Cheap chicken pen

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by LTygress, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. LTygress

    LTygress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm all about keeping my chickens protected, which means penned-up ranging. Right now I'm using an old 4' high aluminum pool siding as a pen with landscape net over the top and a lattice gate. But the issue came up with rain protection. The hens have a little house inside of the pen, to lay eggs where it's dry. But the rest, not so much. And last week was bad as temps dipped below freezing.

    So I went online to look for solutions. What I found instead, is a very cheap alternative to the ENTIRE pen! Similar to the pack-n-play system sold by most poultry supply stores, I found something better.

    This canopy with side walls.

    Same principle - you can keep your chickens protected from predators such as hawks, raccoons, dogs, etc. But SO MUCH BIGGER! The highest point is about 8.5 feet tall, so there's plenty of room for my flighty breeds, like Sumatra. It's also high enough for some roosts to be way off the ground. And there's enough room for all sorts of chickens in there. They stay dry, and the seams aren't "perfect" so there is plenty of ventilation. You could probably add more ventilation with a simply needle and thread, by replacing the clear "windows" with screen. Or you can remove the sidewalls and put it over an existing pen or coop for rain protection. Or just remove one sidewall if you want to let them free-range.

    And the whole thing is barely over $100.

    I'm considering the idea of buying one and putting chicken wire all along the outside, using the canopy as the roof, for a good "summer" coop. Then I'll use the sidewalls in winter to help keep wind out. And unlike the aluminum-sided pen we have now, I'd be able to move this one around easier, in case they kill off all grass and turn it into one giant chicken-poop-mud pit (like they have now).

    I'm guessing the disadvantage to this, would be in the material and the bottom seams. I know this kind of material typically gets dried out very easily when left in the elements year-round. And after a couple of years, I know it'll rip very easily. But I imagine the roof wouldn't really be touched, and it would last a pretty long while, and the frame itself would last too. So with the added chicken wire, it would be a pretty good investment. And I'm sure I could probably buy replacement walls for a much cheaper price. The bottom seam, if it left gaps, I could probably cover up with mulch and/or nest boxes lined up along the bottom.

    I think I'm about to redneck-onize some new chicken pens!
     
  2. BorneHomestead

    BorneHomestead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    if you are in a place where it snows you will have to go out and tap the top to make sure the snow does not accumulate on top and collapse. I would definitely anchor it down so it does not blow away as well.
     
  3. LTygress

    LTygress Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah it comes with it's own stakes and string. So that part is covered. And I'm in Georgia. If we get snow it lasts MAYBE a day.
     
  4. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am inclined to think that neither the chicken wire you propose nor the cloth exterior of the tent will keep out predators. I imagine that there is some reason that most coops are made from wood and hardware cloth.

    Chris
     

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