I purchased a coop (online) in March. Chicken grow! I had no clue it was going to be too small for only 3 chicken! I decided to build a portable chicken run to use as a play pen for the summer, until I could build (husband build) a larger coop.
So my "chicken run" design was super simple. We had a big wood box and used the boards as a base. They are heavy and sturdy but would need wheels to make portable. We didn't measure, we just nailed it together.
A trip to Lowe's and I came home with the following:
I never used the "T" or "X" connectors. It was an idea to give it support but we opted not to do it. The baggie you see next to the snow pile is for electrical connectors. You can get a bag of 24 for a few dollars. My supplies above cost a little under $15. We already had wood and hardware cloth.
We used the existing wood to make this frame. Then we took the PVC (I believe it was 1/4 inch) and bent it. We ended up cutting about 2 feet off each piece since I didn't want the run to stand out. We drilled in the electrical connectors and placed a pole in each. We used 2 connectors on each side, so a total of 16.
After the poles were installed we used a staple gun to secure the hardware cloth to the wood frame. Then we hammered in safety staples (box above) to make sure it was secure.
**Note** If you use electrical ties buy the longer ones and then snip the excess. The smaller ones were very difficult to secure. Also, it is much easier to use 3ft hardware cloth vs. 2ft.
Midway through the run we added a low perch. We used some left over wood we had in the garage. If the wood had not been here I would have used a long and sturdy branch from one of our trees. Seeing that I was going to use this more or less as a play pen for the the chicken to use during the day, I was going to place a plastic box for shelter and purchase some sunscreen netting for that portion of the run.
However, my little chicken were even bigger now. I didn't think they could wait for me to finish my new coop. That week we had some really severe thunderstorms and I decided they would need more than a plastic box for shelter, even if was only going to be for a week or two.
So, we turned our play house into a summer cottage for the chicken. I still plan on building my tractor/coop for the winter but this is going to work great for the warmer months.
So aligned the run with one of the windows and built a ladder going out, and used one from the old coop on the inside.
I was anticipating we would make a mistake when cutting PVC for the run but we didn't. I used an uncut piece as a frame, secured it to the house, and then ran hardware cloth from the taller part of the frame to the run. The best part about using the ties is we can snip them and move everything when needed. We secured the PVC to the house.
So, this is an improvised door. We want access to the far end of the chicken run. We didn't have time that day to make a hardware store run so we used some concrete backer that we had to secure the end. It actually works great and if we can make it more attractive it might stay. The sticks were to eliminate the small gap. A 2x4 in the future will work just as well.
Once we had the run connected the rest was pretty simple. We added hardware cloth to the door of the playhouse. We used a drill for the plastic.
The front and back window currently do not have hardware cloth because I have the a roost propped in the oval opening. I will be securing it this weekend. We will put two small blocks of wood one each window sill so we can lift he roost up for cleaning as well. We will add hardware cloth to each window and this little cottage will have plenty of ventilation.
For temporary predator proofing I have used a 60lb quarry stone to fill the gaps. I might throw a flower pot on it and call it a fixture.
Everyone looks pretty comfortable so far. We are adding a nesting box this weekend. I will use a 5 gallon bucket for a temporary nesting box until then. I have installed a soda bottle waterer on the door so it's super easy to fill. Just a few adjustments and an addition of a poop board and this will be our chicken (and rooster) Summer Vacation Cottage.
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