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Keeping chickens in a run permanently?

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Good morning all,

I was wondering if any of you keep your chickens in a run the majority of the time. If so, what size is your run and how many chickens?

We were considering building a run about 10' x 10' and wondering if this would be big enough. I also wonder if there are any breeds that are happier to be confined?

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Many of us here keep them confined most of the time. I have 5 bantams in a run of about 5 square meters. The general rule of thumb is at least 1 m2 per standard sized hen. Keeping in mind that more space is almost always better and some breeds don't do well being confined and need more space than the 1 m2 per hen. 

More flightier breeds like Leghorns or Cream Crested legbars probably need more space, but it's also down to the individual bird.

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Agree with @Cat tails. Our run is an L shape (imagine a 4.5m square with a 2m square taken from one corner), and when I did the maths that translates to a run of approximately 13.5' square (in fact, 16.25 sqM or 177 sq ft). We keep the Eglu Cube inside it and that houses 6 ISA Warren-sized birds and 2 Leghorns. The birds are only let out into the garden as a treat, and have obviously (given avian flu precautions and legislation) spent the past several months inside without respite. Given all that, I can say the girls are perfectly happy in that amount of space and crucially there is absolutely no sign of antisocial behaviour.

I would say, though, that we have a 6' long perch around 3' up from the ground and we regularly hang weeds or other garden waste on a cord from the ceiling. That means there's stuff for the girls to jump up for and places for them to jump onto. I believe that 3 dimensional approach reduces significantly any potential feeling of overcrowding the girls might otherwise have had.

Once again, doing the maths, our run works out at almost exactly 2 sq M or about 22.1 sq ft per bird, which is double the rule of thumb. Your suggested 10' x 10' run with 5 standard sized hens would give about the same ratio so the answer to your original question is that your plans could theoretically house up to 10 birds, but I would urge a smaller flock with more living room.

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2 minutes ago, majorbloodnock said:

Once again, doing the maths, our run works out at almost exactly 2 sq M or about 22.1 sq ft per bird, which is double the rule of thumb. Your suggested 10' x 10' run with 5 standard sized hens would give about the same ratio so the answer to your original question is that your plans could theoretically house up to 10 birds, but I would urge a smaller flock with more living room.

And also keep in mind that adding hens is always in two's so, you need to keep in mind that you need room to do that too.

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Thank you for your replies. We were thinking of three or four chickens, four being the maximum we would want so hopefully they would be happy in there if we add as much enrichment as possible. I was considering getting the Eglu go up as I thought that would give them a little more space underneath it.

The breeds I have been looking at are either hybrids or ginger nut rangers (think they have lots of different names) thanks for the tip about Leghorns I had read they were flighty and not good for confinement.

Now just need to start building the walk in run!

 

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I have a Go Up and although my 5 bantams fit fine, if funds allow it, you might want to consider the Cube. You would never be able to house more than 4 hens in a Go, but your run is large enough for more hens. 

When building your own walk in run, don't be tempted to use chickenwire. It's only good for keeping chickens in, but not foxes out.

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My Pekins are permanently in their run.

They have loads to play on - 4 wooden mushrooms, a huge log (from a tree we had cut down) 2 children's benches, a jungle gym (which they have used more since we took the roof off) plus some edges of where they used to have a leaf pit inside their run - it's full of woodchip now, along with the rest of their run.

 

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Ahh perkins are gorgeous! Cat tails thankyou for the advice about the cube but it's a bit beyond my budget at the moment. We have decided, due to the price of wood, to buy a metal walk in run instead. It will be slightly smaller at 9'10 x 9' so will probably opt for the Eglu Go Up and then three or four chickens,maybe hybrids I am not sure.

 

Perkins?! Auto correct fail! Pekins 

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See if you can have a chat with a local loft conversion company or fencing company; they often have old joists and fence posts to dispose of and just might let you have some.

We made our WIR entirely from reused wood, and the flexibility of being able to design the position and size of the various elements (doors, particularly) was absolutely invaluable. The only cost for us was some of the wire mesh and the electrification stuff, so if you can wangle that approach you might be able to put the savings towards the cost of the Cube. Just a thought.

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