Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The New Chicken Run Is Complete!

After many months of building, the new chicken run is finally done and housing the chickens nicely! Here are two pictures of the old coop before:

And the area where the new run was attached to the existing coop, which was left in place.

I had to give up my clothesline area temporarily.

The new run's framework is tubular steel, which used to be a canopy over our patio. A windstorm pretty much took care of the canopy one night, leaving the steel skeleton. So we recycled it!
As soon as you dig a trench, chickens set to work busily filling it in again.  They should work for Cal Trans, I swear. The race was on to get the hardware cloth up before they obliterated the trench.

Unfortunately one of our elderly little bantam hens, Chicken Sister (she used to have a twin sister, hence her name) in this shot has fallen into the trench we dug to bury the hardware cloth below ground in. Fresh dirt being irresistable to chickens, of course.  She had been looking over her shoulder at ME when I was taking this picture, when she SHOULD have been looking where she was going. This is her, wings outspread, legs dangling in the trench and looking like a chicken pancake, poor baby. Only her dignity was hurt, though.  The other chickens STARING at her didn't help. We lifted her out and she went on her huffy way.

The doorway is framed in and the hardware cloth wire is going up. Sheet metal connects the existing cinder block fence to the canopy framework. We didn't use wire here in order to reduce drafts. The hardware cloth overlaps by several inches to help block rodents and predators.
You'll notice in a lot of these pictures Phoenix and his hens are in the foreground, provided the ever-vital Direct Chicken Supervision that ALL projects require.

The corrugated steel roof going on. J. used steel 2x4's and sprayed in expansion foam to help seal any openings.

The view from the inside. Where the sheets of hardware cloth met, J. overlapped them be several inches and I secured the gaps with UV resistant heavy duty zip ties to keep out rodents, possums, etc. Metal 2x4's form the roof skeleton.

A better look at the sheet metal.

Inside again, looking towards the old coop. We left the old coop as it was and just removed a wire panel off the front of it to create the opening into the new run. The old coop door we closed securely and left as it was.

A better view of the old coop opening and how old and new connect to each other. The old coop door was sealed up.

The wire panel removed and the nest boxes rearranged. You can see the expansion foam in place in the ceiling.

The new door to the run. J. found two identical, perfectly working steel security doors, with locks, keys and doorway framing, sitting curbside one day. Perfect for chicken coops!

There is one more door, which will be installed soon when we attach an 'aviary door' to the run. Aviary doors are just a set of two doors set a few feet from each other, so one is always closed before the other can be opened--it prevents escapes of birds and helps keep predators out. J. is installing a new clothesline for me, it will fit inside the run and stretch from one end of the run to the other. The big metal T stands for the old clothesline we just left. Several banty hens have fallen in love with the one inside the run anyway, and perch on it at night.

So yay, it's done! We've already tested it by going away for Thanksgiving and leaving the chickens housed in it for three days, they did just fine. It's very nice to know that we can now stay out after dark, without having to rush home to put the chickens away.

1 comment:

  1. From my sister:
    I think your chicken run is bigger than our house! Nice work.