To give the kids a place to play while we built their permanent run we constructed this lightweight movable run. Once the run construction is finished it will attach to a chicken hutch that we'll use as a hospital pen or bachelor pad.
The permanent run will be 14' x 28' x 6'. We used landscape timbers and 2x4s to construct the frame.
There will be two runs. One on either side of the hen house. This will allow the garden to be on one side and the chickens on the other. We realized we still need to be able to mow the grass this summer so we'll put off building the second run until this fall. By then they will have the first run picked over and fertilized so all we'll need to do in the spring is turn the ground over and set the plants.
Between the two runs is a 10' x 12' area where we will keep the bachelor pad mini coop. The area will be fenced but not covered. There will be an access door from this south end big enough to allow a wheelbarrow through for coop cleaning.
We used 2" x 4" inch welded wire at the top of the run. To stretch the wire, two boards were bolted together on either side of the wire then pulled with a come-a-long. Attaching the wire with 1 1/4" fence staples proved to be the easiest and most secure method. The bottom of the run sports a row of hardware cloth buried into the ground to prevent digging predators. We attached the two wires together with j-clips. The top of the run is covered with bird netting. The pop doors posed an interesting challenge. We needed to make them predator proof. Particularly raccoons. But we wanted to be able to open them from the outside.
We also needed the gang plank to be movable when not in use to make way for the garden.
So we came up with the idea to hinge the plank and use a cup hook to attach it to the coop wall with a chain five feet off the ground. We're pretty sure the raccoons we have around here aren't that tall.