One of the things we struggled with when looking at adding a flock of laying hens was how to keep them safe while still having plenty of space outside in the grass and sunshine. We have a lot of potential predators on and near our property including raccoons, skunks, coyotes, and a whole family of fox. We have been extremely lucky (thus far) and have not lost any birds to predators. I believe that our preparation to keep predators out is a big part of us not losing any birds to predators.
Although we do try to let our birds free range when possible, they do spend time in a predator proof chicken run. Although, I am not sure if you can call it a “run” exactly. Most “runs” are small wire cages that allow the birds their minimum space requirements. Our “run” is a fenced area that allows them almost 1000 square feet of space (and we are about to expand this, since we have of course integrated in new birds since building it.). In order to allow them maximal space, but still keep them safe, we took several precautions when putting the fencing up.
Three Ways to make a Predator Proof Chicken Run