How to Build a Cheap Chicken Run: Tips and Tricks for Budget-Friendly Coops.
One of the most important considerations is providing your feathered friends with a safe and secure place to live. A chicken run is a necessary addition to your coop that will allow your birds to roam around freely while keeping them protected from predators. However, the cost of building a chicken run can quickly add up.
In this article, I’ll share my tips and tricks for building a chicken run on a budget.
Step 1: Determine the Size and Location of Your Chicken Run
Before you start building your chicken run, you need to determine the appropriate size and location for your feathered friends. The size of the chicken run should be based on the number of chickens you have and the amount of space you want to provide for them to move around. As a general rule, each chicken should have at least 10 square feet of space in the run to ensure they have enough room to stretch their wings and move about comfortably.
When selecting a location for your chicken run, you should look for a sunny area that is well-drained and level. This will help to prevent water from pooling in the run and will ensure that your chickens have a dry and comfortable environment to live in. Additionally, you should choose a location that is easily accessible from your coop, so your chickens can easily move between their living space and the run. It’s also important to ensure that the location provides adequate ventilation to allow fresh air to circulate and to prevent the buildup of moisture and odors in the run.
Taking the time to carefully plan the size and location of your chicken run will help to ensure that your chickens are happy, healthy, and have plenty of space to roam around in. By providing your feathered friends with a safe and secure area to enjoy the outdoors, you can create a happy and healthy home for your flock.
Step 2: Choose the Right Materials
Building a chicken run can be an expensive endeavor, but with a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can create a budget-friendly coop for your feathered friends. One of the most important factors in building a cheap chicken run is selecting the right materials.
Fortunately, there are many low-cost options available for constructing your chicken run. One of the most popular materials for building a chicken run is chicken wire. This is a versatile and affordable material that can be used to create a secure enclosure for your chickens. When choosing chicken wire, look for a heavy gauge wire that is at least 2 inches tall to prevent predators from getting in. Another option is hardware cloth, which is a sturdy wire mesh that is more expensive than chicken wire but provides better protection against predators.
You can also repurpose materials to build your chicken run. Old pallets can be used to create the framework of your chicken run, while recycled wood or corrugated metal roofing can provide a roof for your enclosure. Using repurposed materials not only saves you money, but it also helps to reduce waste and minimize your environmental impact.
Another affordable material to consider is PVC piping. This lightweight and durable material can be used to create a sturdy frame for your chicken run. Simply cut the PVC pipe to the appropriate size and shape, and use connectors to assemble the frame. Once you’ve built the frame, you can attach chicken wire or other materials to create the walls of your chicken run.
In summary, there are many inexpensive options available, including:
- Pallets: Pallets are a great option for building the walls of your chicken run. They are often available for free from local businesses and can be easily dismantled and reassembled.
- Chicken wire: Chicken wire is a lightweight and affordable option for covering the top of your chicken run. It is also available in a variety of sizes and gauges.
- T-posts: T-posts are an affordable option for securing the chicken wire to the ground.
- Recycled materials: Consider using recycled materials such as old fence posts or scrap lumber to build your chicken run.
Step 3: Build the Frame
Step 3 in building a chicken run involves constructing the frame of the run. The frame will provide the structure and support for the walls and roof of the run, ensuring that it is sturdy and secure.
To start, you will need to gather the necessary materials for building the frame. This may include T-posts, pallets, screws or nails, and any other materials you plan to use for the walls and roof of the run.
Begin by placing the T-posts in the ground at equal intervals around the perimeter of the run. These posts will serve as the vertical supports for the frame. Make sure they are firmly in place and level before proceeding.
Next, it’s time to attach the pallets to the T-posts to create the walls of the run. This can be done by screwing or nailing the pallets to the posts, making sure they are securely fastened. It’s important to leave a small opening for the door, which can be cut out using a saw or other cutting tool.
Step 4: Cover the Top with Chicken Wire
Step 4 in building a chicken run involves covering the top of the run with chicken wire. This step is important because it will prevent predators from entering the run and harming your chickens.
To begin, unroll the chicken wire and attach one end to the top of the run, making sure to leave enough excess to cover the entire top. Then, stretch the chicken wire across the top of the run and attach the opposite end to the frame. Make sure the chicken wire is taut and there are no gaps or holes where predators could enter.
Once the chicken wire is in place, you can begin securing it to the sides of the run. This can be done using staples or zip ties, depending on your preference. Make sure the chicken wire is securely fastened to the frame to ensure that it provides adequate protection for your chickens.
When covering the top of the run with chicken wire, it’s important to choose a wire mesh that is sturdy and durable. Look for wire mesh with a small enough mesh size to prevent predators from squeezing through, while still allowing plenty of airflow and sunlight to enter the run.
Step 5: Install the Door
The final step in building your chicken run is to install the door. This will allow you to easily access the inside of the run and care for your chickens.
To begin, measure the size of the opening you left in the wall of the run for the door. Then, cut a piece of chicken wire to the appropriate size using wire cutters. Be sure to leave a little bit of excess wire on each side to allow for attachment to the frame.
Next, attach the chicken wire to the opening using staples or zip ties. Make sure the wire is securely fastened to the frame and that there are no gaps or holes where predators could enter.
If desired, you can also attach hinges and a latch to the door to make it easy to open and close. This can be done using screws and a drill.
When choosing a latch for your chicken run door, consider using a carabiner or padlock to ensure that predators cannot gain access to your chickens. It’s important to make sure that the latch is secure and cannot be easily manipulated by animals or humans.
Step 6: Add Accessories
Adding accessories to your chicken run is an important step in creating a comfortable and functional space for your chickens. Roosting bars are essential, as chickens like to perch at night while they sleep. You can purchase pre-made roosting bars or create your own using sturdy branches or wooden dowels.
A water dispenser is also essential to keep your chickens hydrated. You can purchase a water dispenser from a farm supply store or make your own using a plastic container with a spout. Similarly, a feeder can be purchased or made from recycled materials like plastic containers.
You may also want to consider adding some entertainment for your chickens. Items such as a hanging cabbage or a dust bath can keep your chickens happy and active. A dust bath can be made using a shallow container filled with sand, ash, and diatomaceous earth. Chickens love to roll around in the mixture, which helps keep their feathers clean and free from parasites.
In conclusion, building a chicken run on a budget is definitely possible. By choosing the right materials and following these simple steps, you can create a safe and secure space for your chickens to roam around freely. Happy building!