My husband tried to repurpose our old jungle gym into a mobile chicken run.....

GoodGuinea

Songster
Aug 26, 2019
75
86
106
Pennsylvania
We used to let our birds out to range, but lost too many to predators. So during the Covid shutdown, my husband used our kids' old jungle gym to make a moveable "play-pen" type structure. It's only for use in daytime, and only when we're home. He attached wheels and bar handles to move it, and tied chicken wire all around it. One of the lower triangle spaces is a door with a latch. We make sure they have food, water, and shade when it's warm. They love it so far - next best thing to actual ranging!

However, I don't think we'll keep using it. The main 2 issues are:
  • The wheels are too small to move it easily. Parts of the frame still drag and catch where the ground isn't perfectly even. But if we get bigger wheels, there'll be more room at the bottom for a fox to squeeze in.
  • We have to catch the birds and move them in and out of it manually. It's not fun for anyone. My husband originally had a plan to build a sort of tunnel that would attach to the coop/run where they sleep. Then they could go in by themselves, and he would close the door and push it where he wanted, and push it back when it was time for them to go home. But the tunnel didn't work out like he hoped. One door being a rectangle and the other a triangle...yeah...
So while I love his out-of-the-box thinking and optimism, I wish it worked better. We might just chalk it up as an interesting project that kept him busy during lockdown. I just wish we had another good way to get our little flock out and about while keeping them safe.

(I'm enclosing a picture so you can get an idea what it looks like. This is during construction (no door yet), because I don't have another pic that shows the whole thing without my kids' faces in it.)
 

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Birdie mom

Songster
Mar 27, 2020
795
1,538
226
Fayetteville NC
We used to let our birds out to range, but lost too many to predators. So during the Covid shutdown, my husband used our kids' old jungle gym to make a moveable "play-pen" type structure. It's only for use in daytime, and only when we're home. He attached wheels and bar handles to move it, and tied chicken wire all around it. One of the lower triangle spaces is a door with a latch. We make sure they have food, water, and shade when it's warm. They love it so far - next best thing to actual ranging!

However, I don't think we'll keep using it. The main 2 issues are:
  • The wheels are too small to move it easily. Parts of the frame still drag and catch where the ground isn't perfectly even. But if we get bigger wheels, there'll be more room at the bottom for a fox to squeeze in.
  • We have to catch the birds and move them in and out of it manually. It's not fun for anyone. My husband originally had a plan to build a sort of tunnel that would attach to the coop/run where they sleep. Then they could go in by themselves, and he would close the door and push it where he wanted, and push it back when it was time for them to go home. But the tunnel didn't work out like he hoped. One door being a rectangle and the other a triangle...yeah...
So while I love his out-of-the-box thinking and optimism, I wish it worked better. We might just chalk it up as an interesting project that kept him busy during lockdown. I just wish we had another good way to get our little flock out and about while keeping them safe.

(I'm enclosing a picture so you can get an idea what it looks like. This is during construction (no door yet), because I don't have another pic that shows the whole thing without my kids' faces in it.)
That is still a pretty genius idea even if it has it's faults. I should try that🤔...
 

Matzwd

Songster
Apr 9, 2018
693
804
206
St Louis, Missouri
That's a neat idea. What if he covered the bottom in hardware cloth and put wheels on it that were just a little bit bigger? Then it would be a combination grazing frame/playpen. The chickens wouldn't tear out the grass roots, and you could make the structure more stationary and try to figure out a way to funnel them in and out of it.
 

GoodGuinea

Songster
Aug 26, 2019
75
86
106
Pennsylvania
I like the idea of repurposing and wondered about doing this exact config. Maybe it would be better as a non moveable (or at least not frequently moved) run.

Can you herd the chickens, instead of carrying them?
I don't think so, not with this particular flock. We actually have guinea fowl, and while others in the past have been willing to let us herd them, the current birds have been very uncooperative.
 

GoodGuinea

Songster
Aug 26, 2019
75
86
106
Pennsylvania
That's a neat idea. What if he covered the bottom in hardware cloth and put wheels on it that were just a little bit bigger? Then it would be a combination grazing frame/playpen. The chickens wouldn't tear out the grass roots, and you could make the structure more stationary and try to figure out a way to funnel them in and out of it.
Not a bad idea. I'll look into it. Thanks!
 

KHasChickens

In the Brooder
May 12, 2020
24
29
44
I keep eyeing the one in our backyard that is exactly like that.....I figured it is heavy enough that it would be a safe but moveable pen. I'm trying to figure out the "chunnel" to and from as well in my head....there is no herding my birds. Haha. Really liking the ideas and suggestions. My poor husband. The chickens were his idea back in early pandemic lockdown--little coop, little run, get eggs, done. But I'm the one at home with them, and I just keep expanding on it. :lol:
 

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