A few weeks ago a storm blew part of a tree down in the yard. No big deal, you would think, but it landed on my chicken’s run.
We were able to trim all the smaller bits off, but the main part is still attached to the trunk. The run was usable in the meantime, just still very dangerous. I would have to duck walk across the length of it to open and close the pop door. The birds had to live under it. It was nerve wracking and causing a lot of anxiety all around.
As you can see, it was not very safe at all. We had constant raccoon incursions because there was no good way to secure the run at night. We finally did manage to kill one and figure out where she was getting in, but there was no way around it: We had to rebuild.
My husband Travis is a carpenter, and a very good one at that. Here is his beautiful and, most importantly, SECURE run:
We took down an old barn a few years ago so have piles of this corrugated metal laying all over the place. We lined the bottoms of the walls to discourage critters from digging their way in. It is staked down to allow us to mow around it.
It has a fully covered roof now, too, to help keep rain and snow out. The litter gets soaked otherwise and becomes a vector for disease. If anything, we want to prevent trench foot.
The metal is double-height in the back to help keep predators out. It wraps around the coop, as secure as we could make it. We ran our chicken wire around the run, then secured the metal down over it to make it more difficult for predators to rip apart. It should be hardware cloth all around it, because chicken wire is really only good at keeping chickens out of things, but this works for us for now. In the spaces between the studs, the chicken wire is secured to the metal with strips of wood, and where the wire overlaps, we have “sewn” it together with metal wire.
The inside of the back has a small, hardware cloth vent to allow for the shape of the coop and for air circulation. The door is an old screen door that we reinforced with hardware cloth and more metal. Their food is also protected from becoming a wet lump.
My birds are happy and safe, and I don’t have to crouch to take care of them. We’re a happy bunch, thanks to my husband!