Portable run - anybody have any plans?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mcjessen, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. mcjessen

    mcjessen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 22, 2011
    Coeur d Alene ID
    Hello all - my chickens have essentially destroyed my raised bed gardens this year with all their scratching and dust bathing. Yes, I expected it and have let them have free reign my crops have ended for the season.

    Instead of trying to keep them out of the gardens next year, I was thinking of constructing a portable "playpen" for them. It would be something made of wire and wood that I could pick up and move on a daily basis. I am going to provide them a kiddie pool full of dirt and sand next year as well. This would also keep them from pooping at my patio doorstep as they watch the goings on in the house. Yes, they knock on the door and NO they aren't allowed in the house.

    Does anyone have any pictures of a similar "playpen" type enclosure?
     
  2. mpare

    mpare Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 16, 2010
    Dillsburg, PA
    Sorry no pictures or plans, just some experience. We had a 4 x 8 "playpen" that we used for 3 chickens one summer. We moved it daily and the girls loved it. The problem was that 3 grown chickens in a confined space are very hard on the lawn. Pretty soon my yard looked like a giant checker board as you could see the worn out grass / holes where the girls had been playing each day. We could not make the playpen larger because then I would not have been able to move it myself.

    We eventually used the playpen lumber when we made a new coop and run. Now I let the girls free range for an hour each evening before sunset. They do not mess up the grass as much as they have more space to roam. I know I may someday have to deal with a predator, but it is only one hour and I am often in the yard when they are out. They put themselves back to bed when it gets dark and I lock the coop door. So far so good.

    Would it work to simply fence in the garden to keep out the chickens? Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  3. mcjessen

    mcjessen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 22, 2011
    Coeur d Alene ID
    Yes, fencing in the gardens will have to be the way to go. Good point about the girls being in a confined space. Thanks for sharing your insight.
     
  4. fireguy56

    fireguy56 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 2, 2010
    Slidell, Louisiana
    Hi, I'm not sure this is what you have in mind but I built this to exercise our babies that are in brooder...waiting for new coop to be finished. It didn't cost much and could definitely be built taller, longer , wider....yet is light weight, easy to build, easy to move and take apart in sections. I havn't built the top for it yet but plan to soon.
    Erik

    [​IMG] It is made from pve pipe, plastic netting and cable ties(zip ties). Simple
     
  5. chezpoulet

    chezpoulet Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 31, 2010
    Redmond WA
    I have an 8x8( x2 tall ) tractor made out of PVC pipes very similar to that of Fireguy's- I did put netting over the top of the tractor to prevent aerial predators as well, and with the rains starting I have a tarp over it. The girls get to spend 3-4 hours scratching in the lawn after I get home from work, and it also keeps the poop volume down in their run!

    I move the tractor everyday around the yard, so the grass is still doing well, except for the occasional attempts by the girls to dig to China. BTW if one of them has the urge to lay, I can usually tell by the frantic pacing back and forth, and once let out the bird in question will make a beeline for the coop without fail.

    The tractor is NOT predator proof, so supervision is still required, but at least I am no longer chasing them around the yard trying to keep them out of certain areas.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  6. Hopefulloflove

    Hopefulloflove Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 18, 2011
    Benson, NC
    So I've been planning to make a tractor for my girls...something similar to the pvc ones...my question is this..how do you get them from coop/run into tractor? I know, goofy question....
     
  7. Over Easy PA

    Over Easy PA Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 8, 2011
    Thank you, hopefulloflove, for asking the very question that was in my mind! How do you get them into the playpen / tractor from the coop?
     
  8. palmettogroves

    palmettogroves Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 14, 2011
    Brazoria, TX
    This is a 4x8 tractor we built recently. We are working on a house to go on top so they can stay the night in there instead of going back to the egg shack every night. They all spent the day in there when they were babies but now we can keep four to eight in there comfortably.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. chezpoulet

    chezpoulet Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 31, 2010
    Redmond WA
    Quote:It's a question of conditioning. My 5 girls come when called, esp if I am banging the side of a bucket or a tin pan. I used to use treats/pellets to get them in, and these days when I let them out of their run, they run out into the yard, and I usually just need to lift one corner of the tractor and they all pile in. I do give them pellets and treats in the tractor as they do spend 3-4 hours, sometimes longer, in the tractor. The only chicken that we have to occasionally catch is Muffin. She was an addition to the flock, and is at the bottom of the pecking order, so I usually let her free range for a while by herself in the yard before I put her in with the others. She still gets grief from the flock, poor girl, and she is too "chicken" to stand up for herself.

    Sometimes when I am working in the yard, I leave the girls out and I find them pacing the side of the tractor wanting to get in! Go figure!
     
  10. MrsChickendad

    MrsChickendad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lennon, Michigan
    We made up panels as illustrated here.

    [​IMG]

    There are eye bolts at the ends and you just run a plant stake (88ยข at Walmart) down thru the loops to secure the corners. You can use anywhere from 3 panels on up. We have used chicken wire (least favorite), plastic chicken fencing (works good) and hardware cloth (more $$) as the fabric. The frame is 1x3s. If I set up four panels in a square, run one more down the middle, I have two pens. The eye bolts will poke thru the fabric and you can secure it with another plant stake or if it is plastic fencing, it will hold well enough just being forced thru the plastic. Use zip ties to tie the fabric to the frame.

    These have been very easy and inexpensive to construct, easy to use, move and store.

    I use bird netting on the top. I put fairly heavy zip ties around the top of each panel, and leave a bit of "tail" instead of cutting it off. The you can just stretch a piece of netting over the pen and hook it on the zip tie tails. Easy to remove the netting to change feed/water.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011

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