Looking for ideas....

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by conradpdx, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. conradpdx

    conradpdx Songster

    Jan 11, 2009
    On my couch
    First let me say thanks for the forums and all the info here. I'm finding it all very helpful as I plan for my small flock of hens on my urban lot this spring. I currently am using the square foot/ raised bed method for my veggies and am looking to expand my garden space when I build the coop, and I've got an idea but I'm at a loss on how to implement it, so perhaps someone here can help with a suggestion.

    When I build my raised beds I also add holes into the framing of the bed risers so that I can add rebar or conduit posts for netting string or wire plant supports etc.... However, I had the idea that if I let the beds rest between rotations for a bit that they would make a great run area for my hens. The hens help fertilize the beds and keep them weed free. However my plans for the coop was to build it into my detached garage (needs a new roof and to be resided anyway) which is about 25'-30' from my soon to be new bed areas.

    My idea is to use the post holes in the bed frames for building a simple hoop vaulted chicken wire fence structure to keep the chickens in the run/idle garden bed for a few months then move the vaulted structure to a new bed and let the chickens go to work on the next one. I was just curious if anyones has any ideas for some kind of flexible tube material that I could attach to the garage to act as a hallway for the chickens to get to the run area from the coop. I was thinking that some of those children's expandable play tubes might work. but I'm not sure if the chickens would break through the canvass, or not use it because they'd find it frightening. Or is there some other solution I'm not aware of?

    Or would I be better off just making a small portable coop that I can move with the fencing for the run?
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009

  2. chookchick

    chookchick Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    If you don't have a lot of hens I think you would be better off using a dog crate to move them. Put some litter in the bottom, then when you want to move them, throw a little scratch into the crate. Move the crate and let them out into their new tractor/run. At dusk, do the same thing. After a couple of days, they should have the routine down. The crate can also serve as protection/nesting for them during the day. I am thinking of a similar idea, but I want to move about 8 hens, so I'm going to have to have something on wheels! (or shifts!)
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Pictures of the area would help us visualize to give you some ideas.
  4. FrChuckW

    FrChuckW Father to all, Dad to none

    Sep 7, 2008
    Louisville, KY
    What you can do is make panels with PVC pipe and netting. Just make as many side panels as you need to get to the beds, and then secure some more netting over the top. On the top section of the panel ends use a connector to support cross poles to support the top netting. Hopefully your yard is secure enough to prevent being invaded by roaming dogs. Otherwise I would build a secure run for the chickens and a compost bin for the old bedding and/or litter to add to your beds after it has composted.

    If you do use the PVC/Netting panels make the bottom part of the end pieces long enough to go into the ground as well as into the holes in the raised beds. That way you can accomplish two things with them, a tunnel for your chickens and fencing around the beds to keep things out of them. Just use zip ties to secure the fencing to the PVC.

  5. SussexInSeattle

    SussexInSeattle Songster

    Oct 6, 2008
    I don't know about everyone else but I herd my chickens when I need to move them. Since chickens are so Chicken, it doesn't take much at all to get them all moving, it's almost simlar to lungeing a horse. I will take a broom or rake in one hand, hold it out to the side of me so they see a wider figure heading towards them and they all move as one unit to whatever part of the yard I need them in at that moment. I let them free range in the whole yard but I also have a smaller section penned off outside their barn.

    When I want them out into the big yard, I get my rake in hand and tell them "GO outside!" Using the words helps as they learn like little feathery dogs and they usually don't try to duck back into the barn, they normally all head for the gate and get out to the main yard. When I want them back in the barn I tell them "Go to bed!" and I get way behind them and start walking towards the barn.

    They are very sensitive to herding so you have to move fairly slowly unless you get a deflector. It's almost like herding cattle only no horse to ride. It's cool to be able to get a system together and get them trained because they usually are pretty obedient if they know what you want of them. So definately talk to them and say words they might pick up on like "go to the pen" or "go to bed".

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