What is a Chicken Run?

Unrestricted chickens can cause plenty of damage to your garden. Furthermore, your free-range flock is more susceptible to predators, thieves, and accidents.

A chicken run is an excellent choice for every chicken keeper because it allows the chicken to free-range without bothering your neighbors or destroying your lawn.

Irrespective of your chicken coop size, having a chicken run can be the perfect solution to containing your flock.

A chicken run can help improve your flock’s quality of life, give your chickens a healthy outdoor environment, and lower their risk of diseases and parasites.

Overview of Chicken Run

A chicken run is an enclosed or fenced-off outdoor area attached to the coop where chickens roam during the daytime. A chicken run serves two critical purposes.

First, it allows chickens to free-range while keeping the birds safe from predators.

Secondly, a chicken run helps contain your chickens while giving them an outdoor space to dust bathe and sunbathe.

Benefits of Having a Chicken Run

Undoubtedly, all chickens enjoy having extra room to flap their wings, stretch their legs, forage for food, and dust bathe. Nonetheless, keeping chickens in a free-range environment may not be suitable for those in smaller suburban homes.

Free-range mode isn’t viable for chicken raisers raising their flocks in predator-prone areas. Consequently, a chicken run can be essential for chicken raisers since it can provide them with many outstanding benefits.

These are some great benefits of having a chicken run.

Improved Quality of Life for Chickens

As descendants of wildfowl, chickens have an instinct to free-range while foraging for food. It’s essential to encourage these behaviors to help improve your chickens’ quality of life.

Confinement can take a toll on your flock since it can affect all aspects of its life. A chicken run can allow the flock to exercise and breathe fresh air. Furthermore, a chicken run can save your flock from stress due to the presence of predators.

Chickens are happy and at peace with their environment when they are safe from predators.

A chicken run can improve your flock’s quality of life by ensuring it isn’t susceptible to predator stress. Besides, the flock will be happy free-ranging in the chicken run when it’s safe from predators.

Studies show that chickens that enjoy a high-quality life through free-ranging and foraging produce more eggs. Furthermore, such chickens are healthier and happier than chickens in total confinement, who are usually dull and unhappy.

Thus, having a chicken run for your chooks can go a long way toward improving their overall quality of life.

chicken coop

Healthy Outdoor Environment for Chickens

A clean chicken run can help you provide your chickens with a healthy outdoor environment.

Although keeping free-range chickens can help your birds get loads of nutrition because they will have many food items to consume, a free-range environment can expose your chooks to the risk of diseases.

For instance, your free-range chooks could suffer from salmonella from eating contaminated food outdoors. Furthermore, free-range chickens can come into contact with wild birds, who are prospective carriers of diseases.

The benefit of having a chicken run is that it allows the chooks to free-range and have space to exercise and flap their wings while ensuring they remain in a healthy environment.

Furthermore, a chicken run can help provide a stable environment for your chicken during harsh weather. For instance, free-range chooks can’t enjoy being outdoors during winter due to snow everywhere.

Similarly, it would be disastrous for chickens to be outside during ongoing rain storms since they will get wet and sick over time. Free-range chickens can also suffer from heat stroke from being under the hot sun.

A chicken run will give your flock a taste of how it feels to be outside during wintertime without freezing or getting those nasty frostbites. Besides, the run will protect your chickens from rainstorms so that the chooks won’t get wet or sick.

Most importantly, the birds will have somewhere to shelter from the hot sun during the summertime when chickens desperately need to shelter from the sun.

Because of the protection a chicken run will give your chooks from harsh weather elements, the chooks can enjoy a healthy environment, which is a huge plus to their overall health.

Reduced Risk of Parasites and Diseases

Parasites and diseases that make birds sick thrive in dirty outdoor and indoor areas. For instance, a chicken coop that is too dirty can be a haven for parasites and diseases, mainly if there are too many chooks living in the cage.

A clean run can help lower the risk of infections and parasites in your flock. For instance, chickens can use the run to take regular dust baths to help them eliminate the irritating mites and lice.

Furthermore, chickens would be at lower risk of external parasites if they flap their wings regularly because wing flapping will help them rid their feathers of those external parasites. Consequently, a chicken run can be one of the chickens’ best defenses against parasites.

A chicken run can be instrumental in reducing your chickens’ risk of diseases. For example, a chicken run can provide outdoor space for your chooks to breathe fresh air, making them less vulnerable to respiratory illnesses due to stuffy and dusty indoor air.

Furthermore, a chicken run will prevent your chickens from contracting diseases like Avian flu from infected birds foraging outdoors. Chickens can also get infections from consuming contaminated food.

A chicken run will help contain your chooks, ensuring they will not get a chance to consume contaminated foods that could make them sick.

Increased Egg Production

Multiple studies have shown that chickens that get an opportunity to forage outside get a wealth of nutrition, enabling them to boost their egg production capabilities.

Your chickens will forage safely while on a chicken run and get the vital minerals, nutrients, and essential compounds that result in high egg yields. Research also shows that chickens lay more when they aren’t stressed.

Stress in chickens can be due to several factors, including predation and diseases.

A chicken run will save your chickens from the stress they undergo as they forage while remaining alert to predators. Thus, a chicken run will create a peaceful haven for your chooks, so they will have impressive egg-laying capabilities.

Poor egg production can also stem from inadequate nutrition. Chickens living in total confinement risk insufficient nutrition because they can’t scratch and forage outside, unlike free-range chooks.

Fortunately, a big chicken run will help your chickens to free range and get the adequate nutrition required to realize their maximum egg-production capabilities.

A good chicken run can also help keep your chickens safe from diseases, which are also to blame for dismal egg production in poultry.

For instance, a clean run with good sanitation will help protect your chickens from Fowl Cholera, a deadly disease that causes poor egg production and poultry deaths.

Reduced Stress Levels in Chickens

A chicken run can help reduce stress levels in your chickens. For instance, your birds won’t experience stress when they feel secure from predators.

Furthermore, your chickens will be happy roaming freely on the run while flapping their wings and looking for bugs and food in the chicken run. Chickens love dust bathing since it keeps them busy and helps them get rid of nagging parasites, ultimately reducing stress levels in the flock.

A chicken run can help your chickens explore the outdoor world while being safe from predators and harsh weather elements, which goes a long way toward making them happy and active.

Most importantly, a clean run can have multiple health benefits that will enable a chicken to eliminate stress when the bird goes through its daily business.

Types of Chicken Runs

Chicken runs are different in size and design. Some chicken runs have more elegant designs than others, while others are casual but serve the same purpose as high-end chicken runs.

So, it helps to understand the different types of chicken runs and how well they suit your chicken-rearing needs. These are the typical chicken runs you can choose for your flock.

  • Plastic chicken runs– These runs come from sturdy plastic material, making these runs pretty durable. These runs are easy to attach to the coop. Furthermore, plastic chicken runs are easy to clean. Most of these runs are suitable for portable chicken coops. However, most plastic chicken coops come in smaller sizes than the standard chicken runs. Besides, plastic chicken runs only work on flat grounds to ensure predators don’t enter a chicken cage.
  • Wooden chicken runs- These chicken runs are the most efficient runs on large chicken coops. Setting up a wooden chicken run that fits your coop is easy. Or, you can buy a prefabricated wooden run since wooden runs come in a wide array of sizes and shapes; therefore, they can match several coop sizes.
  • Portable chicken runs– These chicken runs are suitable for small to medium-sized chicken coops because they are easy to move around to any area. A portable chicken run can be an excellent option for urban dwellers with small flocks. Portable chicken runs come from different materials; most can fit into many chicken coops.
  • Eco chicken runs– The chicken runs come from recycled materials, making them eco-friendly options for environmental-conscious chicken keepers. These runs have thick walls for the security of your flock and maximum durability. Eco-chicken runs come in several sizes, and you can pick an eco-chicken run that suits the size and design of your coop.

How to Build a Chicken Run?

Giving your flock an enclosed space to enjoy quality outdoor time away from predators can help make the birds feel safe and happy.

These simple steps will help you build a nice chicken run for your chooks.

  • Determine the size of the run depending on how large or small your coop is
  • Get the requisite materials and equipment for creating a chicken run
  • Set up the fence posts a couple of yards from the cage.
  • Attach sturdy wire fencing to the fencing posts and ensure the fencing touches all the two front corners of the coop.
  • Cover the chicken run with iron sheets to cover the run on top to protect the chooks from the preying birds of the air.
  • Add a door to the run.


A chicken run can provide countless benefits to your flock.

From keeping your chickens safe from predators to reduce their risk of diseases and parasites, a good chicken run is a beautiful addition to any chicken coop.

Fortunately, setting up an excellent run to accommodate your chooks is easy.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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