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coop

Buttoning Up The Chicken Run

Buttoning Up The Chicken Run

Miss Aretha takes a break from the chilly north winds today inside the coop, along with most of the other ladies!  It got cold fast!

Miss Aretha takes a break from the chilly north winds today inside the coop, along with most of the other ladies!  It got cold fast!

The ladies here at Big Ash Farm live in a fairly large coop (approx 12 x 14) with a run (approx 20 x 14) attached to the south side that keeps them safe and warm when they're not exploring outside.

 The chicken coop is original to the property (though I gutted it, insulated and refinished the inside).  We added the run before moving the girls in so they could have outside time when they can't be out about roaming the farm. (we have a very healthy and active wildlife population here who, we have learned the hard way, are very clever and quite aware of when we're home and about the property....  and when we are not ;)

 

The run is enclosed in quarter inch hardware cloth (dug down and flared out by a foot in each direction) and completely covered with a combinaton of metal roofing and translucent panels (so the coop stays light inside but the girls still have some shade as well).  We're not the only ones who enjoy a chicken dinner! 

 

In the winter we wrap the run in plastic to shelter the girls from the biting winds that come from the north and west.  We also wrap a bit of the south side as well to prevent the run from filling up with snow when we get those spring storms.  Chickens do not like to get their tootsies cold in snow!  (I never thought I'd be shovelling snow for chickens, but I do!)

 

This year I ended up cutting more plastic off of the roll than I had planned so I wrapped the run a bit more than usual - I didn't want to waste it.  I think it'll be good in the end, though.  They'll have an even larger portion of the run sans snow when the spring storms hit.   

 

The plastic I use comes in a substantial roll from home depot and is a relatively thick plastic.  It isn't the thin plastic painting drop cloth type.  While an investment initially, the roll lasts forever as it's huge and because I reuse the plastic I cut for at least a couple seasons before it has to go.  I tack it up initially with staples but then screw on strips of wood to keep it the tight against the surface.  We get some big winds here and without that wood stripping that plastic would be shredded in no time. 

Next up is the turkey run!