Safe Roomy Outdoor Run
Our previous flock was taken by a mysterious massacre. They disappeared 2 and 3 at a time until the only thing left was one baby chick, who we named Gloria Gaynor. If it turns out to be a roo, "Gaynor" if it turns out to be a hen, "Gloria."
I needed to make the run more secure accordingly.
Using lots of salvage materials, Restore finds, and two trips to Lowes, I completed the new aviary just in time for our shipment of chicks.
I used the existing chain link dog kennel as one side, and moved the hen house down here closer to the house, to get it into an area fewer predators would like. Also, thinking my Mountain Feists would annoy varmits and keep them away. The trap door from the hen house opens into the aviary, which is accessed through a cheap screen door. I placed the human door within simple reach of the trap door so my husband can let the chickens out on work mornings without stepping in poop.
I used footers this time, to discourage digging. Pavers line the entire perimeter, and 4x4 pressure treated posts lie on top of the pavers. I drove rebar through drilled holes down through the lumber and about 2 feet into the ground. The framework is pressure treated lumber of various sizes we had leftover from building projects. The "roof" is to keep the chickens in and hawks out. I used conduit. It is so much lighter weight and so much cheaper than lumber. There are 4 12' pipes: they cost $2.50 each as opposed to $12 each for a heavy 2x4. I lashed vinyl green snow fence to the roof with black anchor line. Hope that stands up to weather! The entire wall is chicken wire, and the bottom two feet is hardware cloth. The hardware cloth was the most expensive ticket item: $50.
I bought a piece of gutter and attached it to the soffit, cut a hole in the bottom of it and peeled the hole open above a rain barrel. Now, I have good water supply! The screen door was only $19 at Lowes: I did give it a second cover of hardware cloth on the inside, though so the chickens wouldn't beat up the screen. The bilevel roost is accessed by "ladders" made of louvered doors from Restore and some old closet poles leftover from when our house was built.
Here's the new babies, from Murray McMurray: a mixed assortment of rainbow layers, ready for action!
Here's Gloria Gaynor, leading the pack of newcomers. Her/His daddy was a cochin and which mommy it was is still under consideration!