Keeping chickens can be a fun and rewarding experience. If you are just starting out, you must have thousands of questions. One question that a lot of new chicken owners have is, Why a chicken coop and run? If you are tight on space, you probably think you can get away without one or both of these. But there are many factors to consider before trying the free-roaming methods. Let’s take a look.
What Is The Difference?
A chicken coop is a place for your chickens to go to nest and sleep at night. You can design these coops yourself, or find chicken coop and run plans online. They come in fabulous pre-fabricated styles, Amish built, or homemade. Your chicken’s coop will be their save haven from the summer heat and cold winter nights.
The run is a larger space where chickens can roam and forage for food. Make sure the run is completely enclosed and serves to protect your chickens during the day. The run is attached flush to the coop to keep your chickens in and predators out. You can think of this as an exercise area. It is where your chickens go to explore and stretch their wings. But if done correctly, they can also feel like an enrichment area to entertain your flock.
6 Reasons Why A Chicken Coop And Run?
So now that we see how these structures are separate, we can talk about the benefits of both. Below are all the wonderful reasons to have a chicken coop run in your backyard.
The main reason to have a chicken coop run is to protect them against predators. If you have known predators in the area, keeping your chickens secure is your primary concern. And predators can include anything from coyotes to neighborhood dogs and cats. Even if you might not have apparent predators in your area, there are other less obvious ones.
2. Keeps Them On Your Property
If you live in the suburbs, keeping chickens on your property can be difficult. They can quickly fly over fences and into neighboring yards. Or they could find themselves in dangerous streets. If you have a chicken coop run, it will keep all your chickens in your backyard. And if you build it large enough, they won’t feel like they are cramped.
3. Happier Neighbors
Keeping your chickens on your property will also result in happier neighbors. Chickens tend to tear up gardens and yards within a short amount of time. You don’t want to be responsible for replacing your neighbor’s prized roses. So keeping your hens in their coop and run will make your neighbors grateful for your thoughtfulness.
4. Protects Your Landscaping
So we know that keeping your chickens contained will help protect your neighbor’s landscape. That means that it will also protect your landscaping as well. If you have a beautiful chicken coop run, there is no reason that you can’t also have your dream garden. You can have your beautiful flowers or vegetable garden and not worry that your chickens will eat them all.
5. Natural Habits
Having a coop and run allows for your chickens to behave in instincts. They can move around freely and forage for bugs within the run while roosting and nesting within the coop. Without natural foraging, your chickens could miss out on vital nutrients. You can tell an egg from chickens with balanced diets because the yolk will be a vibrant orange color with a great taste.
6. Law Requirements
And finally, we come to our last reason why a chicken coop and run is necessary. Before deciding on free-roaming chickens, you need to check on your local laws. Some counties require that chickens be kept within a coop and run area. Some of these laws could be by your county or city, so you will want to check with both. And while you are looking, you will want to know their specifics on spacing and size.
As you can see, there are many benefits of keeping your chickens inside a coop and run set up. And there are not any cons to keeping your chickens in them. Anything you can think of that might be a con, could easily be modified to suit your needs better.
Can Chickens Spend All Day In Their Coops/Runs?
Yes, a chicken can spend all day in their coop and run. As long as you provide your chickens with enough space, they are perfectly happy without free-roaming. To give your chickens enough room, you will want at least 2-3 sqft per chicken in the coop. You will also need to have 8-10 sqft per chicken in your run, but bigger is always better.
How Can I Make It Homier?
Keeping your chickens in a cage might seem a little drab. You might want to spruce it up a little to make your chickens more comfortable. But we aren’t talking about buying curtains. We are talking about making the most of your space to enrich them with the resources they crave.
A Homier Coop
To spruce up your chicken coop, there are a few things to do after making sure that your coop is large enough and plenty of ventilation, creating a sleeping space comes next. Chickens don’t sleep in nesting boxes like they do in the cartoons. You will need to have perches for your chickens to roost on. Your roost should have at least 10 inches of space per chicken you have.
Next comes a few nesting boxes. Giving your chickens a nesting box with enough straw and high sides will make them feel safe. It also gives your chickens a lovely space to lay their precious eggs. Ideally, you will want one nesting box per 5 chickens as they will share.
And finally, you will want to have nice bedding to lay on the floor. Your bedding should be comfortable yet functional for your chickens. Most people choose between sand, pine shavings, or straw. Your chickens will scratch around and even play in the bedding, so it is essential to your coop.
A Homier Run
Making a run cozy is very self-explanatory. Chicken scaping is a real thing and should be considered. You can plant all sorts of herbs, grass, shrubs, and flowers just for your chickens. These plants can help keep your chickens safe and give them something to eat. They also bring in bugs and worms that your chickens will love to forage for. Landscaping your run will give your chickens the feel of free-ranging without the risk.
Can I Go Without A Coop?
While you might find some bloggers on the internet that have success with this, it’s not advised. Predators can come in at any time, and always when you least expect it. Chickens without a coop will naturally find a tree to roost in, but this leaves them exposed. And if you live in a neighborhood, this is not advised. And without a coop, your chickens will lay eggs everywhere. If you have a large property, it will be hard to find them.
What About A Chicken Coop Without A Run?
Having a coop will provide your chickens with the necessary security overnight. But, if you have a large piece of land and no law restrictions, you can free-range your chickens. Some people like the idea of not using cages for their chickens. But free-ranging comes with its risks as well.
Without a run, your chickens are free to destroy your yard, garden, and landscaping. It also leaves them open to daytime predators if you are not watching them. It can also make your yard messy with feces that are hard to clean up. Chicken coop no run setups are great for farms or extensive lands, not for the suburban backyard.
Is There A Middle Ground?
Some people don’t like traditional walk-in chicken coops and run setups. And that is fine! There are other options for people who want the benefits of free-ranging chickens, but nothing so permanent. For those people, we recommend a chicken tractor.
A chicken coop tractor is a small coop with a built-in run on wheels. You can move these tractors around your property to give your chickens a safe space to roam. They are the perfect compromise for people who don’t want their chickens to be stuck looking at the same scenery all day. Chicken tractors are easy to build and cheap to buy.
Another great option is the Trixie Chicken Coop and Outdoor Run. The Trixie brand is effortless to put together and lightweight. You can move this run all over your yard to give your chickens the varied, wholesome diet that they crave. And to top it all off, the price is excellent! You win all around with this brand.
After reading about why a chicken coop and run is beneficial, what will you choose? Keeping chickens can be done in several ways. What works for one person might not work for you. As long as you know all the pros and cons and make an educated decision on their coops and runs, you will be fine. Tell us what your favorite coop and run styles are below!
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!