A home for our chickens
When we first decided to get chickens I did a lot of research by reading magazines, books and all sorts on the Internet. There was so much to take in, but that’s what I enjoy – it was all new to me.
There were two main points that were high on the priority list and everything revolves around these;
- Happy & healthy – the chickens must be happy in the environment we provide. Happy chickens should mean healthy chickens.
- Ease of maintenance – A coop and run that is easy to maintain is a must.
Starting with the coop, I really liked the look of the Omlet Eglu coops but I have to admit the price is very offputting. I kept an eye on eBay and in a stroke of luck I found and won an Eglu Go coop that I could pick up on the way to an office I was visiting the following week. The Eglu coops are made from plastic which pretty much evades the risk of a red-mite infestation, the red-mite live and hide in the crevices in wooden coops so with a plastic coop there are less suitable hiding places! There’s also the benefit of being able to wash the coop down with water. The Eglu Go is suitable for upto 4 medium size chickens so is perfect for us.
The walk-in run
So that was step one out of the way, we have a nice coop that will help towards a comfortable and healthy life for our future chickens. Next I had to design the walk-in chicken run. My idea was to put the coop inside the run, on a stand so it is a couple of feet off the floor. There is a metal stand available for the Eglu Go but we didn’t have that so I opted to build one, we could argue that red mites might move in to these wooden sections and cause havoc so a generous coating of Diatomaceous Earth should help.
Firstly I sketched out how I would build the coop so I could get the right amount of timber ordered. The timber came from a local merchant and cost about £120.
It was then a relatively quick job to build the frames for the sides and roof. It is a rectangle that measures approximately 3.6m x 2m with a 2m pent roof dropping to about 1.8m. The run has three sides, one of the shorter sides is completed by a storage shed that it mates up against.
A test run of the frames proved that it was all going in the right direction.
A 30m roll of 36″ wide welded wire mesh with 1″ holes was sourced via eBay for £27 and was nailed to the framing with heavy staples. This was a fiddly job but it all started to take shape very quickly.
I was working on the run when I could in between other things so it stayed like this for a few weeks.
Next I built the door and made a stand for the coop to sit on.
Inside the run we made a platform and steps leading up to the coop and used some logs from a tree we trimmed to create a perch with matching steps.
Then came the roof. I used cheap corrugated plastic sheeting, the fixings were expensive in comparison to the sheets. I think the roofing sheets were under £5 each and the fixings were £5 for 10!
I then used shiplap planks to create shelter on the coop side of the run. The idea is that the ground should stay quite dry because of the roof and the shiplap will block wind and sun to create a sheltered area.
And the (nearly) finished article looks like this. I made a fold down door to allow access to the coop, zip-tied some cane fencing to the rear of the run and added paving around the edges to stop digging predators like foxes. The paving still needs to be properly laid and levelled, that’s a job for another day!
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