Could use some advice on this set up

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by marbleheather, Jun 29, 2016.

  1. marbleheather

    marbleheather Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 29, 2016

    I could really use some advice here. This is my coop. It's about 4'x4' with the bit sticking out where the nesting box access is. The run in the pic is 3 feet wide by 8 feet long and 4 feet high. My son and I built it out of hardware cloth, zip ties, and PVC pipe. It's great but is awkward with the coop. The run has a panel door that swings up to open so it lays flush on the top of the run. In this pic it's open so we can push the run right up against the coop, so the chickens can go in and out during the day. There is a pulley door to the coop that you can kind of see is raised and on top of the run. So my main issues are:

    - when the run door is open and the run is pushed up against the coop, there is no protection from the chickens running under the coop or something getting in that way unless I put something there like a board (the lighter colored wood in the pic)

    - the run is longer than the grass area so it runs into the plant beds, which are lower than the grass so I have to put rocks, wood, bricks, etc. around to cover all the openings

    - this set up is great for the chickens to go in and out as they please, but I want to be able to move the pen to other areas of the yard

    - if I set up the pen in another area of the yard, I have to physically relocate each chicken from the coop to the pen, which going in is sort of fine, but at night it's a royal pain and one of the chickens always escapes and we have to chase her all around the yard

    I'm thinking we should build something that can attach to the coop, give a small area for the chickens to forage and such, and come out on their own, but also can have access to the mobile pen so I can load them in and then move the pen around. I'm not clear what this should look like or how to build it.

    Please advise! Thank you!
  2. ksguy

    ksguy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2015
    Hey there, welcome to BYC! I'll see if I can help at all.

    I think your board setup is fine. It gets the job done. My girls could access under the coop after I first built the run onto it, if they wanted, so I piled up some 4"-6" limestone rocks at the base to keep them out.

    Again, this sounds fine. Make it decorative and such, so it's pleasing to the eyes. I'd actually suggest making bit of a hardware cloth apron around the base of your entire run (not just the end over the mulch) to keep predators out. Put your bricks and/or stones over that on the mulch end, and use landscape staples to hold it down over the grass.

    For the rest of this, what you want is called a chicken tractor. If you search this site for that term you'll find more examples than you'll have time to look at. :) Lightweight tractors that can be moved by hand, heavy tractors that you need an actual tractor to move, wooden, pvc pipe, wheeled (both fixed wheels and raising/lowering wheels), on skids, and on and on.

    What I would do is frame up a door that can open and close on one of the sides of your current run. Make your chicken tractor so that it can cozy up right against the current run, and have a door on it that lines up with the door on your fixed run. Shoo the birds into the tractor and close the door, and move it around as you like. The chickens will keep up after they figure out that if they don't move with you, they get run over by the back of the tractor. Something that fits with the materials you used might look like this. It looks lightweight enough that you could just pull it around your yard.

    I hope that helps!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by