There are many examples of how to build a chicken run out there but here’s how we built ours from scratch! First of all….remember what the depot looked like when we first got it? I never would have imagined we’d turn it into a chicken coop, garden shed and chicken run:
After we finished the chicken coop renovation of the depot, we started building the chicken run. We started right up against the chicken coop, first moving the dirt around to make it as flat as we could. The first big step was laying out a large rectangle area and setting the four posts. We used the same technique as the garden fence to ensure our rectangle had 90 degree angles.
We set the posts just like we did in our fence post tutorial here.
The hardware cloth we used for the run was 36″ across so we set the interior posts so the centers measured 36″ apart to minimize how much wire cutting we would have to do.
The posts were held in place with scrap wood. We always use 3″ Hillman deck screws because they are easy to screw and out:
I’ll repeat that last tip: use Hillman deck screws! There is no need to pre-drill and you can drill one-handed because they will drive themselves in. We assemble structures within minutes using these:
To keep any animals from digging into the run we lined the entire floor with chicken wire. The easiest way to cut chicken wire or hardware cloth is with Stanley tin snips! They cut just like scissors:
The chicken wire was cut around the posts and kept in place with landscaping staples on the outside:
We added 2×4’s in between each of the posts:
The next step was adding the hardware cloth to the run. I ordered large 36″ wide by 50 foot rolls of hardware cloth straight from the manufacturer here.
We cut long strips of hardware cloth and attached them using fence staples:
Regular staples are too easily pulled out by a predator so I used 3/4″ poultry net staples every few inches:
The easiest way to attach hardware cloth is to nail it in the middle and work up and down from there, stretching as we go:
Tip: Have one person pull the hardware cloth with a screw driver and the other person nail it into place. Wear gloves!
We continued attached the hardware cloth all the way around the run:
After all the hardware cloth was in place we added 12×12 pressure treated boards to the bottom of the run:
(Note about the rocks: We were going to cover the bottom of the run with these flat rocks we had from an old patio, but I decided that the run would drain better without them if needed and I took them out at the end.)
The hardware cloth comes out about 12″ to 18″ inches and will be covered by dirt to discourage predators from digging from the outside as well. I used landscape staples nailed into the clay to keep it in place.
And if they did dig they wouldn’t be able to get through the chicken wire on the bottom of the coop. You can see how we still had to build the run on a slope here. The 12″ boards helped to make up that difference:
We put large railroad ties in the front of the coop as a step and to hold down the wire in the front. That’s pretty lavender I planted before we were even finished:
8″ boards were added at the top of the coop to keep all the vertical posts in place. Then we added the roof joists, just drilling the in at an angle. Hurricane ties will be added later. Slats were added to the top of the roof joists to keep them in place, and to have wood for the roof to be attached to:
Flashing was added where the run met the coop to keep rainwater from flowing in between the two. We had some extra drip edge laying around so we added that to the front:
You can see the finished slats here:
We used old reclaimed tin for the roof. It was free from a neighbor! You can also find reclaimed tin on Craigslist.
Boo and I handed Brett one piece of tin at a time as he worked to speed up the process:
Every little hole up at the roof was covered with hardware wire to keep predators out:
An easy way to bend hardware cloth at a crisp 90 degree angle is to place it between two pieces of wood and hammer it into place:
Oh the doors! They were assembled from 2x4s:
I painted the doors first, before adding the hardware cloth. It was so nice having the huge rolls of hardware cloth! I could be so liberal with it:
A finished door:
Each door has an outside latch and a handle:
The inside of each door has a piece of wood to keep it from swinging through, and also makes it more secure. There’s also an inside hook that I can close when I’m inside the coop:
One of the most exciting parts of the project was cutting the coop door! Brett drilled holes from inside the coop to mark where the door needed to be cut:
Cutting the hole with the saw. Let there be light!
The primitive door:
The door was framed in with some scrap wood:
Boo’s project was to make the ramps. It was a great way for her to use her math skills in real life:
She’s pretty handy with a drill these days:
Painting the ramp:
We added a door and a latch so that the coop can be locked at night:
The ramp hangs from hooks and is easily removed for cleaning:
A very important addition: hanging flowers. Just make sure the flowers you pick aren’t toxic to chickens if they are able to get close enough to them to eat.
All the stone that I took from the inside of the coop I used as a walkway to the coop and around the back:
Any additional holes were covered with hardware cloth or wood:
The finished chicken run:
I made the “Hen House” sign in about 5 minutes using an old piece of wood, a can or black spray paint, and some 8″ sign stencils:
The chicken run floor is a mixture of pine shavings, dirt, and mulch. I wanted something clean and natural. The floor is sloped slightly for drainage in case there is ever too much water runoff. I sprinkle Dookashi around to keep it fresh and add the shavings from the coop each time I clean it out. Dookashi:
We added two doors to the run so that it would be easy for cleaning. The back door is just a short distance from our large compost bin area…you can see it just off in the distance behind it:
The chicks love their run! Each morning they are waiting at the door to be let out…and of course every night they line back up to head back into their cozy coop:
You can meet all of our chicks here or at the link below!
All of our chicken coop and train depot projects can be found organized here including:
Converting a Shed to a Chicken Coop
Inside the Chicken Coop (Roosting Bars, Poop Boards, Feeders Etc)