Welcome to the FiveHens Run Construction Page!
The idea for the run was to give our four hens room to run around in all day as, as I mentioned, we do not plan on letting them do lots of free-ranging. The basic idea is that the coop is in the corner of the rectangular run, with the nest boxes sticking off one side. This makes the coop 4' x3'. Add eight feet on to either end (because that's the length 2x4s come in) and you get a 12'x11' rectangular run. For the sides, we dug the wire into the ground around six inches (any more would have been incredibly hard) and made a 1.5' "skirt" of 2' wide chicken sire, folded up 6" onto the side. We were able to get some wire from a friend who was taking apart an old garden, so in all, the cost for the run might have been $150.
Here's the plans, more or less.
The run in the early stages of construction...
And the material list (bear in mind that everything is approximate!)
- 3 8' tall, 4" wide round posts
- 16 8' long treated 2x4s
- 3 10' long treated 2x4s (for the diagonals)
- 1 4' long treated 2x2 (left over from the coop)
- LOTS of hammer-in staples
- 1 roll 4' wide, 50' long chicken wire (for roof)
- 2 rolls 2' wide, 25' long chicken wire (for the "skirt")
- 1 roll 4' wide, 50' long 2x2 hardware cloth (for the lower fencing)
- around 18' of 5' wide 2x4 mesh (leftover from a friend, for the upper fencing)
For the door:
- 3 8' long untreated 2x3s
- Leftover 2x2 wire from the run
- 1 self-latching latch (see video)
- Some scrap plywood for a kick-board and top braces
- 1 "screen door set" (Includes 2 springy hinges and a handle which we did not use)
Sorry, I did not take that many pictures while building the run. We can skip right from that step, all through the digging, leveling, squaring, allowing for the fairly substantial hill, the nailing, fastening, lifting, attaching, latching, staining and polyurethaning to the Run Complete! [flourish]
Hopefully, the trees will give the run substantial shade in the summer, but sun in the winter.
As you can see, a human can easily walk in the forward portion of the run, but you have to bend down to open the chicken door.