Under deck chicken run

Turanga Leela

In the Brooder
Sep 22, 2019
12
4
26
I am new to chickens and am getting ready to construct my coop and run. I plan on letting the chickens free range in my back yard, which has a 5' welded wire fence on all sides. I want to enclose the area under my deck to use as a chicken run for when we are away for a weekend or need to keep them contained. It will be 4 ft high, and about 320 sqft of run area for 6 hens. I know it'll be a pain to clean, but I like the idea of using this formerly dead space.

My big concern is that I used a harsh chemical deck cleaner on the deck in April. I washed it off and it's rained a lot since then, sometimes torrentially, so I assume a lot of the residual chemicals have run off. However, I am concerned about letting my chickens into an area that was exposed to those chemicals.

Also, I want to enclose the run with chicken wire, not hardware cloth. At night the hens will be locked in their coop, and the outdoor feeder I'll be using claims to keep 99% of the food in the bucket, and I'll also cap the feeder port holes at night to prevent rats and mice from entering. So I'm not super worried about critters (yet) due to my yard fencing, run fencing, and plan to keep food spillage to a minimum. The run fencing will be to keep the chickens in, rather than predators out. I may be naive to the threat of predators? I've never even seen a squirrel in my yard, for reference. We do live near a lot of woods, though.

Thoughts on the deck cleaner chemicals, and the chicken wire run plan in general? Thanks for any and all insight.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,496
39,349
1,106
southern Michigan
Welcome!
Crawling under a four ft. tall deck will get old very fast, and you will need to be there more often than you think. At least, consider using a shallow portion of the area only, so you can reach under the deck, not crawl far.
Your run needs some bedding, like bagged shavings, dry plant materials, or some combination, or the dirt will really smell awful after a while, and then be hard to clean out.
Hopefully whatever you used on the deck will be diluted out enough by now. Look up the product's MSDS for better information, and you should be covering that ground anyway.
You are thinking what most of us thought when we first got chickens; they will be fine with this fencing. It's a nice thought, but just not so.
Hardware cloth!!! Post plans for your coop and run, maybe we can all help.
Chickens are fun to have, but predator protection is a big deal, and making their coop and run user friendly for both you and the birds will pay off.
Mary
 

Turanga Leela

In the Brooder
Sep 22, 2019
12
4
26
Thank you for your feedback! So today, I went under the deck and raked out all the dead grass and debris, which was definitely a challenge to do bent over. So that's something to think about. With fencing all around, I wouldn't have access from the outside of the deck area to reach in to clean it. But.... I really like the idea of using the under deck space because it already has a metal roof for cover, it doesn't get snowy in winter, and it's easy to enclose with fencing due to all the existing posts. But yes, access will be very challenging!

If I do decide to use this area, and I use hardware cloth, should I dig it down below the surface of the grass (say, 1 foot down) so the fencing is buried? How far down should I dig to discourage burrowing critters?

I will post pictures in a bit of the prefab coop I ordered, and deck area for feedback. Thanks so much!
 

Turanga Leela

In the Brooder
Sep 22, 2019
12
4
26
20190922_153920.jpg
20190922_153800.png
 

Turanga Leela

In the Brooder
Sep 22, 2019
12
4
26
Dimensions? It looks dark and underventilated, without windows on at least one other wall.
Mary
It's 16 sq ft, I believe. No windows, just the vent. I'd need a solar light, I believe. I'm not very handy. I debated between this coop and the Keter resin
20190922_155155.png
4x6 garden shed
 

Folly's place

Enabler
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,496
39,349
1,106
southern Michigan
A walk-in structure is best if at all possible. At this time of year, garden sheds might be discounted at the big box stores, and they do work well, with added ventilation and hardware cloth covered window openings. You will want larger than you think!!!
At least four sq. ft. of floor space for each bird, and more is better.
Mary
 

TwoShepherds

Crowing
Apr 4, 2019
819
4,279
367
Southeast TN
I thought about putting our coop just a few feet away from our house/deck but ultimately changed my mind when I did some research and realized that coops can attract mice/rats/flies and other vermin. I can't tell from your picture if the deck is around a pool or your house. If it's your house, you might want to reconsider building a run under there....?
 

MANNA-PRO

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom