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long, portable chicken run help

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone,

Need some help. I have a regular sized 4x4 coop on 4 wheels that is easily moveable. I opted for a full size coop with man size clean out door because I use the deep litter method, and also wanted more room for my 5 hens vs. the smaller coop size incorporated in a chicken tractor. I would prefer free range, but unfortunately too many hawks, too much poo in places I don't want, etc. Therefore, I am wanting to buy/build a large portable chicken run. Basically, the system I want is to have the girls out in the portable run for a span of 1 week, and after that move the coop and run to a fresh spot. I have seen horror pictures of people who use the traditional chicken tractors with a small run size and by the end of day 1 their grass is toast! I obviously don't want that to happen. Also, I am not wanting to move the coop/run daily to prevent this, which some might suggest. When we go on vacation, I don't want the person caring for our hens to have to move the coop/run everyday, but just to check in on them and ensure they have food/water. Therefore, here are my questions:

 

1. Has anyone built a really long run on wheels that would allow 5 hens to graze for 1 week and not completely destroy the grass after a day or two? I realize that the run would likely have to be pretty big/long, and I"m wondering if anyone has constructed such a design? I have seen a few that have handles on the end like you use to pick up a wheelbarrow, which is nice, but I'm just not sure how heavy it would be to move a wood run in the size I'm thinking.

 

2. Maybe someone could suggest based on their experiences how big of an area 5 standard hens would need to graze for 1 week happily without destroying the grass.

 

3. I would consider using lighter materials, but am afraid that night predators could just reach up underneath and get in. I guess the other option could be to use something like the Premier 1 netting around the area where I want to set up, and still keep the girls in the enclosed run, but again I want it to be left where it is for 1 week instead of moving every day to support rather destory the grass. Any other suggestions?

 

Thanks!

 

Jess

post #2 of 8

I built a portable run that can be 90' long out of 2"x4" fencing.  They are in 5' modules and can be set up in any length need.  I usually have them around 50' because that is the size of one of my garden beds.  Have two coops as I plan on expanding my flock so I needed two setups. This is a snapshot of the some runs without the coop.

P6140319.JPG

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the pic Jaxon. Give's me some good idea's. My question is, do you have wheels on it or can you pull it along the ground? I'm not sure how heavy it is, but if it is fairly light I might try something similar. Figured I would get your input before I go to the trouble. Also, I can't tell in the picture but how is the fencing all attached together and how did you get a nice bend in it so it's looks so pretty. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated!

 

Jess

post #4 of 8

I just clip the predator guards up to the arch and pick it up and move them one at a time.  A 5'x5' piece of fencing isn't that heavy.  The coop is a little heavier with the perches and being taller, it's not hard to drag, it's just awkward.  Working on ideas about how to make the coop easier to move with just one person.  With two people you each grab an end pick it up and move it were you want. I can move 50' of run and coop in less than an hour, although I tend to spread the moving over a longer period of time.

post #5 of 8

To finish what I started in the last post.

PA010027.JPG

 

Each end of the run is a 5'x2' piece of fence. The arch is 7.5' in length. You tie each end of the arch to the bottom of each end piece.  Then tie the top of the arch to the top of the end pieces and you have a 2' high arch.  The just tie along the arch about every 4" and you have a sturdy arch. I use zip ties for securing the arch and for the perdator guards I use hog rings.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the pics, very helpful. I might just have to copy your idea!

 

J

post #7 of 8

If you go here, about half way down the page, you can see a picture of the coop without any cover on it:  http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/596294/post-your-chicken-coop-pictures-here/190

post #8 of 8
Hi Jess,
I am just beginning with my chicken experience ( have the coop, no hens til Spring) and I already am thinking about a portable run for the same reasons you outlined almost a year ago. The coop itself is latge and has an attached run, but I suspect that the grass and bugs will be depleted in short order...plus I would love to be abe to move the hens around the yard.mI was hoping that you would update the solution that worked out for you?
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