It may come as no surprise that our baby chickens don’t stay small for long. In fact, you start out looking at fluffy chicks and with 6 to 8 days, they’ll begin to grow their first feathers. By 8 weeks, they’re fully featured and ready to move outside. When you realize your chicks are no longer babies, you may start thinking about giving them more space. For many homesteaders, that means moving the chicks to an existing coop and then building a run to attach to it, so the chicks have plenty of room to move and grow.
If you’re like most people, you may begin doing a lot of research into building a run for an existing coop. Perhaps you’re handy with tools and can easily create the perfect run. However, if you’re like me, you don’t want to attempt anything too elaborate because your skills may not match your imagination.
No matter where you fall in the building skills range, anyone can make a chicken run. In fact, we made one with a few masonry ladders, chicken wire, wire cutters, and some plain wire. You’ll also need a circular saw to cut a hole in your existing coop but be sure to save it in case you need to make a closable door. A staple gun would also be handy to connect your newly-made chicken run to the coop so the chicks can’t escape.
Here’s a quick DIY for you.
- 1 roll of chicken wire from Home Depot or other home improvement store
- Wire to hold the chicken wire to masonry ladders (You could also use zip ties)
- 3 – 8-foot masonry ladders
- Wire cutters
- Circular saw, if needed
- Staple gun
Place your masonry ladders so they form a short tunnel on one end of the existing coop (a chunnel if you will – chicken+tunnel=chunnel). You do this by connecting the three ladders together with wire every six or so inches for the entire length of the ladder.
Cover the tunnel with chicken wire and use wire to secure it to the masonry ladders. Be sure to leave about 2-3 inches of extra chicken wire at the open end so you can attach the run to the coop and about 8 inches at the end that will be closed.
On the end that will be closed, cut the wire from the edge to the end of the ladder. Fold the chicken wire down so all three are covering the end. Add wire to keep the end closed.
Use a circular saw to cut a 10×10 hole in the side of the coop. Be sure to save the wood to make a closable door if your area gets too cold at night.
Cut the wire on the open end from the edge to the end of the ladder. Fold the chicken wire out so there is room to staple the run to the side of the coop. Once you’re out of the way, don’t be surprised if the chicks make a bee-line to check out the what’s on the other side of the wall.
This project was seriously so cheap and easy. The chickens love it and happily hop from one “room” to the other. You’ll feel better knowing the chicks will have more space to spread out and scratch.
What do you think?
**Note** Some of you are going to think I am CRAZY, but rest assured, we don’t have a lot of predators where we live that can get at our chickens. The worst that we encounter are stray cats and they can’t get into this run. However, if your area has more predators, be sure to fasten the run securely to the coop and to the ground so your chicks will remain safe.
Oh and, you can put babies in it, too.
Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, 4th Edition: Breed Selection, Facilities, Feeding, Health Care, Managing Layers & Meat Chickens
This book by Gail Damerow is for serious poultry farmers and those who are new to raising chickens. It has the information you need for shelters, food, health care, chicks, eggs, and so much more. It is 424 pages of helpful information.
This book by Judy Pangman has 176 pages and will be helpful whether you have 2 chickens or a flock of 1000! The coops in this book range from fashionable backyard structures to large-scale, moveable structures. Also included are ideas for turning sheds and low-cost materials into shelters for your chickens.
Written by Kevin McElroy, this book has 14 complete building plans for chicken houses that are functional to fabulous. With 192 page book, you will find helpful information whether you’re just starting your journey keeping chickens or you’ve had them for years.
If you’re considering getting chicks for the first time, this book by Lisa Steele is a great addition to your library. The book includes subjects from The Basics, Quick and Easy Projects, to Weekend Projects, and more. Take a look and you’ll be glad you did.
Perhaps you won’t need a chicken coop run for a while yet but don’t feel you really have the time, skills, or materials, to make one. You can find small enclosures that can be used as a chicken run online that are easy to set up like these:
PawHut 87” x 41” Outdoor Metal Pet Enclosure, Small Animal Playpen Run for Rabbits, Chickens, Cats, Small Animals
This pet enclosure is perfect if you want to allow your pets some room to roam outside. Made of a durable steel frame, it is a safe environment that will enable your pets to play without fear of weather or predators.
Easy to setup with no tools required, it can be used indoors or outdoors. Made of a sturdy steel frame, there are four doors to allow you to put your pets into or take your pets out of the enclosure.
You will easily be able to access any part of the chicken coop because it has two doors and a metal locking system. The Wooden Chicken Coop is easy to fold up for storage and has carrying handle. It’s great for chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, ducks and other small animals. It is 20” highx45.7” widex41” deep.