Are you looking to give your feathered friends a bit more room to roam about? Installing a run on an existing chicken coop can be an easy and affordable way to achieve this.
Not only will it provide them with lots of space, but they’ll also get fresh air, sunshine and exercise while they explore outside the confines of their coop. In this blog post, we’ll share some tips on how to add on a chicken run plus let you know which runs fit best with certain coops.
What is a Chicken Run?
A chicken run, aka extension run, is an enclosed outdoor space for poultry to roam around in. It stops them from being able to wander too far away and also helps to keep out most predators.
It is typically made from a timber frame and has chicken wire mesh on the sides and roof. A chicken run can be used on its own freestanding or it can be attached onto an existing chicken coop for extra space.
Rabbits, guinea pigs and cats can use similar outdoor runs.
Do Chicken Coops Need a Run?
Chickens need space to move around. They enjoy scratching around in the dirt for insects, dust bathing, and exploring their environment. Chickens are incredibly intelligent animals that deserve to roam free.
Raising chickens confined to a small cage is not only illegal in many places, but it’s also cruel – and contrary to their natural instincts and behaviour.
A coop provides your chickens with a safe enclosed area to roost and nesting boxes to lay their eggs. But it usually isn’t big enough for them to stay inside full time.
This means you will need a chicken run for them to roam around in, joined onto your coop.
But Can’t They Be Free Range In The Backyard?
Some people say they don’t need a chicken run as they plan to wake up early every morning and let their flock out of the coop to free range in their backyard. Consider if this is a realistic goal – what if you sleep in late on the weekend? What if you go away on vacation?
Free ranging in your yard also does not offer protection from wily predators. A predator proof chicken run will deter predators, even when you can’t be home to watch your flock.
How Big Should Chicken Runs Be?
The size requirements of chicken runs depend on how many chickens you are planning to keep. It is generally recommended you provide each chicken with a minimum of 1 square metre of run space (approximately 10 square feet).
However, it is ideal to allow them more room. The more space you give them, the happier and healthier they will be! Each chicken will need enough space to stretch their wings and ample space to roam freely without running into each other.
Can You Add an Extension Run at a Later Date?
Many people purchase a chicken coop that is too small initially. Or they start with a small backyard flock but then buy more chickens and need room to expand. Luckily, it is easy to add an extension run onto an existing chicken coop. Some people will choose to build a chicken run from scratch themselves.
You could use recycled materials such as existing fence panels, old wire fencing, strong metal fencing material or old pallets. A DIY coop or run can be very time consuming and requires basic carpentry skill. Choosing a quality flatpack chicken run will save money, time and stress!
Somerzby offers a wide range of flatpack chicken runs that are easy to assemble using only a battery powered screwdriver.
How to Join a Chicken Run onto an Existing Coop
When you assemble your chicken run, leave out the panels from one end. It will then be open at one end. Slide this open end up against your chicken coop and screw it on. It you are unable to screw it on, you could use zip ties.
Ensure your coop and run are both on flat ground level. If your ground is uneven, you may need to build a timber frame to help flatten your area.
An added bonus of building a timber frame is that it can help anchor it to the ground and provide added stability.
Which Chicken Run Fits onto my Coop?
Somerzby chicken runs are designed to fit onto specific chicken coops. The below combinations will fit together easily without any complicated wood work:
Keep your flock safe in the Somerzby Mansion Run. It is over six feet long and suitable to fit onto a small coop. It has ample space for two – three hens.
Galvanised chicken wire to keep out small predators
3 doors for easy access
Stylish white stain on wooden posts to suit any backyard
4 side walls for added stability
Chicken keepers love the Somerzby Cabana Run for its long, narrow design. It is suitable for a small flock of four hens to roam around in.
Large door with strong chicken wire
Strong gate hinges and sliding latches
Frame made from sturdy wooden posts
Wire mesh roof to keep your chickens safe and keep out climbing predators
Give your flock plenty of room to move around in the Somerzby Large Run . It can be used as a freestanding chicken yard or connected onto a new coop.
Our largest chicken run – 3 metres long and 1.4 metres tall
Predator proof chicken run with strong chicken wire
Two doors for easy access
Could also be used to make your vegetable garden predator proof