Back yard coop and run with electric fence

By Joeschooks · Mar 2, 2018 · ·
  1. Joeschooks
    We are expanding our flock at the moment so I decided to build a new, large run for our big girls and use their old run as a grow-out area for chicks. Our 4 girls just have a 3x3 premade coop at the moment. This is just a temporary measure over the winter because in spring I will be replacing this with a 6x8 modified shed in time for the new chicks to join them at POL.
    Predator proofing for the new run took a surprising amount of thought. By far our biggest problem is foxes here in the UK. It was too expensive to put a fox proof roof on the whole area so it had to be open top and protected by electric fence. But poultry netting seemed like a somewhat temporary solution. I wanted an inexpensive, permanent, solid, electrified enclosure with a gate that I didn't have to unhook or turn off to enter the run. For anyone who has tried researching there's not much information on this. It took a bit of thought but its' really quite simple so I thought I'd share my solution/set-up and hopefully help someone else.
    I built a wooden gate with 2" welded wire mesh on the inside which is hooked up to earth via a small section of lead out cable on the hinge side. I ran 4 live strands of 3mm polyrope on insulators on the outside of the posts. An electric fence doesn't need to create one continuous loop/circuit around the perimeter so both ends of each length of polyrope are tied off where the gate opens. (Of course if you have more than one gate you'll need to run a section of well insulated live cable underground plus an earth at the entry points so that you have current on the sections between your gates!) The gate must open outwards for this set-up but when you open the gate the entire perimeter of your fence will droop. I overcame this by attaching stainless steel screw fastening balls to the polyrope next to the insulators on the first post. This keeps the fence taught and limits the sagging of the polyropes to the gate section only.
    As I was only fencing a small 6.5m x 4m area I was able to put heavy duty landscape cloth covered with gravel on the slightly lower ground around the perimeter. This makes the setup low maintenance by preventing weeds growing and shorting out the low level live wire. It also provides drainage to the run.

    My existing coop is raised on 3x3 posts cemented into the ground. This provides a dry sheltered area for the chickens and also keeps their food dry. It’s not practical for me to always be up at dawn and always home by dusk so the obvious solution was an automatic opener. I bought some 3mm aluminium sheet and some aluminium runners on eBay and fabricated a pop door that opens vertically (as standard the coop has a horizontal sliding wooden door that is not ideal for use with an auto opener.) I use ChickenGuard Premium auto opener and I have been very happy with it. In the spring I will relocate this door and opener to the new 6x8 coop. The feeders will also be kept inside then.
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    Something else that has proved very useful is a wireless CCTV camera that I have set up over the area. Great for making sure the chickens are being looked after while we’re away and also for seeing the predators who attempt to get in! I've been woken twice in the early hours by a fox realising there's 10,000 volts between his nose and his chicken dinner! Needless to say nothing has yet to make it over the fence. 0F4A6F88-23DB-40A3-B742-B0ADF581C456.jpeg A7963749-18DE-40C1-A8A9-35B2727EA722.jpeg

    UPDATE April 2018; My new coop is now complete, aside from a couple of coats of treatment. The old, temporary coop is now used for introducing new members to the flock. It will also come in handy as a second small rearing pen if my main rearing pen is full - yep I’m guilty of hatching more than I should - or if I need to separate a broody.

    To build the new coop I excavated about 8” of earth and filled with 3” of concrete to create a floor. I then laid breeze blocks around the perimeter for the coop to sit on. As the blocks are mainly below ground level I tanked the area so that the coop would not get flooded. This created a solid base that could be used for deep litter without the worry of the coop rotting.

    I then made easy clean roosts suitable for ten birds and installed wooden brackets to create steps. I fabricated some roll-out nest boxes from a piece of ply which will save eggs getting dirty or eaten. At first I temporarily filled them with straw to get the girls used to the change. They are now lined with artificial grass so that the eggs roll out as designed.
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    The whole set up is now incredibly easy and quick to maintain and that means more time to relax and enjoy chicken TV!

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Recent User Reviews

  1. JerryR708
    "Awesome Coop Setup"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jan 13, 2019
    Everything looks well thought out. Nice looking coop that looks fun and easy to manage.
    PouleChick likes this.


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  1. Al Capon

    If chickens ever go out of vogue, you've got a future in Gulags..
      Joeschooks likes this.
  2. ChickRex
    How do you keep the chickens from flying out?
    1. Joeschooks
      It’s been up 7 months now and none have attempted to escape. I think they just see it as their home and like being with the other flock members... one got out the gate once when I went to feed them and she was quite panicked that she couldn’t get back in with her flock. The leghorn is the only one who I think would have the ability to fly the fence but she has a wing clipped and our plot has 6ft fences around the perimeter so she couldn’t go far.
    2. Starwise
      Don't be so trusting of the height of the fence. I had 8ft high and had one fly over it before I got the top closed off. Then again, it was Black Sumatra and those suckers are flyers...
  3. Yorkshire Coop
    Lovely set up!
      Joeschooks likes this.
  4. Starwise
    That is a very simple and practical design! I love it!
  5. PouleChick
    Just spotted your updates-looks really good - I love the simple bracket to the wall 'steps' for them and the roll out boxes - awesome job :thumbsup I'm actually thinking that breezeblock idea is fantastic for stopping the bottom of the coop rotting - i think I'll be definitely stealing that idea!

    ETA - what size are those uprights? DH keeps telling me that plans I'm looking at are over constructed but they look far more like what he wants to use.
    1. Joeschooks
      Thank you for your nice comments. The breeze block base is proving to be really good, you’ll have good muscles after excavating the area lol! It’s worth the effort though. When you say uprights do you mean the height of the roost? Good luck with your coop building :)
      PouleChick likes this.
    2. PouleChick
      I have a handy 17 year old son - I'm sure he'd love to dig the area (not!) LOL! I mean the upright (vertical) posts that the horizontal siding / wood planks are attached to - presumably you have used the same for the rafter etc too?
    3. Joeschooks
      Ahh I see. They are 2x1s although it’s just a pent shed I bought on eBay (bargain factory seconds). I fabricated an opening window and bravely took my saw to the new shed to make the pophole. I think the rafters are the same size. It’s a nice sturdy shed and I’m really impressed as it was only for £300 (inc delivery) and in the DIY stores something similar is almost twice that. Good luck getting your son to help :-D
      PouleChick likes this.
  6. alohamade
    Beautiful set up. Been looking for something similar to this for my flock of silkies. Thank you for sharing :thumbsup
  7. PouleChick
    That is fabulous - I really love the logs instead of a ramp - that looks sooo nice! And the thing in the middle with the roof - is that a dust bath? Did you build it yourself? Have you got your new coop now (your comments say due in March)? Would love to see pics.
    1. Joeschooks
      Thank you for your lovely comments. Yes, that is a home made dust bath in the middle! I have my new coop now. I have not treated it yet but will update the article soon with some fresh pictures.
      PouleChick likes this.
  8. N F C
    Nicely done job of keeping your birds safe and making the whole set up look good!
      Joeschooks likes this.
    1. Joeschooks
      Thank you. The new 8x6 is coop is arriving Thursday ready to add some new flock members. I never have been good at chicken math!
      N F C likes this.
  9. chickenguardusa
    Beautiful set up and wonderful application of your ChickenGuard automatic coop door. Thank you for your business, we appreciate you.
      Joeschooks likes this.
  10. CCUK
    Yeah. You have way too much space without chickens in it!!
  11. CCUK
    That's a pretty impressive setup! You've spent alot of time and effort getting it right! I hope the hens appreciate it!
      Joeschooks likes this.
    1. Joeschooks
      Thanks @Chickencountryuk. Now to expand the coop to make room for the latest hatch and satisfy my addiction lol!
      Chickencountryuk likes this.

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