Open air DLM run/coop

By AussieJen · Jan 6, 2019 · ·
  1. AussieJen
    My chicken housing is designed for Australia's hot summers and with predator protection in mind. My girls moved into it in mid-November 2018, and it's all still a work in progress.

    My husband and I built what is basically a 2m X 4m (6.5 X 13 foot) timber raised garden bed as a foundation, 40cm (17 inches) deep. A 45cm mesh skirt is buried around the outside of the base for predator protection. I'm using the deep litter method, and adding about 50-80 cubic centimetres of mulch every couple of days. This seems to keep the chickens entertained and they have a lovely time scratching through it every day.

    I had a run built from welded square section metal and heavy gauge 1.25cm (half inch) grid weldmesh. The run was made in panels and can easily be dismantled if we ever move. The roof is completely covered and the structure is attached to the timber base.

    The run has one door and no solid sides. I've zip-tied corflute and shadecloth to provide shade and shelter for the current summer, and intend to build a more solid shelter within the pen for winter. This means the structural integrity of the pen is never compromised, but I can adapt structures within the pen as the seasons change, and hopefully changing things about will minimise boredom for my hens.

    The far end of the run currently has one 2x4 roost with another decent tree branch for climbing on. The entry end has a feed/water station with pavers underneath, and a small stack of milk crates facing away from the feed station in the corner as nesting boxes - hopefully this will be a quiet enough area that they will take to the nests when the time comes.

    I currently have 8 pullets housed in the run, though I only intended to have 6. While I may let them free-range if they seem to need it, I'd prefer they stay premanently in the run because we're surrounded by neighbours dogs and trees which mean they could easily cross the fence line.

    I'm having lots of fun with my girls and am really enjoying my new chicken adventure

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    N F C likes this.

Recent User Reviews

  1. MROO
    "Great run with a flexible interior - Nice!"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jan 15, 2019
    That's a great idea, to make your run so sturdy that you can put whatever you want inside. It sure will help with the boredom issues - both yours and your hens! Very nicely done!
  2. N F C
    "Open Air Coop"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jan 6, 2019
    Very nice! Having lived in FL, I can see how helpful this open air design would work.
    MROO likes this.
  3. imneva
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jan 6, 2019
    nice article and very descriptive
    MROO likes this.


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  1. N F C
    Building into that slope must have been tricky! Do you have any pictures that show the inside?
    1. AussieJen
      I do now! I only put the milk-crate nesting boxes in yesterday arvo and I'll pretty them up a bit of they work out in that location. I may be jumping the gun with my oldest pullet only around 17 weeks, but her comb has really reddened up over the last week or so - here's hoping! And yep, that slope was a nightmare!
      Bummer, can't see how to add new pics. Will have to play around and may need to put them in general part not reply
      N F C likes this.
    2. AussieJen
      New pics of interior now added to gallery
      N F C likes this.

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