ADVICE requested re size of chicken run

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Sue
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ADVICE requested re size of chicken run

Post by Sue » Tue Feb 01, 2011 1:03 pm

I have a chicken house with attached run being delivered in early March and also have 6 hens ordered to be collected the following week. I am starting to worry that the run is not large enough for the 6 girls, as there seems to be so many different opinions on the area required etc. My hen house is 3' x 3'6" and the attached run is 14 and a half feet long x 6' wide by 5'8" high. It is a covered run, with onduline roofing. The hens I have ordered are one of each of the following - double laced barnevelder, copper blue maran, buff sussex, speckled sussex, silver laced wyandotte and a crested cream legbar. They will spend most of the time in the run on hardwood chips, but will be able to wander around in the garden about 2-3 times per week for a couple of hours each time. I have done a lot of research and thought I had made the right decision on the house and run and choice of hens, but am now worried that I haven't given them enough space or will be having too many hens. Any opinions would be gratefully received.
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darkbrowneggs
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Re: ADVICE requested re size of chicken run

Post by darkbrowneggs » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:23 pm

Its not massive, but they will be ok especially if they get to go out on odd times. And they will be better off than if they were in a cage somewhere. See how you get on and you can always extend it later, or possibly move a couple of the hens on if you feel they are a bit crowded. And its probably better to get them all together at one time, than want another couple then have to introduce them later which can lead to territorial squabbles or even worse fights

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Sue
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Re: ADVICE requested re size of chicken run

Post by Sue » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:07 pm

Thank you for your reply. Following on from there, what would your ideal size of run be for 6 birds, or the other way around, how many birds would this size run be suitable for?
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Re: ADVICE requested re size of chicken run

Post by bantiekeeper » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:58 pm

Agree with darkbrowneggs you should be ok. Especially as you intend to let them free range quite frequently.
I keep 6 Wyandotte bantams in a run 8' x 8' x 6'6"high. Their coop is about 3' square and 3' high. They get to free range for at least 2 hours every day. Just caught one inthe greenhouse stealing what was left of their sunflower seeds from the pot! Also have a colleague on the plots who keeps 4 large fowl in a run 6' x 9' and again they free range every day.
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darkbrowneggs
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Re: ADVICE requested re size of chicken run

Post by darkbrowneggs » Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:12 pm

I would prefer my birds to be totally free range, but the fox visits during the day sometimes, so unless someone is working nearby they stay inside their electric fence.

Mind you they are spoilt as I measured their protected area the other day and worked out there is well over half an acre, probably nearer three-quarters of an acre within the fence for around 35 birds, including growers. Plus when the weather was bad this last winter they had access to the barn which is 30 x 60 ft. :D

As a visitor said. - I could move in here myself :D :D

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Sue
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Re: ADVICE requested re size of chicken run

Post by Sue » Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:38 pm

That's great if you have that much room, but I only have a back garden unfortunately and want to keep some of it chicken free for my dogs. There must be a lot of people who keep hens and who have even smaller areas that me! A country garden surrounded by electric fencing would not be a pretty site and there would be no room for the humans to enjoy. Is there anyone else out there like me?
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Re: ADVICE requested re size of chicken run

Post by Lucylou » Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:55 pm

I think all the 'books' say that each chook needs 1mtr each so you're just about OK but from my experience its the ground that becomes the problem in an enclosed run as they poop all over it & are continually on the same ground.

Mine are enclosed (also due to Mr Fox) in quite a large area but I'm going to look into somesort of less permanent 'extension' for the days when we're on hand. I'm thinking of plastic fencing but will need a 'roof'- just don't trust the blasted fox!
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Re: ADVICE requested re size of chicken run

Post by ncotb » Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:11 am

Agree with bantiekeeper, your birds will be fine Sue :-)17 we keep ours in our back garden in runs, but they do get out for a stretch & they are happy :D

I would love to have a large area that mine can freerange but we cant afford any land & there arent any allotments in our village :evil: so do the best we can.
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Sue
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Re: ADVICE requested re size of chicken run

Post by Sue » Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:14 am

Thank you for all your comments, I think my hens will be fine in their run with regular free ranging in the garden. I'm going to use hardwood chips in the run, so they can be hosed down or changed as necessary and it will also be easier to collect the droppings on a daily basis and top up as necessary.
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