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.