Portable Chicken Run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by littlepeepers, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. littlepeepers

    littlepeepers Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 11, 2010
    I am new to this chicken stuff but as I was playing with my 18 day old chicks today I though, wouldn't be great to have a portable chicken run! I want them to have fresh greens and grubs available to them, and I was afraid that if I built them a permanent run then they wouldn't always have the greens and grubs. My solution that I thought up was a portable chicken run, like a chicken tractor but with out the coop part. I would place a roost in it so they could have some entertainment. But would I need to put a nest box in for four hens? They would only be in the run during the day and in their coop at night. They would have a nesting box in their coop, but once they are in the run, they can't go back into the coop. Do hens lay eggs during the day, at night, or both? Do I need a nesting box? Since we live in the rainy Pacific Northwest, I would have a something solid covering at least half of the top of the run. Probably part of a couple of the sides to. I would also have food and water in the run, but I don't want the food to get wet. Do you have any suggestions about what material for the roof and what material for the sides? The chickens would only be in the run during the day, and in their safe from predators coop during the night. Does the run need to be a certain size for them? It doesn't have to be high because I want to keep the weight down but I want a door that I can go in, I don't have to stand up straight once inside, and the chickens can go in (they can use the same door). Does this seem like a good idea? Do you have any ideas, suggestions, or comments? I would love to know. If anyone has any pictures of something like this that would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
  2. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Well the problem that I see with your idea is how are you intending to move them to the coop everynight?? Dusk falls at different times during the year, and there is always work, family events, whatever else do to at different times....
    They will put themselves to bed if they can, which is really nice!

    I suggest that you just build a full chicken tractor. The way I see it, you are going to go out and move them to bed every evening, right? One night you get a little lazy and think "oh what the heck, they'll be fine" and since it was so easy, eventually you just start leaving them out in their "run" all the time anyway.......I know that's what I'd do. [​IMG]

    Chickens lay eggs all throuought the day so they will need a nestbox in their portable pen. Their cycle can be about 23-26 hours, so their laying time can cycle through the day (9am one day, 10 am the next, 11am or 12pm the next day...then a day off)
  3. littlepeepers

    littlepeepers Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 11, 2010
    Thanks for the advice about the nest boxes, i think that that'll have to become part of the plan.

    As for leaving them in there, I am a very doting mama to my chickies. They will have a fantastic coop that I will want them to be in at night. Especially because they need to be in their coop for their safety. To get them in and out I might have a pop door in their coop and a little ladder going into the run and have them go in that way, or I have a herding dog, maybe I could train her to herd chickens, she trys to herd my other dog so why not chickens? I would figure something out for getting them out of the coop and into the run. That isn't the biggest problem for me. I could figure out a way that works. Thanks!
  4. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    If you build a little pop door that slides up, instead of one that is hinged, you can dock a tractor to your run quite easily. Once they learn that the tractor means getting out on fresh grass, I think they'll be happy to get in it. Bribes of a favorite treat should help them transfer back and forth at first.
  5. ericsplls

    ericsplls Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2010
    If the coop is still in the planning stages you could build a moveable run and a pop door on each side of the coop. That way you can move the run around the coop and keep them on something fresh. Otherwise I would just build a tractor. There's not much point in building a large nice coop if they are only going in it too roost at night. Is there any way you could build the coop portable also.
  6. littlepeepers

    littlepeepers Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 11, 2010
    We are converting an old shed into a chicken coop, so we have to work with what we have. They won't have a chicken mansion because we don't have the room to do that. I want them to have a chicken run mansion though. Their coop will only be 5 by 4 so I want them to have a bigger area to roam. I don't want to build a chicken tractor for safety and protection issues, but if we have a portable chicken run then they will still be safe. We plan on only having one pop door but I don't see that a problem because I will be able to move get them into their run. I love the idea of using treats to entice them into the run, it already works now to get them to come to you. [​IMG]
  7. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    I have been doing this very thing for my flock for almost a year now. I have a stationary coop/run (two actually), but also a moveable tractor for daytime use only. It has been absolutely no problem whatsoever to train my chickens to go into the tractor in the morning (I got them used to it by throwing scratch in there to begin with), and then to move them back to their night time coop. Chickens love routine!

    There's a picture of my tractor on my BYC page, but I'm in the process of building a new one. The old one had several design flaws. When I built it, my hens weren't laying yet, and I forgot to allow for putting in a nestbox. The access door I built was too small, so I had to put a trapdoor in the roof to put in a nestbox. It was a hassle, because I had to take it out when I moved the coop and put it back in afterwards. The tractor had no ran protection, either, so I had to skip using it on rainy days.

    The new tractor I'm building is an A frame type. It's 8 feet by 8 feet, and about 4 feet tall at the middle. It has a nice big access door on one end. I think I'm going to use corrugated panels on part of it to provide rain protection for the chickens and the feed (don't want the feed getting wet). Right now, all of my hens are broody, though, so no one is using the tractor. I've got some time to figure out how to finish it up.
  8. Jen71

    Jen71 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2010
    I like the idea of using a stationary coop and a mobile tractor.
    Why are you opposed to using a tractor as your portable run? If you will need to include food, water, and a nesting box, it makes sense to have a tractor, don't you think?
  9. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

    Oct 18, 2009
    Quote:Here's the link to my Chicken Tractor/Forager, which does exactly what your looking for and is intended for those same purposes you propose. Chickens will need nesting boxes in the tractor because they lay eggs during light hours, they sleep at night. They really only need a roost for sleeping, but you can add one if it makes you happy. Our tractor was designed to protect our birds only against hawks, it's not really designed to protect them from other predators.
  10. MamaChick0708

    MamaChick0708 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 17, 2016
    I know this is a really old thread but I am curious how long you think it took you to train the chickens to go to the tractor and did you move it after they were in? I'm contemplating putting these wheels from an old wagon on my run so that I can load my chickens and then wheel them around the yard to fresh grass and also so when my husband mows the lawn I can help them not be so freaked out!

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