Easy and Inexpensive Run & Coop Ideas?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by zackcrack, Jul 1, 2016.

  1. zackcrack

    zackcrack Out Of The Brooder

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    This is such an addictive hobby! I need to expand. I have space, but I am not creative or good with my hands. Does anyone have any ideas for a fenced run with a very simple and easy-to-construct shelter for the chickens? Ideas for fencing, materials, anything? Thank you all for reading! Any advice is much appreciated.
     
  2. MambaJack

    MambaJack Out Of The Brooder

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    My parents made a cattle panel run where you create a wooden frame at the bottom and bend the panels to create an arch between the two sides. I really like it and they made it much cheaper than my wooden framed run.
     
  3. Clems Girls

    Clems Girls Out Of The Brooder

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    not necessarily as part of the run... but something that ive always wanted to do but havent had the chance is to make a chicken lawnmower!! basically its a bottomless cage which you can wheel to different spots on ur lawn if u have one where they pech away the long grass! heres a pic of one i found on the internet...


    [​IMG]
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Much depends on your climate.
    Putting your location in your profile helps folks give better answers/suggestions.
    Are you looking for a coop or just a run?
     
  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I did something similar with cattle panels, but we didn't use wood at the bottom. Instead we drove steel fence posts into the ground and then anchored the cattle panels to them. The posts are on the outside of the run with the panels pressing outward against them, which is a tremendous help stability-wise. We covered the panels with chicken wire to exclude overhead predators (would never use chicken wire alone to protect anything!) and then we ran hardware cloth from about 2 feet up, down to the ground, then folded it outward at the bottom for an apron. We anchored that down with landscape fabric staples and the grass grows right up through it, so we can mow right over it all the way to the edge of the run. Short grass around the edges prevents snakes and rodents from having hiding places right next to the run.

    We live on a corner lot in town, so our backyard where the coop and run are located can be seen from two sides of the street, as well as by our neighbors next door. At the time, I was on the town council so it was doubly important to me that our run not be an eyesore. To achieve that we simply put up a decorative fence in front of it, made of inexpensive vinyl lattice. I love it! For shade, we simply toss a roll of landscape fabric over it in a couple of places and tie it off with metal lathe strips, pre-drilled and easily available at any big box home store. If you've ever used that stuff - not the kind that looks like fiber meshed all twisty and almost fuzzy, but the stuff that's black on one side and brown on the other and has a texture that looks like nylon netting - you know that when you pour water on it the water just sits there and pools. It either runs down wrinkles until it reaches the hole where your plant is, or it very slowly seeps in. That's what I like the best about it. It provides rain protection because the water doesn't instantly seep through. It just runs down the sides to the ground. It's also very air permeable, so instead of it being like a tarp and holding the heat in at the top, air can circulate all the way through it. If it rips in high winds, take it off and put another piece in its place, easy to do because it's so inexpensive. We can also roll ours up in section, like a window shade, to give them sunny spots when it's super nice out.

    This has stood up beautifully to whatever wild weather Wyoming throws at it, including winds sometimes in excess of 60mph and the snow load. It's tall enough that we can work it there without hunching over. I wouldn't change a thing about our run. When we decided to expand it, we simply took off the end (which was created with leftover fencing from another project), we added two more fenceposts - one on either end - arched another cattle panel, covered it like we did the original section, then put the end cap back on. Took just a few hours to do. The end piece came off with the chicken wire and hardware cloth left in one piece, so it was easy to just stand it back up and wire it back into place.

    This run was easy and inexpensive to build. Ken and I are both in our 60s and both partially disabled, and we did it without any help or trouble at all. The first winter we draped more lattice over it to act as a spacer so any pokey-outy things from the chicken wire didn't rip up the clear green house plastic we put on for winter protection. This works so well that I even brood chicks outdoors when the snow is still flying!

    The beauty is that you don't have to do everything at once! Get the cattle panel run built with it's predator protection, then if you decide to do more it's easy to just add to it.....lattice, plastic, landscape fabric, or whatever - as time and money permit. I'm so glad we did it this way!

    Details can be found on My Coop page, about halfway down. The link is under my avatar. But here are couple of photos.

    [​IMG]
    There's enough outward tension that the panels stayed in place against the fence posts until we had made the final decision on the placement of the other side. Then we wired the panels to the posts. It hasn't ever even budged!


    [​IMG]
    The original run. Notice the landscape fabric for shade and air circulation.

    [​IMG]
    When we expanded it, the entire end came off in one piece, just as it was designed to do. If you look closely at the far right center, you can make out the hardware cloth apron to protect against digging predators.

    [​IMG]
    Wiring the new panel into place.

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    The addition put on, just waiting for it's lattice! We tried using a "reflective' tarp at this point - it was a disaster! Too hot, too stuffy, not enough air circulation. We went back to landscape fabric.

    [​IMG]
    Wind and snow don't even faze it.

    [​IMG]
    Inside you can see the brooder pen with chicks in it taking put some of one side. The space is cut down in there when the pen is up, but since it's only up for about 4 weeks until the chicks are fully integrated with the flock, it's no hardship. It just folds up when we're done with it. It's so bright and airy in there.
     
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  6. zackcrack

    zackcrack Out Of The Brooder

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    Aart, I'm looking for a coop and run idea, but the run is most important and the biggest of my worries. I'm in Maryland, so we get snow and some heavy heat.
     
  7. zackcrack

    zackcrack Out Of The Brooder

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    Blooie, that's a great idea! I'm looking for something a little easier and less visually pleasing. Doesn't have to look great, just work.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Anything truly secure is not going to be 'easy' or necessarily 'inexpensive'.....
    ......tho easy is a relative term depending your your building skills.

    Livestock panels covered with mesh is one of the 'easiest' ways to go.
    Snow load can be a real concern.
     
  9. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I agree - you can start out simply with the cattle panels, chicken wire covering and hardware cloth skirt and apron, then fancy it up (or not) as your little heart desires. But we've never had any kind of issue with snow load. @aart with your engineering experience could that be because of the way the force is distributed in our setup, with the fence posts pounded deeply into the ground and the pressure of snow pushing down and out evenly against them? We never even get the slightest bow or wobble in the arch, no matter how much snow is up there.
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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