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  1. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    I want to build a bigger run for my chickens. They are already big for their ChickNYard, plus I want something that is high enough so I don't have to bend over to get in there.

    I'm handy with a saw and hammer, but not so good at designing... My idea was to make panels out of 2X4X8" treated lumber. I'd like to make it 6' tall by maybe 8' long.

    Then I could make it modular - connect multiple panels in whatever configuration I need by using bolts/nuts/washers. It could grow as the chickens grow, and best of all I could go in there with them in sit a spell.

    I want to let them free range in our 1/2 acre fenced yard, but I feel like I also need a pen attached to the coop for nights and when/if needed...

    Anyone already have plans written up for this type of thing? I'm really lousy figuring out how long to cut the pieces, and the best way to brace it (diagonal braces in the corner maybe, or a support piece across the middle of the panel, etc)
     
  2. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    I wouldn't use 2x4 lumber. That's way too heavy for a moveable panel. Nor pressure treated lumber, too heavy again and not really necessary.

    I haven't done this before, but if I did, this is how I would do it:

    I would use 2x2 lumber. Pick the straightest, knot free pieces you can find. For one panel cut 2 pieces 8' long and 5 pieces 68 1/2" long.

    Mark the two 8 ft pieces every two feet and lay them on a flat surface with the short pieces in between the long boards and lined up on the two foot marks.

    -------------------
    l l l l l
    l l l l l
    l l l l l
    ------------------

    Cut 1 ft x 1 ft triangles out of 1/4" plywood and using 2" ringed shank nails or drywall screws fasten gussets at the four corners and the top and bottom of the middle uprights.

    At this point, test the frame and see if its going to be strong enough with gussets on just one side. If it seems flimsy repeat the gussets on the other side, at least on the four corners.

    Paint the frame with a good heavy coat of exterior latex and then use heavy staples (u shaped nails) to fasten 6 ft wide hardware cloth to the frame.

    Screw in two or three eyebolts at each end of each panel that will mate with eyebolts on other panels. Connect the panels by using a bolt and nut to connect eyebolts on adjacent panels forming little hinges.

    Is that a good enough description?

    -Mac
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Amanda

    Amanda Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 19, 2007
    Dayton, MN
    Quote:Mac~you are good! [​IMG]
     
  4. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    Gee, thanks. The eyebolt thing is kind of iffy. If the ground is uneven they won't line up and they'll leave a slight gap between end to end panels. Heavy cable ties (zip ties) would work to bind panels together rather quickly. If you use the black ones they are UV resistant and won't turn brittle in the sun. The heavy ones that are 1/4" wide and a foot to 18" long are almost indestructable and will really pull two panels together if pulled tight with pliers.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2007
  5. greginshasta

    greginshasta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 26, 2007
    Mount Shasta, CA
    Quote:Mac, what about using lock hasps for these corner connections?

    [​IMG]

    You could insert a wooden wedge-shaped pin for a tighter fit.
     
  6. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    May 8, 2007
    Wisconsin
    My suggestion would be to decide what you want to use for wire and find out what roll widths are available in your area, before you make the final decision on where you want to place your studs.

    In a perfect world, you could get a 6' wide roll of exactly the type of wire you want to use and just run it horizontally. Sometimes you need to work with a 3' or 4' wide roll, for example. You can run wire either horizontally or vertically. It just depends on how you want to do it. With a narrower roll run horizontally, then you'd want a horizontal brace to nail to. Run vertically, you'd want the studs placed so that the wire edges fall on them, for attachment.

    I hope this makes sense! [​IMG]
     
  7. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    Yes, you'd have to modify for the materials at hand. I read that she wanted 6x8 panels, but that may be the overall size of the pen she wants. I would think 4' wide x 6' tall panels with 3 vertical studs would be handy. By keeping the studs on 2' centers you can run 2' or 4' hardware cloth vertically.

    2x2s are 1 3/4" on a side. Whatever height you need just subtract 3 1/2" from what you want the finished height to be to account for the width of the top and bottom plates.

    I was visualizing portable fence sections that would be moved around the yard every now and again, but for a more permanent pen that could be broken down or expanded once in a great while, you can shoot decking screws or lag bolts through the edge of the panels to join them.
     
  8. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    thanks for the ideas! Now it's off to the lumber yard whenever I get a spare minute this week with the kids back in school and having that ole job that hogs so much of my project and chicken time...
     
  9. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    I have started the new and improved, larger chicken run to go with the ChickNBarn and yard. I used some of your suggestions along with some ideas gotten from pics on the website.

    I did decide to go with pressure treated - I just don't want to deal with painting (I'd rather do just about anything other than paint - I HATE to paint!!) and weathering/deterioration, and it's not that much more $$ for this size project.

    I ended up getting 3' hardware cloth for the bottom 1/2 of the panels and 3' 1" chicken wire for the top 1/2. I figured that would help protect them from being grabbed through the wire from any cats or coons.

    I made them a couple inches larger than 6' tall, and 8' wide (just used the length of the lumber). I ended up with 2x4 pressure treated studs, and ripped them down in half to lighten the panels (thanks Mac for that idea). I cut 45 deg angles on the pieces cut off from the 6' sides of the panel (23" long) and used them to brace in each corner, and ran a 8' length about 3' up for stability also. Secured the whole thing with decking screws. My braces also helped me square the whole thing up before putting on the wire.

    looks sort of like this (definately not to scale, but you get the idea)

    ________8'_______
    |/ \\|
    | 1" poultry wire |
    |_______________| 6'
    | |
    | 1/2" Hrdwre cloth |
    |\\______________/|


    I did get the first panel ALMOST done before a t-storm blew in and I had to quit for the evening. I'll see if I can steal a few min between meeting the school bus and getting to work in the morning to finish the panel and post a pic. I only lack putting the hardware cloth on the bottom half.

    I want to finish 2 panels like the one above, and a third with a door in it. I'll connect them to the existing chickNbarn with screws and bolts (for easy reconfiguration) and then make a 4th, shorter panel to connect into the corner of the chickNbarn. The ground is fairly level where I've got the barn, so am going to dig in the panels in the high spot and fill in in the low spots when I bury the wire around for predator proofing, and/or use toe boards to dig down and block any low spots.

    Also, I saw 'deer netting' today at the hardware store when I got my wire. I picked up a pack - 100'x7'. I thought it might work well to cover the top of the run just to keep out any flying predators, and to keep in any overly zealous "I believe I can Fly" chickens. Thoughts on that? Would it be sturdy enough for that purpose? I figure would mostly be a deterrent rather than completely predator proof. We do have a lot of owls around that would take a chick, I'm sure, and also a family of large black ravens that might be tempted (not sure if they hunt, or just are scavengers).

    My plan is to lock them in the more secure ChickNBarn/Run for the night (it has a strong wire-covered top). I'm still hoping to let them run free in the fenced in yard during the daytime, but have come to the realization that until they get a lot bigger, I can't trust my dogs not to give in to their chicken-chasing instincts.

    Susan
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2007
  10. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    May 8, 2007
    Wisconsin
    That all sounds excellent!
     

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