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run extensions, and other things

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Hello all.....


my two girls are in a regular eglu at the mo, they do come out each day, some days for longer than otthers depending on te weather and whether I am in the garden. Thay are not out routinely because of foxes - I have actually seen one looking at them, which they shouted at and made go away, do there are no illusions that they are actually there.


However I feel guilty about not leting them out more because they clearly love being out in the garden.


What would others do? These are the options:

a) let them out anyway and accept the fox risk (if i did not clip them, would they stand a better chance of escape? I am not keen on this option, but is a potentially shorter, happier life preferable to a longer, less happy one?

b) get an extension, in which case their run would be more stationary, and they wouldn't get so much benefit of the weeds growing uo, but more room to run around

c) keep as I am, moving the run reguolarly and letting them out when I can?


Thank you, fellow hen enthusiasts, for your comments!

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Hi Madhen,


Definately opiton 3!!


Never under-estimate the fox. They will take your girls at every opportunity, so if you have the smallest doubt about letting them out when you aren't around, then don't do it. If the chance is there, the fox will take it.


The hens will be absoloutly fine in the run fulltime, so the free-range time you do give them is a bonus. They are very good at doing the pacing thing in the run to make you feel guilty, but they really are fine. You could try giving them something to do if you are worried they might be bored.


We've got a small cage that we shove 'greens' in and hang up for them to pick at. We've put a perch in the run and a log, and have bits of food hanging down. Corn on the cob will keep them occupied and you can buy a ball that you fill with food that they can nudge about to release it.


Most of us have our eglu's on a permanent site, with wood chip or hemcore inside the run. It saves on the grass and the trouble of lugging the Eglu about the garden. Have a look in the gallery to give yourself some ideas.


If you are still concerned, then a run extention is always an option, as you've already said.


Done worry about the hens being in the run. they really are fine, and you do let them out to free-range too.



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If I knew there were foxes around I certainly wouldn't chance letting my girls out unsupervised.


I am sure they will be fine in the standard run - others keep theirs in permanently with no ill effects. I do feel bad when I have to shut mine in because they are lucky enough to free-range most of the time but (if they don't know I am looking) they accept it.


If you do get an extension and end up keeping everything in one place you might like to think about getting some hemcore/aubiose for them to scratch around in - there are lots of threads about this.

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I'd go for the permanent run with an extension. It works well for my girls. There is usually one day a week when they can't play out, and they are quite happy about it.


Lob half a cabbage into the run for them to peck at if you think they'll get bored.


They'll be fine.


If the fox knows they are there, he'll be back!

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Agree - (2) or (3) but definitely not (1)! I'm in the same position, have seen the fox hanging around their run, ad can't risk leaving them for a moment.


Firstly, don't forget the Eglu and run are DESIGNED for two hens; we'd all like them to have more free-range, but there is actually enough room for them there. They are all very good at impersonating neurotic polar bears at the zoo, but actually if you observe from a distance, they spend most of their time pecking about quite happily!


I've got a converter, and although I bought the extension, I haven't actually added it yet - the converter on its own makes a huge difference, adding another third in length. I really recommend it, if you are going to keep the run in one place. You can still move it around with the converter, but it would be more difficult!


Because of the fox risk, and working full-time, mine only free-range in the evenings and weekends; and in winter that is going to be a lot less because of the shorter hours. I'm confident that they are fine with this, though - and there really isn't a choice; not with the fox around.

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Lob half a cabbage into the run for them to peck at if you think they'll get bored.



Your phrases always makes me laugh Eglutine! I can just see your hens now...


'......she's coming up the path with half a cabbage again...run and take cover quick!!!'



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They do make us feel guilty dont they!! :D


My 2 did, and I was forced by them to buy the extension as we go away some weekends in our caravan and I didnt like leaving them in the smaller run.


Some peoples hen's are confined to the run all the time, so do not worry about your chooks. If you can stretch to it, buy the extension and that will make you feel better, but I wouldnt recommend allowing them to free range without supervision with a foxy problem. Im sure your chickens would be much happier scurrying around in a secure run rather than running from the jaws of death from Mr Fox !! :lol:


Just letting them out as and when you can is fine, if you compare our hens on the forum to the life of a normal hen - they live the life of luxury !! :D

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well thank you everyone, certainly generated a lot of info... so releived to hear I am not stunting my hens emotional development, will think about the extension when finances permit! (And lob in half a cabbage....)





It's so nice to laugh outloud at you lot!

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Mine seem to really hate being shut back in their run after they've been out, but are fine when in it - they just wander about pecking the grass and kicking the floor, standing in the glug etc, and actually spend a lot of time in a huddle sat on the floor. I think they like making me feel guilty.

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