Keeping our Chickens IN the Chicken Run

Keeping chickens where you want them can sometimes be a challenge. Chickens like to be out and about free ranging and they like to fly. And they REALLY love worms.

Metal stake in cement block

A close up of the cement block filled with dirt that hold the hoop in.

In spite of the four feet high fence, our chickens have a habit of flying out of the chicken run. Yes, we could clip their wings so they could not fly but if they ever seriously needed to escape a predator (or our labrador Retriever Sassy) they would be minced meat. So I don’t clip their wings.

Gene tieing crisscorss use

Gene working on the connection point of the two hoops.

Chickens are smarter than you might think too. Ours have learned that if they fly up on top of the bale of straw they can fly up, out and over the tall fencing designed to keep them in their run. They have also learned that the worms are in the vegetable garden under the bark chips. Destination worms!

New hoops to keep chickens out

The overview of our chicken condo complex.

That leaves them flying out of the run and into the vegetable garden where they scratch up the back chips of the low raised beds. This is not a good thing for me because it meant a lot more work rebuilding and spreading more bark chips and leaves!

New hoops close

Greenhouse hoops new held in place in cement blocks.

Our assignment was to find a way to keep them from flying out and to do it without spending any significant money. This was going to be quite a challenge.

New hoops close  The chickens also like to fly up to the tarp top and fly over from there.

It’s not fancy or perfect, but we came up with the idea of using the last two leftover stainless steel greenhouse hoops and poles along with the left over bird netting and tie wraps. The only out-of-pocket costs to us were $4.00 for four cement clocks to hold the hoops.

Problem solved. Now to determine if it works…

Small House homesteader and chicken keeper, Donna

Securing the Chicken Coop from Predators

Coop walking into run USE THIS as ONEI’ve been getting questions about how we secure our coop.

When we built our first chicken coop some ten years ago we were total novices as far as chicken keeping goes. I mean “green” city folks who moved to the county and one day brought home three free chickens given to us by the local the plant nursery, no coop ready. Obviously I don’t recommend that “non-plan” now.

one half side both latches

The back of our coop with double doors that both open out and secure locks.

Sadly we lost our girls to hungry raccoons and we learned our lesson the hard way. Do the research next time and wait until the until the foundation of safe chicken keep is laid before taking the plunge.

latch and dog lead close USE

Our gate latch system is double locked using a metal dog lead hook.

Our quickly cobbled together coop didn’t keep our chickens safe for long and after losing them and crying some “lesson learned the hard way” tears  I vowed when we were ready to have chickens again, we would do it the right way next time.

Double front doors use

 The coop front also with two double-barreled locks

And we did. This meant we did not get our chickens for almost 8 more years and until the new coop was built and we knew it was predator proof. To us this means; metal gate latches, hardware cloth used throughout, spring type latches on the laying boxes that are located inside the double/locked up covered run and tiny hexagonal chicken wire and so on.

hardware cloth over windows-night flap

Hardware cloth behind a wood frame and “shutters” that double secure the coops windows at night.

Because raccoons can open hook and eye style locks as well as deadbolts, we use a gate latch with dog lead secondary lock system on the top and the bottom of our coops double doors.

chicken wire and plastic

The dusting area below the coop has chicken wire and plastic to block the winter winds.

These gate latches were not cheap, they ran about $10.00 per latch purchased from Menard’s, but the peace of mind is worth the cost. And besides we repurposed a lot of wood, was given a gate, plastic roofing and other parts so I feel we could buy super secure hardware for our coop.

Coop raftrs-winter-doors closed

Hardware cloth separates the girls from the removable summer vent area.

With animals, I have learned one never says “never”…but at least to date we have no predators make it past our “super secure” double lock system.

Small House Homestead chicken keeper, Donna