A run for your chickens is vital. It provides a safe, outdoor space, fully enclosed to keep them safe from predators and vermin. While you can purchase a complete run, it is far more cost effective to build your own from wire mesh and wood, and requires very little technical know-how. Making a chicken run yourself also provides a rewarding project and gives you the freedom to build it with your exact size and shape requirements. A portable chicken run also gives you the ability to encourage your chickens to clean up your flower beds, eating weeds, seeds, and pesky insects.
Gather Your Supplies
Before you begin building, you need to establish the size of the run. Take note of the measurements to work out how much timber and wire mesh you require. You must choose a mesh type that best suits your needs. Chicken wire is very flexible and easy to shape but has larger holes, which can be problematic as vermin such as mice may fit through the holes. Square wire mesh is harder to bend and shape, but the weave is closer, which prevents vermin from squeezing through. You need enough timber to build a sturdy frame. Choose pressure-treated timber or paint your timber with wood sealant or weatherproof varnish to increase the lifespan. You require a claw hammer, nails, a measuring tape and staples.
Build the Frame
Building the frame is very simple. Cut four pieces of sturdy timber to the length you require your chicken run. Cut another four pieces to the width you require. Take two of each length, along with four small wood chocks and nail the four pieces together, using chocks for additional support at the inside of each corner. Repeat with the remaining cut lengths. This makes the top and bottom sections of the frame. Next, cut four sections of timber to the height you want your chicken run. Nail each of these pieces to both the top and bottom of the frame at the corners. This completes your frame. To extend the lifespan of the frame, paint it with Cuprinol or another outdoor wood treatment.
Apply the Wire Mesh
Apply the chicken wire quickly and easily using a heavy-duty staple gun and staples. Start at one corner of the frame and smooth out the mesh so it does not gape between the staples as you work. Ensure you do not leave any sharp wire edge protruding to avoid injury to your chickens. You must staple the wire along each piece of timber, including along the bottom, to ensure it is predator-proof and that your chickens cannot escape and rampage through your garden.