Will this idea for a portable run be ok in my area?

Clucky Me

In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 12, 2013
Staten Island, NY
First, I want to assure everyone that I wouldn't even try it if I didn't plan on being PRESENT while I allowed them in. Here is the idea.

I was thinking, because my yard isn't that great for free ranging being it has lots of cemented areas...

In addition to allowing them to free range in what they can after I predator proof my already fenced in yard...

Can I build a portable enclosure with PVC pipes attached to stakes to dig in the ground or heavy flower pots, that can be situated to enclose them by then wrapping polyresin poultry netting around?

Picture this... I have a front yard that has some more grass as well as a few flower beds that I wouldn't mind them in. Now, I have a fenced in and gated side to the house that leads from the back to the front but the front is NOT FENCED IN.

I was thinking that I could lead them down that side of the house and open the gate to the front AFTER I would have set up this temporary run. Keep in mind that I live in Staten Island where there aren't that many predators out during the day that would bother them while I am present but... I don't know if this would be strong enough to keep them in or how high I would have to go with the poultry netting. Maybe two layers high?

I am thinking of doing this so that they can get more of a grassy area as I only have two strips of grass in the back. One is about maybe 20 feet long by five feet wide. Another outline section that is about 2 feet wide by 20 feet or so long and then we have a large river rock area (IS RIVER ROCK OK ON THEIR FEET?) with a fire pit and off to the side of that, we have another area of bushes with just dirt fill that is about 4 feet wide by 12 feet long.

The rest of the yard is cement and pavers and an inground pool! Oh! Would doing this project be something I should also do around pool??

Whew! I hope everyone an understand what I am trying to do with this explanation.

I have been getting ready to make a tractor run using a 10 by 10 canopy that is currently part of a temporary run until I can make my permanent run. I plan to use 2by2's at the edge of the canvas and at the bottom of the legs for strength and to staple on the chicken wire. Firring strips screwed on 2 sides of the legs should be good for stapling on the chicken wire to the sides. Because the chicken wire is not wide enough to cover from top to bottom I may have to add 2by2's halfway down the legs but this will allow me to add 2by2's at the corners for roosts. I will add 2 wheels at one end and a handle at the other, a door and a place to hold the water and I should ready to go. The canopy was cheap to begin with but one leg got bent on a trip so it's folding days were over anyway. I should be able to move it around even with the chickens still inside (they may cluck a little).
I built my first outdoor run with PVC pipe. I use 1" pipe, and the run was 15x15, 7 feet high, all covered with chicken wire. It worked fine in the spring, summer and fall, but in the winter, snow would accumulate on the chicken wire roof, and it collapsed several times on me. PVC gets brittle from sunlight, and also from the cold, so from my experience, it won't last more than 1-2 years. Last summer I tore it all down, and build a permanant run, and this made my life so much easier in the winter.

Does anyone think this spot will work for a Coop all enclosed with hardware cloth? I don't plan on having more than 4 chickens and I will be ables to let them free range in the yard.



The more narrow pic is of the access to the back of the larger pic and the size of the larger area is 3 feet 5 inches wide and 11 feet long. It narrows toward the back at 3 feet 2 inches. I was thinking I would put the Coop on legs so they have all eleven feet to roam until I let them out. If this is too small, I could put them in a larger spot but it gets way too much sun in the summer in that area.

I wish I could use the shed that is in the pic but it is being used. Notice the area I want to put it had river rock. Is that bad for their feet? I would put down wood chips on top but I don't know if that would be ok on top of the rock. I could rake all that rock away but I thought it might be good for drainage and keeping them dry but I don't know if they are too big or if I should put small gravel or something else?

Thanks for all the advice
If you fence in the area for a coop and run and still let them out in a yard, you should be fine for 4 birds. The rule of thumb is 4 sq ft per bird inside the coop, and 10 sq ft in the run. River rock should be OK as it is smooth rock. The only thing I would look out for is to make sure the rock does not get hot. You could hose off the rock every couple of days to clean it from the mess the birds make. Personally I use river sand, which is a rough sand, and this allows the bords to scratch around in it which they can't do in large rock.
I buy my sand in bulk from a local hardware store. You can also check concrete dealers and quarries, they will sell it as well. My run is 15x15, and takes 3 yards worth which is about 6000 lbs of sand for a 4-5 inch base. You could make the base as shallow as 2 inches and it would be fine. I have access to a 6 yard hydraulic dump trailer, so hauling it home is not that big of a deal. It cost me $90 for the sand. If I had bought it from a big blue or orange box store, it would have been $400 for 120 fifty pound bags. I just built a walkway to the coop, and 3000 lbs of bulk crushed stone cost me $37, and the big boxes wanted $200! All that mark up for putting the stone in a plastic bag!

You can calculate the amount of sand you need by googling "cubic yard calculator". The first result from the natural gardner lets you put in the length and width of the area (in feet) and the depth (in inches) and it will tell you how many yards you need. If you need a yard or more, I would call around to see how much bulk delivery will run you, as it will still be cheaper than buying it in bags. You also need to factor in how close they can get to the job site with a pickup truck with a dump bed on it - if they can dump it right in, you are golden. But from the look of your pictures, I am guessing you will be using a wheel barrow.

Sand was the best upgrade I made to my coop. It virtually eliminated the mud factor when it rains, and greatly reduced the smell of the run. Everything stays nice and dry - especially once I covered the run with aluminum roofing. No more mud or shoveling snow out of the run!
Yeah that's a good idea Clucky. Your birds will like that.
I'm a cheapskate, + lazy as heck so this is how I make temporary runs; I use deer/bird netting from Lowe's. A roll is 7' tall x 100' long and costs $14 in my area store or 7'x50' rolls are $8. For some reason the same stuff costs twice as much at Home Depot in my area.
You don't need any framework to support it; a piece of construction twine tied between trees, between house & fence, house & shed or whatever is all the support it needs. Just thread the string through top of the mesh about every 18"- 24", like a shower curtain rod effect. Then when you're not using it you can slide it back out of the way, just like a shower curtain. If I install it to an existing wall of a pen 100' makes a temp run that's 40x20, or 800 sq ft.
Hope this helps.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom