1. Oatbucket

    Oatbucket Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 9, 2014
    Great Bend, Kansas
    When we brought home our new baby chickens last month, we started looking at the hen house and pen area and decided it needed renovation.

    For one, we had torn down the old pen, which wasn't tall enough anyway. In the past, we've always dealt with escaping chickens. They would inevitably fly over at some point and end up as a chew toy in the dog yard, or running loose in the alley and the neighbors' yards.

    Completely free range chickens are great...in the country. In town, not so much. People have this tendency to get upset when your chickens tear up their flower beds while searching for the tasty bugs under the soil. I can understand. If the chickens got into my perennial beds, I would be quite irritated.

    That always ended with us out there in the middle of the night after the chickens had all settled down well on the roost. We'd juggle a flashlight and a pair of scissors while we plucked hens off the roost and trimmed their flight feathers.

    This didn't always work. We found out rather quickly that flight feathers is a relative term. Yes birds need them if they plan to fly high and long. However, they do not need them if all they plan to do is get themselves to the top of the fence so they can flutter down on the other side in the pursuit of trouble.

    So the next night would find us out there with flash light and scissors again, this time trimming tail feathers as well.

    We soon discovered that determined hens don't need those either.

    So as we looked at our old pen space and realized that this time, something had to be different.

    I looked at the stack of cattle panels we had leaning up (left over from our goat days) and remembered the hoop shelters we had built for the goats.


    [​IMG]

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    Why not hoop a chicken pen? It seemed like a good idea.

    We began our endeavor. Thankfully, we've built several hoop shelters in the past, so we have the whole setting up hoops down to an art.

    It didn't take us long. Poles pounded into the ground, panels pulled into a U shape and then hooked with bungie cords so they were easier to carry into place. The resulting hoops set between poles and then the bungie removed. A little adjustment once set to line things up and viola, we had the hoops up.

    Now, when you buy cattle panels, they are marked at 16 feet long. However, this is not always the case. Apparently the tape measures don't always work at the places that make these things. Some are shorter by almost a full foot. This made our hoops different heights and drove my OCD personality crazy. However, setting the hoops isn't necessarily easy work, so thankfully there are enough other people in my head to overrule the nitpicky one and tell her to just live with it.

    After the hoops came the chicken wire. Lots of chicken wire and lots of wire zip ties.

    Our arms and hands were scraped and cut by endless chicken wire and my fingers ached from fighting with the zip ties, but we got it done.

    We now have our hooped chicken pen that none of the hens can fly out of. No more trying to herd chickens home (they don't herd well), no more trimming feather in the dark, no more squawky, flappy, doggy chew toys, no more neighbors wondering why our chickens are loose again.

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    No, its nothing special or fancy, but it will do the job of keeping the chickens where they are supposed to be. We plan on expanding it he rest of the way down the fence line as we can.

    (pics were taken much earlier this spring)
     
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  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Southern Oregon
    Very nice! I have some panels I've been eyeballing....

    I can't tell from your pic, are the panels adjacent to each other or is there a space between, just bridged with chicken wire? I wonder how feasible it would be to space the panels apart and have just the wire in a smallish gap between, not being too concerned with predators of course.
     
  3. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Looks good, quite a common use for those panels.. nice because their easily covered to keep out rain & wind.
     
  4. Oatbucket

    Oatbucket Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 9, 2014
    Great Bend, Kansas
    Ours are adjacent to each other as much as they can be given some of the size differences. Given the differences of the heights, some areas at the top are spanned with chicken wire between the gaps. I think the gaps were no more than a foot or two, it would be fine.
     
  5. paintedChix

    paintedChix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 15, 2013
    NC
    I was looking at doing a complete chicken coop using the panels - never occurred to me that I could do a "run" as well! Duh - [​IMG] . Yes, my neighbors would like it better too if my free range country chickens didn't visit! Combined with a pasture (the ponies don't think the grass is good enough in) fenced in some type of chicken retaining fence, this would work awesome! WE have just under 9 acres, but it's narrow with neighbors on each side and neighbors on the one side extending all the way to the back of our property...

    Hmm, I hadn't found that any of the panels I've purchased have been different lengths... Not so far anyway. I believe I've purchased almost 200 panels in the last 3 years - for retaining the shetland ponies that think the neighbors green grass and grapes are better than their pastures and hay! Hot wire wasn't enough - too many broken insulators or fence charge not working. They knew the minute it wasn't working and 6 hi-tensile wires they just squeeze thru. :(
     
  6. Oatbucket

    Oatbucket Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 9, 2014
    Great Bend, Kansas
    We bought ours a few at a time spaced out over several years as we needed them. For a year or two, it seemed like someone at the place they are made forgot how to measure. All are supposed to be 16 feet, but some are shorter. We have an old wooden shed that we turned into a coop about ten years ago. Next year we plan on redoing the coop. The roof is in great condition. The rest of it, not so much. That said, I don't see why you couldn't make a coop out of hooped panels as well. The pics of the tarp cover shelter was a hoop house for our buck goats. They did very well in their and the tarp lasted about four years. Granted, it was a really good tarp.
     
  7. paintedChix

    paintedChix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm. That's funny now! Bet it wasn't when you were putting them up or even if you discovered it when you purchased them...

    I will let you know how our "build" goes - buying some new supplies next weekend to start.
     
  8. paintedChix

    paintedChix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, life intervened and I'm just now finally getting the hoop coop done. I've got the front on it now - still need to do a roost and poop board and two nesting boxes. Last night, I moved the broody bantam "Blackie" into the coop in a dog crate w/ 11 banty eggs and 4 lg brown eggs. Wonder if any will actually hatch and what we'll get this time???

    Here's a pic of the coop now...

    [​IMG]

    The bucket w/ the lid is the in/out door for the chickens. Right now, I've got the bucket closed and a strap across the lid to keep it on. I have to move it again to a new grass spot - but have a miniature horse pen attached to it at the moment, so can't. Will move that again tomorrow and then move the chicken hoop coop. Picking up 2 more panels this afternoon and will do the base with 2x4's this time. Now that I've done it once, don't think it will be too difficult to do the 2nd one. Hopefully, lighter than the first one - which is heavy and very hard to move around. I want to put a solid back on the next one, though.
     
  9. paintedChix

    paintedChix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 15, 2013
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    How is your hoop run doing? Any changes to it? Are your girls mad w/ their new limitations?

    I'm thinking I might do that all the way down one of our pony pastures - It's not fenced yet in panels.
     
  10. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have three hoop coops, one permanent, two portable. They may not look too good, but I love how cheap and functional they are. I did not use cow panels, but really strong cow and pig fence that was seriously just lying around, three rolls of it! I like really big runs, so a hoop run is not for me unless I were to do a quarantine or segregation pen.
     

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