The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Poultry & Waterfowl => Topic started by: sellickbhoy on February 20, 2009, 06:29:46 pm

Title: My new chicken run
Post by: sellickbhoy on February 20, 2009, 06:29:46 pm

I've just finished building a chicken run, it's 20' by 20' and 6' high, it's made of wooden scaffold boards (very very heavy!)

anyway, I've planted willow around the inside and outside of it, with the plan that the roots will form an inpeneterable barrier under ground - to stop anything trying to dig in, and i can weave it into a lattice to, that should grow to about 8-15ft tall - to stop anything coming in over the top.

I have 5 inch gaps between the boards too, at the moment, i've not put any plastic coated metal wire to fill these, as the growing willow should also cover that in a few months.

this "run" is really jsut for when i'm not home and unable to let them roam the garden. But if i had to keep them in there more or less full time, how many would be comfortable in that sort of size? I'm about to build some perches and obstacles to put in there for them to play with too.

do you think my run sounds like it will be safe enough? or should i put some wire mesh up over the gaps in the fence as well?

Was also thinking of growing my own food to feed them - is it worht putting some narrow raised beds in there to grow comfry/lettuce etc for them - or will they just devour it instantly? Would it be best to put the beds out of the run and just chuck in the occasional bit of veg?

Title: Re: My new chicken run
Post by: Fluffywelshsheep on February 20, 2009, 06:43:04 pm
well done it sound a really good structor :)
you hae to take some photos of it
Title: Re: My new chicken run
Post by: sellickbhoy on February 20, 2009, 07:18:51 pm
well, i'm told the willow will grow 6-8feet between spring and autumn. So it won't really start to look the way it does in my minds eye until about August!

the only down side to the thing is that you can't really see in to watch the wee blighters. but that's not a big problem as i intend to let them out when i'm home.

in the meantime, it's gonna serve as a run for my dog.
Title: Re: My new chicken run
Post by: Hilarysmum on February 22, 2009, 02:27:25 pm
No experience of growing chicken food inside the run.  What about putting a couple of sods in each day they will eat the grass then the roots and scratch the earth around the pen.  (Well mine do).  Although mine have recently discovered a new food source  -----  frogs.  Urgh.  I knew the ducks rooted around to find the frogs but since the demise of our paddling cockerel some years back, have never known them to be interested in frogs.  Its not pleasant.
Title: Re: My new chicken run
Post by: rustyme on February 22, 2009, 02:46:30 pm
it would be best to grow anything you want to feed the chickens outside the run, as they will just scratch up anything grown inside . You could grow stuff in large pots and place them in there when ready and then remove them to regrow again. Comfrey will give you about 2lb or so per plant per cut and 4 or 5 cuts per year, when established . Grain ( wheat , oats , barley and rye) will yield about 1-2lb of grain per square yard so is very easy to work out how much you need to grow to supply some or all of the chickens food. Most veg can be given to your chickens , either surplus from your veg garden or just the waste from your kitchen. Things like cabbages etc can be hung up with string or something and the chickens will spend hours pecking at it till it is all gone.
 Oh and watch the gaps in the boards...foxy can easily slip through a 5" gap if there is something he wants the other side !!!!


Title: Re: My new chicken run
Post by: Crofter on February 22, 2009, 03:47:26 pm
We planted willow on the inside of our chicken field fence as a windbreak.  The little blighters pecked all the shoots out of it!  Had to put a pallet fence up in front of it until it grows a bit.

Title: Re: My new chicken run
Post by: sellickbhoy on February 22, 2009, 08:09:16 pm
thanks, think i'll grow the veg in containers and it can be added in/removed as needed. there are a few tre branches overhanging the run, so i can hang letuce/cabbage from that for them to peck at

i'm gonna put willow inside and out of the run, but think i'll put the plastic coated wire up as well - belt and braces stuff!

thanks for the tips
Title: Re: My new chicken run
Post by: Hilarysmum on February 24, 2009, 06:42:45 am
Sounds like your going to have some very happy hens ;D