miles from where i live, so i know he's genuine and will do a good job, using proper wood, not like some of the cheapo Chinese imports on sale on the internet. Where do you live? If visiting anywhere near Whitchurch Hants, do call in for a coffee and meet my girls (Of course this invitation goes for anyone else coming this way!)

Now, how big a space do you have, relative to how many chickens you hope to keep (allowing for Morehens Disease, of course.) We recommend allowing a minimum of 2 sq. metres of run floor space per bird. This is more important in small runs, less than 6 sq.metres, because quite a lot of space is taken up by the coop itself, the feeder and drinker and dustbath, and in a run which is too small there's nowhere for a hen to hide and bullying and boredom is more common. The tiny runs commonly sold with attached coops are totally useless because you can't keep the number of birds that the coop allows, in the run size provided, without severe overcrowding. A separate free standing coop is much better if possible, and then you have the choice of a wooden coop or a plastic one. Also, you'll need enough floor space to be able to screen off part of the run when introducing new birds, or when separating a sick or injured bird, or when helping a hen to get over being broody and spending all day in the nestbox.
It's also a good idea to start small, ie with maybe 3-4 hens in a 10-12 sq. metre run, rather than filling it to capacity. This gives you the chance to get some new ones maybe after about two years, or after one or two have died, when the first lot will still be laying but less often, and you'll be fond of them and probably won't want to clear out the lot and totally replace them. Don't get less than three, because when the first one dies you'll then be left with two, rather than with just one lonely hen, and can then get another two rather than just one, as it's difficult to integrate a single bird, and also difficult to add a new pair to an existing older singleton who thinks she owns the territory.
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Marigold
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Re: Advice for run structure please!

Post by Marigold »

P.S. Is this the link? which one are you looking at? they look good.
https://www.jimvysearks.co.uk/product-c ... nclosures/
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