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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently got 10 ameraucana chicks. We built a very secure coop for them in the barn, but I still need to build a run for them. I am wondering what materials you would recommend using. We have raccoons around that can be very viscous, I've seen them manage to kill a mother cat and kittens housed in a closed in area under the stairs, there was room for them to be out of reach but somehow the raccoons reached through the mesh and got ahold of them and it was only on one side, the rest had no access. (This was at the inlaws). There is also a coyote and hawks around. The coyote has come right into our yard to eat pears from our tree! I was considering converting a dog run that is enclosed from above, I've seen used ones available that are quite large but I am not sure this would be secure enough. I am aware I will have to secure against burrowing as well. My plan is to secure the run to the barn and convert one of the windows to a chicken entrance. I am also planning on keeping at least one rooster (chicks are straight run) Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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First, will they be closed in to their secure coop every night? If they are then just about anything with a top will work.

I sold my breeding flock more than a year back and kept my oldies, moved to a new place with no coop so I bought one of those dog pens. Its worked very well. What a local recommended and I followed through on was running a couple of strands hot wire near the ground. Its been nearly a year and all is well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, they will be able to go back and forth between the run and coop (coop is in the barn) through the window I am planning to turn into access for the hens. I liked the idea of using a dog run/pen as it looked like a simple solution and would proved me easy access to the run as well. I just wasn't sure if it would hold up to those crafty predators. Is hot wire like electric fencing?
 

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Yes, hot wire is the same as electric fencing. It stands a few inches off the pen itself which prevents tunneling and prevents climbing.

I don't know what breeds you have but the window idea might not be a good idea as they get older. The heavier large fowl birds rarely do much in the way of taking flight once they reach a certain age.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the feedback. I was going to build a ramp for them. The barn wall is cement about 3'-4' up, so I figured the window is already in place and I've seen people use ramps a lot in coops so i thought it should work.
 

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I wasn't even considering a ramp. Having Silkies and having to consider their limitations about most things elevated I forget about the use of ramps.

How high off the ground is your window? I need to go out and measure my pen. OK, I'm back. I don't know if you can get taller ones but mine is only about five and a half feet tall. Since your foundation of your barn is so high that may mean the window is quite a ways above the top of the pen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The window is around 4-4.5' above the ground. It is just a few inches above the foundation. So I think I can make a ramp that will work.
 

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I wasn't thinking about the ramp, it was whether or not the window was low enough to be within the pen. You might have to build something above the pen to make it higher to encompass the window. Or close off the upper half of the window.
 
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