Jul 292013
 

How To Chicken Farm In Your Backyard

chicken farming

 

Learning how to chicken farm is not difficult.  You do not need to own a hundred acres of land and have millions of dollars to invest if you decide to look into how to chicken farm.  There are many families, just like yours that decide to buy baby chicks and raise them to provide eggs for their family.

Is It Legal To Keep Chickens?

So, where do you start in your quest to learn how to chicken farm?  First, check your local ordinances and make absolutely sure that you are allowed to keep chickens in the area that you live.  Some areas outright forbid keeping any type of farm animal at all.  Other areas allow them with restrictions.  Usually there will be a specific number of hens that you can keep and almost all areas have a rule that says “No roosters allowed”!  I personally love roosters but your neighbors may not as they crow, not just when the sun rises, but all day long.

Do You Have A Budget?

Before you ever learn how to chicken farm, you need to decide if you can financially afford to keep poultry in your backyard.  This endeavor can be low cost or you can spend a fortune, it is entirely up to you.  You need to know how much money you can spend before you ever start.   I have a friend who recently had a chicken coop and a large chicken run built.  The only thing she had to actually buy was the wire and she had to pay someone to build everything, but she everything else that was needed in a barn.   If you are handy and can build whatever you need and / or you have some materials already on hand, it will not cost nearly as much.  But, if you have to buy everything or pay to have something built, it will obviously cost more. Then you have the cost of the chickens, the feeders, water dispensers as well.  These things are one time purchases though so if you can afford to buy them, they should last a long, long time.  Poultry feed will be the only other major expense that you will have on a monthly basis.

 Free Range Chickens - Fences don't stop us!
Free Range Chickens – Fences don’t stop us!

Do You Have The Time?

How much time do you have to devote to learning how to chicken farm?  Baby chicks need a lot more care than full grown chickens.  Flocks that are allowed to free range need a lot less care than birds that are kept confined. You need to decide before hand how much time you have to commit to taking care of your girls.  The coop will need to be cleaned at a MINIMUM of once a month and that is a bare minimum with just a few chickens.  Most chicken coops must be cleaned more often.  The chickens will have to be let out of the coop in the morning and locked back up at night.  They also need fresh food and water every day.

  • Can you do that every single day of the year?
  • What about when you go on vacation?
  • What about if you get sick?

While chickens are pretty self-sufficient, they still need some daily attention.

Chicken Coop Basics

Once you have determined that you are allowed to have chickens where you live, you need to prepare for your chickens to arrive.  DO NOT run out and buy a bunch of chicks and work backwards.  Figure out the best location in your yard to place the chicken coop.  You need a place that has good drainage and that is safe from predators.  You may also consider it’s location to water, to your food storage location, how far it is from your home as well as a dozen other personal considerations.  You also need to determine how many chickens you can have as this will impact the size of the chicken coop you need and the amount of money you need to spend.  A large chicken coop will need more room than a small one and it will also cost more money.  You should also buy all of your chicken supplies before your chicks arrive.  To find out what supplies you need to have a chicken farm, click here.

Where to Buy Chicks

Chicks can be bought from a number of places. If you are serious about learning how to chicken farm, you need to figure out what kind of birds you want and find a reputable place to buy them.  You can always order baby chicks online and have them shipped directly to your home. There are a lot of advantages to this.  Click here to find out more about where to buy chicks.  Or, depending on the time of year, you may be able to get some from a local feed store like Tractor Supply.  The selection isn’t as great but the chicks will be alive when you pick them up.  You can also check Craigs list in your area and find chicks that you can buy locally.  There is really no right or wrong answer here as long as you get healthy, disease free chicks.

Room To Roam – Free Or Caged

You also must decide if you want to keep your chickens confined or you will allow them to free range.  Free Range means that when you open up the chicken coop in the morning, the chickens are allowed to roam at will.  The biggest danger here is that you will lose some of them to predators in the area.  Keep an eye out and notice what types of animals come and go through your yard.  If there are a lot of unwelcome visitors, you will need to securely fence your yard or keep  your chickens confined.  Some people decide to build a large chicken run and others decide to use what is called a chicken tractor.  Either method will work if you should decide to not allow your chickens to free range.

Unexpected Problems

There has been a lot of press lately about people deciding to learn how to chicken farm and then realizing that it is not for them.  Make sure you know what you are getting into before you ever start learning how to chicken farm.  You don’t want to figure out that keeping chickens is more trouble than it’s worth AFTER you have invested in chickens and their supplies.  Not many people want to try and integrate full grown chickens into an existing flock so they can be hard to find homes for.

Free range chickens can also be destructive.  They love nothing more than to scratch around in flower beds and gardens. Unfortunately, your plants do not always survive!  They also leave a trail of chicken poop behind them as they wander around your yard, so keep that in mind.

Remember, chickens can live upwards of 10 years and they will not lay eggs once they get older.  Many books say that they quit laying somewhere between 2 – 4 years old but I have had ladies lay up to 7 or 8 years old.  No, these older hens do not lay every single day but they produce a few a week.  I love their eggs but I don’t keep them solely for their eggs.  I have a retirement home of sorts for my really, really old hens and a rooster to protect them from the younger chickens and they seem happy.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that a lot of chickens are ending up in animal shelters or just abandoned when the people that originally got them figure out that they are too much work or they cost too much.   Learning how to chicken farm is not difficult and a little homework will help you determine before you get started if you even want to bother with keeping backyard chickens.  I love my chickens and don’t mind the time I have to take to see to their needs.  Unless you love the chickens, it is a whole lot easier to buy your eggs at a store or a local farmers market. You will pay more for the fresh eggs at a farmers market, but it will be less than if you become a chicken farmer!

 

 Chicken Fencing Tips

Jul 232013
 

Predator Protection – Chicken Coop Predators

Predator protection from chicken coop predators is imperative as your backyard chickens could end up as dinner to any number of predators roaming around your property looking for an easy meal.  It is not something that any of us want to think about but there are many chicken coop predators that would love to have our chickens for dinner.  Chickens are cute, are fun to watch and lay great tasting eggs, but they cannot protect themselves at all.

Predator Protection

The main defense in predator protection is always the chicken coop and chicken run. Most predators prowl around at night looking for food and sleeping chickens are easy to kill if they can get to them.  A sturdy structure that is not easy for a predator to gain access to will help ensure that your chickens live to see morning.

A strong chicken run is a must if you do not allow your chickens to free range. You need to inspect it often to ensure that there are not gaps or tears anywhere. Chicken coop predators do not give up easily and they could be working on making a hole in your wire or digging a hole underneath for days at a time.  Constant vigilance is a must to protect your flock.

Chicken Coop Predators

Chicken coop predators come in all shapes and sizes.  Unfortunately, backyard chickens are not equipped to defend themselves at all and they are very easy to kill.  There are what I call “domestic” predators like dogs and cats, possibly your own pets, that love to chase and kill.  One of my dogs has been impossible to train not to chase my girls so he is not allowed anywhere near them.  I lost several of my birds one year to a stray feral cat.  I ended up trapping him, having him fixed and found him a new home.

Other common chicken coop predators are raccoons, possums, foxes, large birds and any other four footed animal that may roam your area.  Raccoons are a particular problem in my area and they are a huge problem because they don’t scare away as easily.

Chicken Fencing

Chickens that free range especially need predator protection which can be difficult.  I have fenced my entire back yard with heavy duty wiring secured to four board fencing.  This helps keep the neighbor’s dogs out of my yard which is important since one of them kept attacking my chickens before I installed the wire fencing.

LandscapingPredator Protection

I have also provided heavily landscaped areas strategically around my yard using large grasses and grouping plants together.  This not only provides needed shade for my flock but allows them to take cover from an assault from above. Since they tend to lay around under the plants during the day, they are impossible to see from above as well.

Solar Nite Eyes

Predator protection has risen to a new level at my house since I discovered a solar powered unit that has flashing lights that are activated by movement at night. Predators are very aware of their environment and want to hunt undetected.  This unit is great because it makes them feel threatened and they leave the area.

I started off with four units because I have three chicken coops in use but ended up adding two more to provide good coverage and better predator protection at night.  The solar nite eyes have worked great so far.  I have a real problem with raccoons attempting to break in and get my chickens. They haven’t been successful in a long time but that doesn’t mean they don’t keep trying!  Since I installed the solar nite eyes, I haven’t seen any raccoon tracks around my chicken coops or runs.

They are relatively inexpensive at $23.49 for a single unit (at this time) and are easy to use.  They are well worth the money and allow me to sleep better at night.  I love them and they are just one more way for me to provide stellar protection from predators for my chickens.

Check out the Predator Protection Nite Eyes for yourself below!

Solar nite eyes single pack =>Nite Guard Solar NG-001 Predator Control Light, Single Pack
Solar nite eyes double pack =>Solar Predator Protection Nite Eyes 2 Pack

Solar nite eyes four pack => Solar Predator Protection Nite Eyes 4 Pack

 

 

Jul 172013
 

Poultry – Consider Raising Bantam Chickens

Raising bantam chickens is something you consider if you are thinking about keeping a flock of chickens in your backyard.  They are one of the best backyard chicken breeds to raise if you want to raise chickens that are smaller in size.

Size Matters With Backyard ChickensBantam Chicken

The great thing about raising bantam chickens is that they are a lot smaller than other chicken breeds which means they need less room than your average chicken.  You can usually keep 2 or 3 bantams in the same space that you would need for one larger chicken. Because they are smaller, they also cost less to feed.

Be warned though, because while all chickens can “fly” to some degree, the bantam chicken can fly a lot better due to it’s small size. So, unless you want your small chickens to be roaming about, they will need a fully enclosed pen.

While the smaller size of the Bantam makes them a popular choice to keep in your backyard, it can be a drawback too.  Because these small fowl only weigh a fraction of what a larger fowl bird does, they are much easier for smaller predators, like crows and other small birds to take. It is essential that they have a safe enclosure to keep them safe from these types of animals that would kill them.

Mix and Match Your Flock

They come in a variety of colors and fancy feathers.  They are very curious and friendly which is a major consideration if you want backyard chickens that will interact with your family. You can add a few bantams to your flock of larger chickens too without any problems.  Raising bantam chickens can provide great variety in your backyard flock.

The bottom line is that before you buy any chickens for your backyard, know what you want them for. If you want a lot of eggs, then the bantam chicken is probably not for you.  If you are looking for a lively, fun backyard pet, then raising bantam chickens is a great idea!

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Worming Chickens – Is It Necessary?

 

Jun 192013
 

worming chickens  Worming Chickens – Do You Need To Worm Backyard Chickens?

Worming chickens is not a pleasant topic to discus but it is necessary.  I have my chicken flock on a regular worming schedule but apparently, not everyone realizes the importance of regularly worming chickens.

There are 6 different types of worms that can be found in chickens.

  1. Hair worms – Can be found in the crop, oesophagus, proventriculus and intestine.
  2. Round Worms – Can found in the birds digestive system.
  3.  Gizzard Worm – Can be found in the gizzard, mainly in geese.
  4. Tape Worm – Not very commonly found but are in the intestine.
  5. Gape Worm –  Can be found in the lungs and trachea
  6. Caecal Worm – Usually do not cause a lot of damage but can be given to turkeys.

A worm infestation will make your birds weak and sick and in a worst case scenario, possibly even lead to death.  It is much easier to prevent worms in your chicken flock than it is to treat your chickens once they have them.

How To Recognize A Worm Infestation

So, how will you know if your backyard chickens have some type of worms?  The most commons signs of worms in your chickens is the actual condition of your individual birds.  Any of your birds that are losing weight, failure to gain weight, eating more than usual, eggs that have a pale yolk, diarrhea and in severe cases, anemia.  By the time your chickens have anemia, their combs and wattles will be very pale and there is a very good chance that they will die.  When in doubt, you should consider worming your chickens.

If your hens are actually over loaded with worms, you will be able to see them in their droppings.  Once they become visible, you have a very serious worm infestation.  But, if you can’t see them, one of the best ways to know for sure if your hens have worms is to take a fecal sample to a local vet.  The test itself if pretty cheap and will tell you for sure whether you have worm infested chickens or not.  The vet doesn’t have to know anything about chickens as the parasites are pretty much the same as in dogs and other animals that they routinely see.

How To Treat Worms In Chickens

Most products promise to kill 100% of the worms which is great when you are worming chickens, but that only means the worms are killed, not the eggs.  Remember, parasites have a life cycle and the worm is the adult stage of the cycle.  More eggs will hatch if the worms were not killed before they were old enough to lay eggs and will re-infest your chickens.  The life cycle of the different worms varies, but it is usually between 2 and 8 weeks.  Worming your chickens on a regular schedule will ensure that you don’t have to ever manage the life cycle of these nasty critters.

Best case scenario, you know which parasite your chickens have so that you can taylor your treatment plan. But, assuming you aren’t sure, it is best to take a more aggressive approach to getting rid of chicken worms. Always follow the directions of the product that you use and if you have any doubts, contact your local vet for more specific instructions.

Flubenvet and Ivermectin are two of the most common chicken wormer products used to get rid of worms.  Ivermectin is also great for treating other parasites like mites.

Conclusion

Worming chickens on a regular schedule is the best way to ensure their continued health.  Always follow the directions when using chemicals on your birds.  Usually, you have to confine the chickens for a day or two to get them to actually ingest the wormer as they will not like it!  No one said that worming chickens was fun but it is absolutely necessary.  I always throw away all eggs for at least 14 days after I treat the chickens.  Be sure and read the directions so that you will know when it is safe to eat the eggs again. For me, it is much easier to worm the hens when they are molting.  They are not laying very many eggs during this time so I don’t waste so many eggs.

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CLICK HERE To Find the Best Wormers

Oct 042012
 

Chicken Hatchery – What Is A Chicken Hatchery?

The word “Chicken Hatchery” is bandied around a lot but I have found that not everyone knows what that is.  A chicken hatchery is a company that hatches chicks in incubators in large numbers to sell to the public.  

Chicken hatcheries are big business in the United States and they hatch millions of chicks.  The hatch and ship millions of baby chicks to chicken batteries and backyard chicken enthusiasts every single year.  There are a lot of horror stories related to the chick producing business but it is still by far the most popular place to purchase chicks online.

Why would you consider buying baby chicks from a chicken hatchery?  Well, there are several reasons to consider.

  • 1. There is a large number of chicken breeds to pick from.
  • 2. Day old babies will be vaccinated for common chicken diseases.
  • 3. Large numbers of chickens can be bought.
  • 4. There is a a discount if you buy larger quantities.
  • 5. They can be very accurately sexed so you get mostly hens which is a huge advantage when buying from a hatchery.

But, there are several other things to consider as well before you buy chicks from a chicken hatchery.

  • 1. The hatchery will ship directly to you so you need to home when they arrive.  If the post office cannot locate you or there is a dely in picking them up, they may die.
  • 2. Ideal weather is a must because if it is either too hot or too cold, they will die.
  • 3. Many people find the process used to hatch the chicks to be distasteful.  There is also the matter of most of the male hatchlings being “disposed of” as they have almost no market value.

There is no doubt that buying from a chicken hatchery is the most popular way to buy chickens for your flock these days. But, what do you do if you don’t want to buy from a hatchery?  What other options do you have?

One of the best ways to find young chickens in your area is to check out Craigs List.  I have found that I can find a variety of chicken breeds this way.  You can also check out towns or cities that are within driving range to find more selection.  One of the biggest problems you may have with buying chicks this way is that there is no way to know for sure that you are getting pure bred chicks.  If this is important to you, then this is not the way to buy your chicks.

You can also check out local feed and tack stores in the spring.  Many times they have several different types of babies for sale.  You can also check online forums and see if anyone in your area is offering any for sale.

Remember, you don’t have to buy your chicks from a chicken hatchery.  It may take a little more time and effort to find them locally, but you may find it more rewarding.

Find out what it takes to keep your chickens alive. Click the link below and scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page.  Get your FREE report on the 7 deadly mistakes when keeping chickens at home.

 

Learn How To Introduce Chicks To Your Chicken Flock

Jul 132012
 

Introducing New Chickens To The Existing Flock

When I got my first batch of chicks, I never thought that I would be adding new chicks to the existing flock so quickly.  My first attempt at raising chicks was a disaster to say the least.

I ended up having to get more baby chicks and they were a couple of months younger than my original chicks.  Silly me . . . it never occurred to me that there might be a problem trying to get both sets of chickens to get along.

Boy was I wrong!  Much to my dismay, the older chickens immediately starting picking on the younger chickens.  They chased them around mercilessly, pecked them whenever they got the chance and just generally made them miserable.  After running around frantically trying to capture the younger chicks, I realized that I had to figure out how to get everyone to get along . . . fast!

Separate The New Chickens

After I separated the baby chicks from the older chicks, I had to figure out how to integrate them peacefully.    The first thing I did was hop online and do some research.  Luckily for my chickens, it was relatively easy to get them all to get along.

The first step was to keep them separated by a fence so that both sets of chicks could see each other and interact without actually being able to cause any harm.  Over the course of a couple of weeks, they all settled in and got used to being next to one another.

As they got more comfortable with each other, I then allowed them to start mingling for a couple of hours during the day for about a week.   Since I was worried about them fighting like last time, I monitored them very carefully.  But other than a peck or two from the more dominant pullets, this time the introduction went much more smoothly.  Before long, everyone was happily scratching around with no issues.

Distract Your Hens

Backyard chickens have very short attention spans and it is typically pretty easy to divert their attention with treats.  I used several methods to keep them distracted including hanging a head of cabbage, broccoli and some large pieces of melon strategically around the chicken run and the yard.  Soon, they were all busy trying to grab their treats and didn’t pay any attention to anything else.  All of this activity also wore them out so they were just too tired to start trouble.  It was actually quite fun to watch them!

I have horses and the chickens in my backyard love to dig through the manure.  Sounds disgusting, I know, but they were in heaven.  My flower beds were pretty much done for the year so I piled manure in the beds and the chickens happily scratched it up and churned up my beds for me.  It kept them occupied and they actually helped me out!

Surprise – You Have Chicks!

Over the years, I have added new chickens to the existing flock without much trouble at all.  One trick that I love is to get several of my hens sitting on wooden chicken nesting eggs and then when the new chicks arrive, stick them under the hens in the middle of the night.  Believe it or not, this trick works very well.  The hens think their eggs have hatched and the chicks are just naturally accepted.  The hens typically keep the chicks away from the other birds at first anyway but the existing flock doesn’t try to bother them as long as they are with mom.

If I don’t have any broody hens, I keep the chicks in a brooder at night inside for warmth and safety.  Then, during the warmer days, I put up a temporary chicken run to serve as a baby pen and allow the chicks outside for a couple of hours during the day.  The older chickens can see them and hear them but can’t harm them.  That way, when the chicks are old enough to join the older chickens, they are used to them being around.

Conclusion

Any time you add new chicks or older chickens to an existing flock, there will be some minor skirmishes, but they usually manage to work it out.  Keep in mind that the new birds will have to figure out the pecking order and some squabbles are normal.

Keeping chickens in your backyard is an adventure.  Your flock is unique  so you need to keep in mind that you may need to get creative and modify these suggestions to keep your flock happy.

Feb 132012
 

Chicken Fencing Basics

20140802_120057
Keeping chickens in your backyard is so much fun.  While they are cute and make great pets, they have zero ability to protect themselves. Installing the correct type of chicken fencing is ESSENTIAL if you want to keep your chickens alive. Chickens, while normally very hearty animals, are not able to protect themselves from chicken predators that see your hens as their next meal!  They are pretty low maintenance animals but they do need a secure place to sleep, lay their eggs and scratch around during the day.

Poultry Fencing

There are a variety of chicken fences that you can use to protect your chickens in their chicken run. The most common type of fencing that you will find is poultry fencing. The biggest advantage of poultry fencing is that the mesh has very small openings so it is difficult for predators to reach through and grab your chickens. One the other hand, it is not as strong as some of the other wiring that is available.  I’ve seen poultry fencing that was stretched and /or chewed through by determined chicken predators like raccoons.

Welded Mesh Fencing

Another type of chicken fencing that I love to use is welded mesh fence. I have found this fencing to be much sturdier and it stands up to attacks by predators much better. This type of fencing is strong and I think it looks good.  It is also long lasting.  But, it will need to be stretched securely and

Chain Link Fencing

I would have never thought to use chain link fencing to keep my chickens safe but it actually works very well.  It is too strong for any type of animal to stretch or chew threw and it is long lasting.  You can buy it is convenient panels that you just have to secure together so it is easy to use and no stretching is required.  You do have to be careful to properly secure the panels together so that there are no large gaps that could allow a small predator to get through. If you have chicks, you will need to install some type of small mesh wiring along the bottom to keep them contained until they get too big to run through the holes. Although, of you use it to fence off a chicken run and it isn’t covered on the top, this type of fencing does little to stop cats or animals that are adept at climbing from entering your yard.

Other Considerations

I protect my chicken flock by installing chicken fencing in layers. I use the welded mesh fence on the interior framing of my runs and place a second layer of poultry fencing on the outside framing. This may sound like overkill but I have lost a lot of chickens over the years and I hate going out in the mornings to find chickens maimed, dead or missing.  I recommend installing a wire apron along the bottom to make sure that predators can’t dig under the wiring.

Chicken fencing is not complicated to install but be sure that you install the correct type of fence for your chickens because their lives depend on it!

Learn how to build a predator safe chicken coop for your chickens.

Sep 132010
 

Raising backyard chickens has become more and more popular these days.  With the recent salmonella scares, chicken eggs being contaminated and thousands of people getting sick, it’s no wonder raising chickens has become so popular.  If you are considering raising chickens, then you will need to know where you can find the best chicken coop blueprints.

While there are a lot of standard chicken coop blueprint designs available online, not everyone wants the same old chicken house that the neighbor down the street has.  Given that a large, well constructed chicken coop can cost a lot of money to build, you need to know what before you get started.  Having a very detailed chicken coop blueprint before you get started can make the whole process a lot easier.

Before you start building a chicken coop for your backyard chickens, you have to take a few things into consideration.  Chicken coops may look fairly easy to build but a very good question to ask yourself before you start is, how handy are you?  Are you a DIY warrior who can build anything you set your mind to or do you not know one end of a hammer from another?

Assuming you are a DIY expert, go out there, get chicken coop blueprints that you like and build your own unique chicken coop.  If you are not so handy, you will need to either hire someone to build a chicken coop for you or get a ready made kit that is pretty easy to assemble.

Before you start building your chicken coop, you have to stop and think about the following things:

  • How many chickens you are going to raise?
  • What chicken breeds have you chosen?
  • Will your chickens free range or will you need a portable chicken coop and run?
  • How much room you have for your chickens?
  • What type of fencing you need for predator control?

 After you answer the questions above, you will also need to consider things like:

  • Where to locate your chicken coop for proper drainage, air flow and sunlight.
  • Create easy access areas to allow you to clean, gather eggs and do maintenance.
  • Decide where to install access doors for your chickens.
  • Doors and predator proof latches for your doors.
  • Your structure needs proper ventilation for the health of your chickens.
  • Where are you going to place your nesting boxes?

You could drive yourself crazy trying to figure out some of the things listed above but a good chicken coop blueprint will already have take some of this into account.  If you decide to design your own structure, be sure and consider the things listed above.

Anyone that is fortunate enough to be very handy and owns a lot of tools will be able to go online, locate a couple of chicken coop blueprints and modify them to design your very own, unique chicken house.  I can tell you from personal experience that the pride you feel when you watch your hens scratch around in their new chicken house is second to none.

Assuming you are not so handy with the tools, you can still go online or visit a store like Tractor Supply and find some great chicken coop kits that you can buy.  Usually, they tend to be easy to put together, even if you are not very handy.  But if you don’t feel you are up to the job or you don’t have the right tools, you can always hire someone to build you a chicken coop.

The size, shape and special features of your chicken coop will be impacted by your budget.  The larger your chicken coop is and the more special features you add, the more it will cost to build.  But, the flip side of that is you only have to build a hen house once.   Chickens are not destructive by nature and will not usually deliberately damage your hen house.  So build the biggest and best chicken coop you can the first time around and it will be there for years to come.

Check out these chicken coop plans. You can take a look at everything for $4.95 for 21 days and if you don’t like it, you won’t pay a penny more. These are great designs and are easy to follow.

Aug 062010
 

chicken runMaking A Chicken Run

The dream of many people who decide to raise backyard chickens is to have then free range. But, the sad fact is that not everyone can raise free range chickens and having a chicken run is the only viable solution to keeping your chickens alive.

Making a chicken run may be necessary for a number of reasons:

  • You live in an area where your chickens are not allowed to roam.
  • You don’t have enough room to keep your chickens safe and off the road.
  • There are too many predators and you would lose too many chickens.
  • You don’t like chicken droppings all over your yard, porch, deck, etc.

Whatever the reason, making a chicken run doesn’t require you to be a rocket scientist nor does it have to break the bank.  The goal of making a run for your chickens is to give your chickens room to move around during the day and still keep them safe and contained.

When making a chicken run, the size will depend on how many chickens you have.  If you have a small flock of chickens, you will only need to make a space that is around 10 square feet.  But if you have a large flock of chickens, you will need to consider making one that is much larger so that your chickens are not overcrowded.  Overcrowded chickens are more stressed, more prone to disease and will not lay as well.

Before you start making your chicken run, you need to consider the following things.  small chicken run

  • It needs to be constructed to keep predators and pets out.  Sometimes predators will dig under your chicken run so take that into consideration and bury some of your fencing.
  • Use good quality lumber to build a chicken run that is strong and will be long lasting.  I used 4×4’s along the base when making a chicken run for my chickens and it made the structure very sturdy.
  • Consider using a hardwire mesh when making your chicken run.  It’s a great material because it’s tough, it can be bent to mold around the chicken run and predators can’t squeeze through it.
  • The hardware you purchase for doors and windows needs to also be animal proof.  Many dogs, racoons and foxes have the ablity to open latches on gates and get to your chickens.  So always buy latches that have pins or that you can put a clip through.
  • Consider intalling motion detector lights around your chicken coop as a predator proofing method when making your chicken run.  Most animals will run when a blinding light comes on.  If you can see your chicken coop from the house, you will also know when something is lurking around and threatening your chickens.

Raising chickens is a fun way to become more self reliant but it can be heartbreaking to go out in the morning and find dead or missing chickens.  Take the necessary precautions when making your chicken run so that your chickens live long and protected lives.

Check out these links if you need chicken run blueprints or just want some different ideas before you start making your chicken run.



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