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Chicken Run

Discussion in 'In the Garden' started by Al1234, 31 Aug 2018.

  1. Al1234

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    So my mother in law has just taken on an allotment, a very overgrown allotment, in amongst several more very overgrown allotments!

    Primarily she wants to keep chickens, just as well as her plot is dominated by a huge sycamore tree.

    She wants to build an enclosure for her chickens to have free run of, having done some research this is more about keeping predators out than the chickens in.

    Looking at an enclosure maybe 4m x 6m, fence will need to be around 6' tall, to stop foxes climbing it. Thinking of 4x4" posts, normally I would just postcrete these in but not sure if this would be the best way on the allotment, is there any other way of securing these?

    Plan is to have heavy duty mesh at the bottom, going 8" or so into the ground to prevent digging, then chicken/rabbit wire above that. Does that sound strong enough?

    Any advice/suggestions would be welcome
     
  2. JohnD

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    it won't
     
  3. Al1234

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    Most guides suggest that 6' should be enough however they do suggest if lower it can be managed by having the fence angled out or even electrifying the top wire, but I was hoping to avoid that. Do these methods work?

    These is a larger enclosure on the same allotment which doesn't have any additional measures other than a high fence.
     
  4. cwhaley

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    Our next door neighbour has 8 chickens in a walk-in run which is made from a wire-clad wooden frame. You enter it through a gate and everything is enclosed at the sides and by a wire roof on top. We have foxes and cubs every year and they have not managed to get to them.

    Anything that's open will - in my experience - make the chickens at risk from foxes. A 6' fence will not stop foxes getting in.
     
  5. nuzuki

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    I own 35 chickens and have them spread out accross 3 seperate runs. We have 2 metre high enclosures with meshed tops and meshed sides. Then welded square mesh from ground upto about a metre tall (double meshed basically). There is a 40cm deep concrete trench going all the way around and gravel board. Mesh has been sunk into the concrete. We havent had a problem with mr fox in 7years however other villagers have (one recently had 15 ducks taken). We do however have a dog and I would say thats the best deterrant of them all. I would find a local fencing company and use their treated wood. If the sycamore trees have low branches then they can be used as perches for the hens. Are you getting an auto door opener? We never bothered but if its on an allotment you might need too but then have a perch high up so if any hens miss closing time they can safely escape high up. Use smaller holed mesh so wild birds can steal the feed. Put feeders slightly off the ground as to deter rats somewhat. Setup some drainpipe to auto fill the water container after rain (washing up bowls make ideal drinkers)

    Hope that helps
     
  6. endecotp

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    Based on what my sister has, I’d say you need to go at least 50cm into the ground to stop rats digging in, possibly more, and you need a top to the cage, not just sides. And you need to pay attention to all the joins etc. so that there are no gaps, and immediately fix any problems.
     
  7. Al1234

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    Thanks for all the suggestions, leaning more towards suggesting a set up like this with a roof. It would still need stronger meshing around the bottom sinking into the ground. upload_2018-8-31_14-15-26.png
     
  8. JohnD

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    when they come up to a barrier, animals usually start digging at the base of the wall or fence. If you can turn the mesh outwards, and just put turf over it, they will meet it and be unable to dig under the barrier.
     
  9. scbk

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    If you want the run to be slightly less permanent, have a look as heras fencing.

    Round here, foxes are nothing, the real predator is pine martens.

    My hen run is 1" weldmesh top to bottom, corrugated tin roof, and ring of concrete slabs round the outside to stop digging
     
  10. sodthisforfun

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    How many chickens is she planning to keep? Recommended space is 4 square feet per bird for a happier bird I think. Your size run isn't very big imo. And it's not like your mum in law can let them roam free over an allotment. Hens can get quite vicious and attack each other.

    Other point to consider is to check she is allowed to keep birds. Not all allotments allow it anymore.

    And last of all, for animal welfare, your mum in law needs to be able to get to the allotment at least once a day to check on them, fresh water etc. More in the winter. Is she able to get there in the snow etc? Many allotments turn off the water in the winter to stop the water freezing, so there is that to consider. They will need a hen house too, for shelter. The roof in the picture isn't suitable shelter from very hot sun or the winter. :)
     
  11. Al1234

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    Thanks for the responses.

    It's only going to be a small affair, currently she has 3 birds and may go up to 6. They are currently in a hen house with a small run attached, this is the plan for the longer term to allow the birds more freedom. Looks like we are going for 6x4 meters so about 260sq ft.

    1 inch weldmesh is what I intend to use for the bottom and into the ground.

    This allotment appears to be a bit of an odd one, although it's council operated it only has 9 plots, one of which has never been cultivated in the 25 years the allotment has been there. The one she's just taken on has been unoccupied/not tended for at least 5 years. There are at least two other plots with chickens and even a couple of goats! Fortunately it's just over the road from her flat so access is not an issue.
     
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  12. ellal

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    We've kept chickens in our garden for quite a few years now...

    As well as putting galvanised mesh (13mm) underneath the run, we've laid (scrounged) paving slabs around the outside.

    We've been told a fox won't tunnel any further than from it's nose to the start of it's tail. No idea if that's true but we have plenty that come and stare but no attempt has ever been made!

    And having somewhere to walk out of the mud in winter is advantageous too!
     
  13. sodthisforfun

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    Beg your pardon, I misread your first post, thought it was 6X4ft. Sounds like they're in for a good amount of space then being meters :)
     
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