How to Build a Predator-Proof Chicken Run

Share This!

If you’re raising chickens, you’ve probably lost at least a few, so you know how important it is to protect them from predators. Here is how one family built a sturdy, predator-proof chicken run to keep their poultry safe from harm.

Ask any homesteader and they’ll tell you that pretty much everything finds chickens tasty! Whether it’s dogs, raccoons, hawks, or coyotes, odds are good that if you raise chickens, some critter has snacked on a few from time to time.

Keeping your chickens penned can help keep them safe, but you will also want to make sure they have plenty of space to roam and eat green grass and bugs. A large chicken run can accomplish both objectives (as can a smaller, mobile chicken “tractor.”

This plan for a predator-proof chicken run comes from FreshEggsDaily.com. Check out their page for more information, and pictures of the whole process!

…Because we live in the woods and have to worry about predators like foxes, coyotes, hawks, eagles, raccoon and fisher cats, we spent the next several weeks building them an attached run. I incorporated some neat features and lots of predator-proofing to keep our chickens safe and happy when we aren’t outside with them and they can’t be out free ranging.
……………………………………………………………………….

…We were fortunate to find a barn full of scrap wood, so we improvised where we could with what we had instead of buying lumber.

Now, remember, we’re not professional builders…. But I do watch alot of HGTV and DIY Network….so we just did what we thought would work, and we’re super happy with the results!

Materials
4×4 fence posts
Quikrete
2×4 boards
1×6 boards
1/2″ welded wire fencing
1″ welded wire fencing
Chicken wire
Staples (U-shaped nails)
2×2 boards
Plywood
Wood screws
Hinges, spring-loaded eyehook, spring

How We Built It

The first thing we did was pace out exactly how big we wanted the run to be and where it would be located. We ended up making it about 16×40, far larger – at over 600 square feet – than we needed for our 12 ducks and 11 chickens, but bigger is always better when it comes to run size.  With the tractor, we scraped sort of a trench around where the perimeter of the run would be so we could sink the fencing into the ground a few inches to deter digging predators.

Then we marked off 8 foot lengths and started digging holes for the fence posts. We chose 8 feet because that’s a standard board length, so that would eliminate cutting lots of the boards. After digging the holes, we positioned the fence posts, poured Quikrete and water in the holes then refilled them with dirt.  We attached pieces of scrap wood to support the posts until the concrete set….

Once the concrete had set, we screwed boards across the top to further secure the posts, then it was time to start nailing up the fencing.  First we laid chicken wire along the ground in the trench. Chicken wire isn’t technically predator-proof, but since it was a second layer of defense and we had a roll lying around, that’s what we used. We would also be sinking the welded wire fencing into the ground all the way around as well to prevent diggers.

The 1/2″ welded wire went down about 8″ into the ground and is slightly curved out in like a J-shape. That’s really all you need, but since we had leftover chicken wire, I just laid that on the ground and then shoveled some dirt over it…. But you can just dig your trench and put the fencing down a few inches, as long as you curve it out, that will stop a digger in its tracks.

Then we started attaching the fencing to the fence posts using the staples…. We used 1/2″ welded wire along the bottom three feet of the run to prevent smaller predators like mice or snakes from getting in – or a brave raccoon from reaching in – and then used 1″ along the top. That was mostly a cost consideration. Using 1/2″ on the whole run would be the most predator-proof way to do things, but since this is just a day run, the 1″ is fine. It will keep out all predators except a small weasel.

Once we had the bottom roll of fencing on, we screwed 2x6s along the bottom to further secure the fencing and finish off the bottom….

……………………………………………………………….

For the pergola top, we angled the ends of the 2x2s and then screwed them to the top support boards using wood screws. We spaced them the width of a 2×4 apart to make for each spacing using a scrap piece of 2×4….

………………………………………………………………

We still had about half the top of the run left uncovered, so…until we decide how we want to finish it off…we just stapled some poultry netting across the top. That will keep out aerial predators….

So that’s our new chicken run. We love how it all turned out. I’m not sure how much it would have cost had we had to buy all the materials, but if you have some scrap wood and fencing that you can use, you can really keep your cost down.

………………………………………………………………

Check out the full article and pics at FreshEggsDaily.com

 

Image Source: Fresh Eggs Daily

Share This!