Chickens part 5

Blading a chicken run is simple, proving you have: all the right tools; all of the supplies ready; all the help you can get your hands on and some forethought about it all. It’s would be the ideal situation, alas not mine.

I have looked at so many chicken run designs, it’s scary. Images, plans and real life runs, all have their benefits when designing your own. You must consider how much space you have first, how much space do you want for your chickens?

-Battery style: 6″x6″ per chook.
-Barn style: 24″x24″ per chook.
-Free range: 40″x40″ per chook.
(These are based on current chicken farming methods in the UK.)

Personally, even the free range method seems a bit harsh, the run I’ve designed is 2mx4m, which fills the space by my garage. You also need to consider the location. Of your run: is it sheltered? Is it sunny? Grass underneath? In the middle of your garden? Will the neighbours complain about its location/smell? (Always check with them first, just in case they will have a problem. Even if they do, you can still build it and bribe them with eggs!)

Mine is sheltered on 3 sides, doesn’t have the sun n it all day and has some nice soil below it to work with.currently it is where my chickens are in their small run (which has some slabs and bricks underneath to protect the wood from perishing in the soil.) I did consider housing the chickens in my garden, on the grass, but from what I’ve read and people have told me, that would mean the end of my garden!

The design I had seemed good on paper, all to scale, all the pieces were there, everything seemed like it would work.

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The design you see is the one I adapted after re-thinking my design over. I originally hadn’t made it to show the thickness of the wood and I did consider building a cuboid and then an extension to the top for the roof, but changed my mind as this way saved wood.

You should also note, that I still am unsure about everything I have bought for it as I changed it consistently as I went, but this sketch is pretty accurate, minus the numbers. The tools i would advise for this project, to make it easier and quicker at least, are:

– Table top circular saw (a normal saw would work, but will un even you arm muscle size!)
– Hammer drill (standard will work, but this hides the screws deeper)
– Steal set framing right angle ( makes your lines straight)
– Drill piece set ( you never know what you might need.)
– Hammer
– Pencil
– Tape measure
– Staple gun and rounded staples (tacks may also work)

I’m sure there are more things, but these are the essentials.

As for resources, I bought everything from Wickes, as the local timber yard didn’t have the amount of wood I wanted. Wickes does a bulk buy and offers lots of types of wood. On my budget though, the stud work wood was cheapest and best, I will probably paint it or treat the wood myself. Also the chicken wire I found on eBay, £43 including delivery, cheaper than even the local farm shop and other wire fencing online stores.

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What has been used is as follows:

– 35x 2.4m 1.5″x2.5″ timber ( stud work from Wickes, cut to the following lengths)

– 6 x 2.3m 1.5″x2.5″ timber (taller side)
– 6 x 2.1m 1.5″x2.5″ timber (shorter side)
– 32 x diagonally cut 20cm 1.5″x2.5″ timber (corner supports, created form left over trimmings)
– 200 x 4″ decking screws (star top, not philips or flat)
– 8x 1.8m PVC corrugated roofing.
– 100 x roofing screws and rubber seals.
– 2 x 2,4m decking boards.
– 50m of 25mm, 1.2m wide chicken wide. ( 50mm is too big)

When building it, I tried to make sure I had measured and cut the wood first, this made it easier when piecing it together later.

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After this, I laid it all out, in roughly the shape I wanted. There were three ways to connect the main frame together:

-Top and bottom beams on top and underneath of the side beams.(strongest structurally)
-Top and bottom beams in between the side beams(weaker, but at a shorter height)
-Top and bottom beams alternating (box building style)

I was opting for the between method, but I mis cut my wood and used the first method, which is a better form of structure anyway.

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Being England and also April, it then commenced pouring down with rain all day. So I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to carry on.

Next tasks are: drilling holes for screws, screwing, cutting 45 degree spurt struts and then screwing them in place.

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