I am so far behind with posting about my chicken run. So here is the update, complete with pictures. As for the chooks, we have four broiler hens that will be processed this weekend. I will cry and be sad to see them go, but it really should not be easy, should it? I like them. They are mellow and easy going. The ladies treat my Romeo well.
The Chicken Run Location
We decided to put the run in the far corner of the yard. This is actually the ideal place for it. We can see the run from our bedroom and the living room. Although it is in a low lying area of the yard, it is also very shady—thanks to our neighbor’s trees. It is not possible to use this space for vegetable gardening and with the roof over the run, it stays pretty dry. Another reason we chose this location is the privacy fence. We can use the fencing for two walls of the run.
There is a downside to this location. My neighbors have dogs. This means the coop will be surrounded on all sides by dogs. Our dogs, with the exception of Romeo are a threat, one neighbor has two dogs, the other has one. The dogs have turned out to be a problem, but more on that in another post.
Building the Run
First, a two by four frame went up so that we could attach cedar fencing to it. This is in addition to the existing fence. We wanted to be sure that no dogs could get through—We were wrong, but that is another post.
After the two by four frame went up, part of the front was assembled. This consisted of 2, four by four posts. Three, 2 x 4s were attached to this.
A space for the door was left open. Then the rest of the front was assembled with 2, four by four posts, and three, 2 x 4s. The last side along our garden fence was completed.
A frame for the roof was assembled. We used sheets of corrugated plastic for the roof. It slants away from the neighbors. The roof extends past the frame to make sure the chooks stay dry.
Chicken wire with one inch openings was used to enclose the frame. We stapled the chicken wire to the frame and made sure that there were no openings near the roof where small birds could get in. Wild birds steal the feed and it gets very expensive.
Finally, we purchased an inexpensive screen door and cut it down to fit the opening. We attached it with hinges and added a handle on both sides. A hook and eye type latch keeps the door secure.
This set up will not work if you have opossum, raccoons, coyotes, feral cats or other at large predators. Our coop is built knowing that our dogs are under control and will not cross into the chicken area. Hawks and other flying predators are kept at bay with the chicken wire and solid roof. My chickens cannot be seen from the air. Small, four-legged critters like opossum, raccoons and such are non-existent in my yard. This includes rats and mice. Our dogs: a Chinese Shar-pei, a Treeing Walker Coonhound, and a Bedlington Terrier, keep everything out of the yard. Privacy fence completely encloses the yard. Trespassers will not enter the yard—the dogs are not stranger friendly. The neighbor’s dogs do their job of keeping vermin at bay.
If you are in a more rural setting and have predators roaming the woods or pastures near your chicken run, then you would need to replace the chicken wire with welded ¼” galvanized wire. The screen door could be replaced with a storm door or you could reinforce the screen with welded wire. Surrounding the run with
electric wire, like Harvey Ussery describes in his book, The Small-Scale Poultry Flock, would be a good idea.