Sunday, April 21, 2013

Plans for a portable, light weight, chicken run for less than $30


What do chickens have to do with jewelry? Absolutely nothing. I just love my chickens. I mean common, they're adorable! Their names are Applesauce (left) and Puddin' (right) and we are going to be getting 2 more ladies to add to our family this Tuesday! They live in a cute little coop with a marigold garden and they LOVE to eat fresh grass.

Grass and bugs are SUPER important to a chicken's diet. Every time I see egg cartons that say, vegetarian  or grain fed, I want to roll my eyes in annoyance. Chickens aren't vegetarians, and the last thing I want my chicken eating a ton of is grain! By nature chickens eat lots of bugs, grass, seeds, rocks (yes rocks, they need those to digest their food!) berries, and other random things that they may find while scratching about. What they eat makes a difference in the quality of their life and the quality of their eggs. A happy healthy hen lays eggs with nice dark orange yolks and a great egg-y flavor, while a cooped up grain-fed hen produces light yellow yolks with very little taste. See for yourself!

The top two on the right are my girls eggs and the one on the bottom left is a store bought, grain-fed, free-range, organic egg. (lots of fancy labels don't equal good quality!) At this point you may be thinking... wait, wasn't the title of this post how to make a portable chicken coop? Yes, yes it was. I just felt it was worth mentioning, that whether you are an urban farmer like "I like to think" I am or a farmer with lots of acres and a big operation, I feel it is important to know the value of giving hens the basic primal need of bugs and pasture.
So here it is, a photo of our inexpensive, lightweight and easily movable run.

It is constructed from very inexpensive materials that you don't need to worry about going bad in the weather. I have built other versions of portable runs before, including wooden collapsible ones, and they just don't seem to hold up to the weather, they are time consuming to make and cost a fair amount of  $$$.

So here are the instructions, (thanks to my wonderful and awesome husband) including the pricing and cut list.
(click the photo to make it bigger)

The run is made from 1/2" PVC piping and 24" wide chicken wire held on with zip ties.
It measures 2 feet tall by 4 feet wide and 5 feet long.
Husband says it is self explanatory  but if you do have questions or need more through instructions just leave a comment! We would be happy to answer any questions!

Happy grazing!
<3 Cassandra

22 comments:

  1. wow, thanks!! That looks great and even better? Looks like something even *I* - the Great Butterfingers and Stuffer-Up-Erer-Of-All-Things-Handypersonie - could do!!

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  2. where did you get that fantasy chicken coop?

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    1. Thank you! We love it too!
      We purchased it off Amazon a few years ago.
      This coop is not the 'exact' same coop but it is VERY similar. :)
      http://www.amazon.com/Boomer-George-Deluxe-Chicken-Coop/dp/B007GDXWLS/ref=sr_1_31?ie=UTF8&qid=1375123677&sr=8-31&keywords=chicken+coop

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  3. I'm new to owning chickens and have been looking for a nice lightweight run. Love this. Thanks for sharing

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  4. That run looks brilliant! This is maybe a stupid question but how do you get the chooks in and out?

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    1. I am wondering the same thing. How would your husband recommend I go about adding an entrance? I just need to shoo them in mornings and then back into their coop at night. Otherwise, this looks good for daytime grazing - thanks!!

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    2. The bottom (I may be reading this wrong) is not covered with wire. So just drop it over the hens head and she is in.

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  5. Question, I love the idea of a light weight portable coop using PVC, but we are near woods and I am a little nervous about predators. I think the chickies would be OK during the day while foraging and getting happy bugs, but at night, have you had trouble getting your ladies into the coop where it's safe? I know we have raccoon and foxes that could dig under a PVC run no problem so we can't let anyone stay in there when it's dark. Would love your thoughts!

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  6. Awesome run, I think I might be able to do this myself! Do you mind if I share your link with others?

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  8. Simple as your plans are - I sure appreciated being able to print them out and take them to the store with me. Our run is now very similar and super useful. Thank you!

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  9. I love this portable run and it looks light enough for me to move by myself. My question is how heavy is it?

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  10. I just got all the materials and I am now stuck. I have assembled the top section using the 23.5" and 24" pieces including the one across the middle. I am left with all 5' and one 24" sections that I do not know how to configure to join the top section. It seems to long to meet up with the top part. Could you tell me where each section goes on the diagram according to the size. Thanks

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  11. Thanks for your wonderful plans. My chickens have a wonderful stationary indoor outdoor home but I had hoped they would roam around. But they don't feel safe enough. This is a wonderful idea. Think I will try to build it this weekend. http://www.hartfelthome.com

    Thanks

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  12. This run is awful. My husband and I built it as specified thinking it would solve our chicken run needs. Unfortunately, it has proved to be an incredibly frustrating problem we combat every evening. Because the run is not connected to the coop, one has to catch and carry the chickens in between the run and coop. When the run is lifted up to collect the chickens, the PVC pipes slide out of the connecting pipes creating a dilapidated mess with the chickens still inside. I would not recommend this run to anyone. We are so upset that we put time and energy into this project.

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  13. Did you glue it together? It likely would fall apart if it is not tighty put together or glued. If you wanted to put it up against a coop it is nothing to add a couple brackets and screw it in. This size run and the use of it is best for flocks of 5 or less hens.

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  14. Your plans say 5 5'pieces... But don't you need 7?

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  15. Your plans say 5 5'pieces... But don't you need 7?

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    1. Actually, you will need 2 pieces of 4' PVC to join the 2 ends to the sides on the bottom. That was not included on the parts list.
      You don't need 7 pieces of 5'.

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    2. Actually, you will need 2 pieces of 4' PVC to join the 2 ends to the sides on the bottom. That was not included on the parts list.
      You don't need 7 pieces of 5'.

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  16. Thanks for these plans. Looks like just what I need. I'm puzzled by the comments about getting chickens to and from coop to run. My girls just go wherever I throw a handful of corn or wheat, they aren't too bright. Plus chooks 'home' to their roost every dusk mine have ranged all over the neighbourhoid but always come home. I just need to keep them contained now as they are pooping all over the new patio :) so I'll be building your design.

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  17. I can't wait to get ours started!

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