Give your Hens more space by having a safe and secure Run
Keeping your Chickens safe from Predators and stopping them from escaping their Coop when they shouldn't is paramount, so when considering the type of set up you are getting, the Run or Fencing is just as important as the coop itself.
There are many people who, like me, started keeping Chickens in their back garden with buying an Ark or maybe an integrated Coop with the House and Run attached.
Invariably, also like me, they have decided upon keeping more Chickens or after a while want to give them a bit more space for them to rummage around in during the day and this usually ends up with either a completely new Coop or at least, an extended Run.
Keeping Hens isn't a chore, but we are human and like to make things a bit easier for yourself if possible and where we sometimes make the mistake is attaching a Run which is either too small or not high enough to make cleaning out a lot easier.
Remember most will first take up Chicken keeping during the Spring or Summer month's and the mud mixed up with Poo when Winter come's around is quite an eye opener (and a nasal one!).
There are many benefits of having a Coop high enough to get into without bending down; the Cleaning out as we've said, a sense of more space for the Chickens and even the probability of having sufficient room to store a few of the Chicken's needs.
Shelter for the Chicken Run
The two favourite covers for Run's are a Tarpaulin or Corrugated Plastic Roofing. Both of these will suffice well, but each have things about them whichyou have to bear in mind
This of course is ideal and with guttering can be used to channel water down into a Drinking Container. One has to remember that these are fixed so therefore a bit of a palava to remove if need be.
Depending on space, I would tend not to cover the whole area. Like most pets, you can give them nice clean water in a nice clean container, but they'd much rather drink from a muddy puddle! Also, a bit of rain on the soil won't do any harm and will help the chickens to peck away at anything which may have been moved to the surface.
Saying that, if the roof is quite high, rain will still get in with a gentle breeze behind it.
Certainly, the 'finished product' is very tidy.
A very fine example of roofing by Caznchooks - Great use of given space!
These are ideal, especially in Spring and Autumn when the weather is unpredictable, you can move them on and off at your convenience. The obvious thing you need to watch out for of course are high winds!
Whatever the roof is, it's also adding to the protection of your Chickens; it will keep unwanted birds out of the Pen and of course, our old friend Freddie Fox!
Please don't think in any way I'm saying you must have a Run and I respect that not all garden's are a size to take one, but rather than maybe allowing them to free range with the possibility of losing one, this is a good idea, especially if you're out all day. Just ensure the bottoms are either sunk into the ground at least 10" or you have slabs around the sides to stop digging, both out and in!
Forum Member's Coops and Run Photo's - hundreds of photographs showing what and how it can be done!