What is a chicken run?
What is a chicken run? In short, it’s a confined space where your chickens spend time outside of their coop. But what makes a chicken run, how big they are, and what should be inside them varies widely between flock raisers. We’ll help you understand what a chicken run should consist of, where it should be placed, and why it’s an essential part of having hens.
Why hens need a run
Chicken runs are enclosures that are either attached to or surrounding your flock’s coop. Even keepers who choose to let their hens free range can benefit from a chicken run. They give your flock a designated, safe space outside of their coop. A good chicken run:
- Gives your hens space to forage and exercise
- Defends against predators
- Has a top to protect against the elements and aerial predator attacks
- Is roomy enough to accommodate the number of hens you keep
Not all chicken runs are created equally. The material, size, and arrangement of your chicken run will determine how well it serves your hens and you as their keeper.
What are chicken runs made of?
There are several different types of chicken runs available. Traditionally, chicken runs are made of wood and either chicken wire or hardware mesh, but the problem with these materials is that they deteriorate over time – leaving your flock vulnerable to chicken predators and the elements.
Heavy-duty welded wire chicken runs are a much better option. They can be attached directly to your chickens’ coop, or surround it as a standalone structure. All Omlet chicken runs are designed with anti-dig skirting that helps protect your flock from coyotes and other digging predators. The sturdy roof panels help prevent attacks from raccoons, who are notorious for climbing or forcing their way in.
Weather protection for chicken runs helps keep your hens dry and warm in the winter, and out of the sun in the summer. The ability to add these covers to the top of a chicken run is just one of the many benefits of having a fully enclosed chicken run. The angled roof panels of our chicken runs help prevent water and snow from accumulating on the run, which maintains the structural integrity of the welded wire.
The different types of chicken runs
There are several different types of chicken runs available. When deciding what type of chicken run to keep your flock in, it’s important to determine your chicken-keeping style. Does your flock free-range, or do they need to be kept in a designated space? Do you need to be able to move your flock frequently, or is a permanent structure more appealing?
The best option for most chicken keepers is a walk in chicken run. Walk in chicken runs:
- Allow you to spend time with your flock
- Offer easy access to feeders and waterers
- Make use of aerial space
- Are fully enclosed to protect hens from every angle
- Can connect directly to Omlet chicken coops
- Surround any type of hen house placed inside them
- Give plenty of space for flock activities
- Can be expanded to any dimension to grow with your flock
- Are ideal for flock raisers that have a permanent run location in mind
If you have a free-range flock, alternative options include:
Chicken tractors are mobile chicken coops with attached runs of up to 12 feet in length. This setup enables you to move your entire flock and their coop and run around your property. Our easy-to-use chicken coop wheels and handles make it possible for just one person to relocate their flock in seconds.
Chicken fencing is for the ultimate free-range feeling. With a variety of sizes and the option to attach to the side of a structure, you can create an area of any shape for your hens to roam freely. Removable fence poles allow you to adjust or move as needed, while the mesh fencing keeps your chickens where they should be.
How to choose a chicken run
Choosing a chicken run is almost as important as choosing your chickens’ coop itself. It should work for both you and your flock, and fit in with your space and lifestyle. When choosing a chicken run, consider:
- If you’ll need to move the run, or leave it in one place
- Potential expansion options
- Time needed to clean the run
- Longevity and functionality
Choosing an easy-to-clean, low-maintenance chicken run is the ideal option for most chicken keepers. Rot-free materials with customizable configurations are the perfect solution for flocks of all sizes.
Top reasons to choose a walk in chicken run
The largest of chicken runs, walk in runs, allow keepers to enter their flock’s area without having to bend over, and give full access so you can customize and clean their space. Walk in chicken runs are perfect for keepers that:
- Have dedicated space for a permanent run
- Need the ability to expand their chicken run
- Want to utilize space with customizable chicken perches or chicken toys
- Spend time with their flock
Our step-by-step how-to-build videos make assembling your walk in chicken run a breeze. And, even after it’s assembled, you can customize the space and layout of your run. Add walk in chicken run partitions to give depth to your run or raise different breeds of chickens, or to have designated dust bath, play, or enrichment areas of the run. Our walk in chicken run can be expanded anytime, to any size, so your imagination is the limit when it comes to creating the perfect chicken setup.
Reasons to choose a mobile run
Mobile chicken coops can be outfitted with chicken runs that can be moved along with the hen house. Our convenient wheels and handles make it possible for just one person to relocate the chicken coop and attached run as needed. Smaller yards or flocks can benefit from these types of runs, or those that free-range regularly.
Where to put your backyard hen run
The ideal location for your chicken run is a flat, somewhat shady spot of your property. Natural shade helps in the summertime when UV rays are at their most intense, but partial sun is ideal for sunning and for warming up in the winter. Avoid placing your chickens’ run under trees with low-hanging branches, or where it could be in danger of falling limbs. Level ground makes for easier cleaning and assembling of your chicken run, and will help keep the run bedding in place.
You’ll also want to choose a location that makes caring for your chickens convenient and accessible. Choose a place that your water hose can reach easily and that has plenty of room for you to store their feed in bins close by. A spot that’s easily observed from a window in your home may also be a good idea – most chicken keepers love to watch their hens peck and play.
Essentials for inside your run
The bare essentials in any chicken run are quality feed and constant access to fresh water, so you’ll need chicken feeders and drinkers inside the run. Beyond those two necessities, you can offer enriching elements like chicken peck toys or a Chicken Swing to give them physical and mental stimulation.
Chickens will make quick work of grass inside stationary chicken runs, so you’ll need to consider adding bedding to the run once they’ve eaten it down to the dirt. Untreated mulch or wood chips, straw, pelletized bedding, hemp, or other soft bedding is ideal. Some keepers also use gravel around the perimeter of the run to reduce bedding loss and the presence of mud.
What’s the difference between a chicken run & coop?
All chicken runs have a coop, but not all chicken coops have runs. A chicken coop is a house that your hens use to sleep and lay their eggs, or seek shelter inside during storms or other inclement weather. The run is the outside portion of your chickens’ setup where they spend the majority of their waking hours.
First-time chicken keepers benefit from having an all-in-one solution, such as the Eglu Cube. This spacious chicken coop can house up to 10 hens, and the attached run can be expanded to up to 12 feet long. A walk in chicken run can be added at a later time by either placing the coop inside the run, or by purchasing a kit to connect the attached run to the walk in run from the outside.
Pet care with Omlet
Protecting your flock is at the forefront of our designs. With our exclusive hen houses, chicken runs, and extreme temperature protection for chicken runs, you can be sure that your flock is being protected and kept comfortable by expertly engineered products that are designed to last a lifetime. Whether your flock free ranges or stays in a run, we’ve got the products to help make chicken-keeping an enjoyable and effortless experience that will bring you closer to your hens, however you house them.
This entry was posted in Chickens