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Chicken Care 101: Why Chicken Owners Need a Well-designed Chicken Run

by Dakota Storage Buildings, on December 28, 2023

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Raising chickens on a homestead is filled with early morning clucks, the satisfaction of collecting fresh eggs, and the joy of watching your flock thrive under your care. But the success hinges on the details — in this case, ensuring your chickens are safe, healthy, and happy. That is where the chicken run comes into play. For many chicken owners, especially those on smaller plots of land or in areas with numerous predators, a chicken run is not just a luxury; it is a necessity. A chicken run is a secure area where your chickens can roam freely without the threats that come with being entirely free-range. 

As you delve deeper into chicken care while reading this blog, we will unpack the nuanced choices you face as a chicken owner. From weighing the freedoms of free-ranging against the safety of a run, to selecting the right type of enclosure for your flock, we will explore all aspects of chicken runs. Our goal is to arm you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions that will keep your flock flourishing.

Homestead Haven: Why Every Chicken Deserves a Quality Run

When you welcome chickens into your life, you are not just bringing in pets or livestock; you are contributing to your self-sufficiency and embracing a more sustainable lifestyle. A chicken run is the middle ground between total confinement and absolute freedom. It provides your chickens with the opportunity to engage in their natural behaviors while mitigating the risks that come with total free-range living. The chicken coop with a run is the safeguard, the protector, and the playground for your flock, and here is why it should be a cornerstone of your homestead.

Your chickens need the sun on their feathers and the earth under their feet. A chicken run offers them the joys of nature while serving as a defense against the threats of the outside world. You are creating a controlled environment where your chickens can scratch, peck, and forage as if they were in the wild, with none of the associated dangers. Predators are not the only threat to a free-ranging chicken. Disease, toxic plants, and pesticides used in neighboring gardens can all pose risks to your flock's health. A chicken run can be a controlled sanctuary that keeps hazards at bay, ensuring that your chickens are foraging in a safe area.

Efficiency is the name of the game in homesteading, and a chicken run contributes to this by making your chickens easier to manage. It streamlines your routine, from feeding to egg collection to monitoring the health and well-being of your flock. A well-designed chicken run is like a well-oiled machine, making daily chores quicker and easier, so you can spend more time enjoying the fruits of your labor. A chicken run is much more than just a fenced-in area — it is a multifaceted solution to a range of challenges that come with raising chickens. It supports your goal of creating a sustainable, safe, and happy homestead. 

Maximizing Safety and Productivity on Your Homestead With a Chicken Run

When it comes to homesteading with chickens, the advantages of establishing a chicken run are numerous, influencing not just the birds' quality of life but also the overall productivity and ease of managing your flock. Let’s dig a little deeper into the key benefits.

Enhanced Safety from Predators

One of the most compelling reasons to invest in a chicken run is the level of protection it affords your flock. Predators are opportunistic and can come from the sky, the ground, or even underground. A well-constructed run with appropriate fencing, a secure top, and even buried barriers can deter hawks, foxes, raccoons, and other common threats. This protection is crucial, especially during the dusk and dawn hours when predators are most active and chickens are at their most vulnerable.

Shelter from Harsh Weather

A chicken run can provide a shield against extreme weather conditions. When the skies open up and the rain pours down, or when the winds howl and the temperature drops, your chickens can take refuge in the sheltered areas of their run. This cover can help prevent illness and stress in your flock, ensuring they stay as comfortable as they are safe.

Simplified Egg Collection

For those raising chickens for eggs, a run can make collecting them far simpler. Chickens in a run will typically lay their eggs in designated areas, like nesting boxes,  often within the safety and privacy of the coop. This predictability means less time spent hunting for eggs and fewer losses to breakage or predation.

Finding the Right Fencing for Your Flock

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Selecting the right fencing for your chicken run is critical to the safety and well-being of your flock. The market offers various materials and styles, each with its unique benefits and considerations. Here is a closer look at some excellent fencing options that could be suited to your chicken run.

Chicken Wire

Chicken wire is the traditional go-to for many poultry keepers. It is lightweight and its iconic hexagonal pattern is synonymous with chicken keeping. But its true value lies in its versatility. You can use chicken wire to create a chicken run of almost any shape and size. It is particularly useful for creating domed or arched tops on runs to deter climbing predators and prevent your chickens from flying out.

However, chicken wire is not as sturdy against determined predators. While it is excellent for keeping chickens in, it is not always the best at keeping larger predators out. Regular inspections are necessary to ensure there are no breaches, and it is often recommended to reinforce chicken wire with a more robust fencing material or electric fencing if predators are a significant concern.

Poultry Netting

Poultry netting, often known as plastic chicken wire, is a highly durable and maintenance-free fencing option ideal for chicken enclosures. Its plastic construction ensures that it will not rust or break as metal wires do, making it a lasting solution that withstands various weather conditions. It is lightweight for easy installation and available in different mesh sizes to cater to the specific needs of both young and adult chickens while also offering flexibility in run design.

The practicality of poultry netting extends to its aesthetic versatility, with options available in various colors to blend seamlessly with your property or add a decorative flair. All these factors make poultry netting a smart, versatile choice for those looking to create a secure, visually pleasing space for their flock without the hassle of constant upkeep.

Welded Wire

Welded wire is arguably the most secure option for a stationary chicken run. It is made of sturdy wire welded at every joint and comes in various gauges and sizes of mesh openings. The smaller mesh sizes are ideal for keeping out small predators like weasels and even snakes, which can be a threat to chicks or eggs.

While welded wire is more expensive and heavier than chicken wire, its durability means it is a long-term investment in your chickens' security. It requires less maintenance once installed and can withstand the efforts of predators that would easily tear through lighter materials.


Chain-link fencing is one of the most durable and long-lasting options available. It is made from galvanized or coated steel wire woven into a diamond pattern that can stand up to all sorts of wear and tear. This type of fencing is suitable for large, permanent chicken runs where security is a priority.

Chain-link can be costly and requires a more involved installation, including setting posts and stretching the fencing, but it is a once-and-done solution that provides peace of mind. Its robust nature also means that, in addition to keeping predators out, it can stand up to larger birds like turkeys if they are part of your flock.

Coops that Cater to Every Chicken's Needs

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In the realm of chicken care, the coop is more than just shelter — it is a central hub for your flock's daily activities. At Dakota Storage Buildings, we offer many coop options that include an attached run, each meticulously designed to accommodate different flock sizes and behaviors. When choosing the right coop, prioritizing quality materials is crucial. The structural integrity of the coop must be robust enough to withstand the elements and deter predators, ensuring your chickens’ safety and well-being at all times.

Aesthetically, coops can range from the rustic charm of Quaker gable roofs to the simplicity of the traditional barn style, allowing you to select a design that complements your home and landscape. The coop should be equipped with features that promote your chickens’ health and egg-laying efficiency, like ample nesting boxes for privacy and comfort, as well as roosting bars positioned at the proper height for a natural perching experience. The inclusion of predator-resistant latches and a design that facilitates easy cleaning are additional factors that contribute to the overall suitability of a coop.

When considering a coop with an enclosed run, think about the space and enrichment opportunities it provides for your flock. The run must offer enough room for chickens to forage, dust bathe, and move around freely, which are essential behaviors for their physical and mental health. Some coops even come with customizable options, such as detachable runs or convertible features that allow you to adapt the space as your flock grows or as seasons change.

Selecting a coop is not just about finding a place for your chickens to reside; it is about investing in a habitat that will enhance their quality of life. Opt for a coop-and-run combination that does not just meet the basic needs but goes beyond to provide a sanctuary for your birds. Your chickens are an investment in sustainable living, and the coop you choose should reflect your commitment to their care and productivity. With the right coop, your flock will thrive, and you will enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have provided them with a secure and nurturing home.

Secure Your Flock with a Chicken Coop and Run

A chicken coop and run is not just a luxury but a necessity for any serious chicken owner. A well-designed chicken run is not just a piece of your backyard; it is a hub of life, activity, and productivity. It is where the health and happiness of your chickens are nurtured, and it reflects your dedication as a flock manager. Your chickens' happiness, health, and security are paramount, and a well-designed chicken run is the cornerstone of these essentials. For more detailed guidance on chicken care, download our free guide, “The Beginner’s Guide to Getting Backyard Chickens.” Here's to the joys of raising chickens, with the peace of mind that comes from knowing they're well-cared for every step of the way.

Download Beginner's Guide to Getting Backyard Chickens

Topics:Backyard Chickens

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