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Chicken Run Questions

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Right, I have viewed the sticky with all of the lovely chicken runs and am inspired :) . I have identified a space in my narrow garden which measures approx 3 x 2 metres and wondered if this will be big enough for a permanent run for my four girls, who currently 'own' my garden :wink: . The plot is also next to my fruit tree area which is 4 x 2 metres and can be screened off as additional run space with gated access for humans and chickens. I intend to cover the main run and have the Eglu elevated for maximum floor space.


Now the questions. Is this enough space for my chickens? How does it compare with your run floor space? What materials should I use, size of wood etc? (theres a Wickes at the end of my road so no problem with supplies). What should I add to the soil on the floor and should this be removed periodically for compost etc? And, how do you get over the guilt of having agitated chicken faces looking at you through the run, when they want to be in the garden?! :D





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Hi CharlotteChicken


According to the (I think) EU regulations that I found online, the minimum run space for free-range chickens is 1 sq m per bird, so 6 sq m between 4 is certainly adequate. And if you add the 8 sq m of mini-orchard, even on a part-time basis, that should be plenty for them.


I don't have any experience to offer re building runs, as sadly our garden is too small to accommodate anything bigger than a regular eglu run - at least, it is if we want to continue using the garden for other things like growing salad and having BBQs!

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I have a wood,ga,vanised mesh run 12ft by 9ft approx (and over 6 ft high at the apex of the roof) for my two hens ( a bi9t excessive i know but I am planning to add a couple more.. :oops: ). The eglu is stapled to the mesh and is accessible form the outside for cleaning/egg collection (as per an early version Superkate had) The wooden frame of the run is resting on a layer of bricks and the bricks are on bare soil. The bricks help to prevent the wood frame from rotting as the rain can drain off between and over the bricks.


From the bottom of the wooden frame we have stapled a piece of the same type of mesh as above around 12 inches wide and this comes down under the bricks and is buried under them, comeing outside the run and is then buried under thick gravel. Gravel surrounds the run area. This extra mesh is against possible digging in by rats/foxes. Luckily we haven't seen signs of or heard either.



My chickens are on bare soil and I wash this once a week with a hose to break up and dissolve any poos. I do this when the girls are out in the garden. I find this keeps it 'clean' and there are no smells. Once it is drained ( wehave clay soil) the next day I dig it all over and this makes nice new soil to scratch about in and dustbathe in until the next time. I like to dig over the soil in their run anyway as they can find worms to eat. Just picking up the garden fork is met with squeals of excitement!


I do still let mine out in the garden to rummage about in the borders and to eat grass- sometimes for most of the day and sometimes for an hour and sometimes they are in their run all day. So it varies. I ignore complaints on the basis that I know best rather than them and they don;t pursue their grievances :lol::lol:



Thye have three large clay flower pots that are big enough for them both to sit in together and these have a few inches of soil in them mixed with oystershell and diatom to pick around in. Or to sunbathe in! These pots are in the half of the run that has a roof over it to keep the soil dry all the time for dustathing if the rest of the run gets wet in any rain .They have three large shrubs in pots for shade and interest (with large stones covering the gravel topped soil!) . An old piece of coppice fencing to shelter their food and water feeders from any sun in the afternoon as it moves round over their run - and to perch on. And they have a mezzanine :roll::roll: in one corner that they can access by flying up or by ladder and I give them any snacks there but they also like this for shaded preenings and snoozes during the summer and warm spring/autumn day equivalents depending on the time of day and where the sun is.


so they are very spoiled really and know no different :D



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Hi Maxhen


Thank you for your reply, your run sounds superb :D . I will definitely be using some of your ideas as well :wink: . I like the idea of the mesh going into the ground, although we do not get many foxes around here (and I have never had one in the garden up to now), they have been spotted, and we do have occasional ratty visitors due to lots of takeaways in the vicinity. Clever idea with the partial roof as well! Your ideas will keep me going for ages :D:D:D



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