This morning I finished the new chicken run fencing, and installed the automatic pop door opener (with a little help from Domino), enabling the chickens to access the run:
The opener is mounted to a small door, so it can be accessed from inside the coop:
Here’s the pop door open for the first time, much to the chickies surprise:
Outside the coop, the opener is behind a window, so the light sensor can work:
And a close-up:
Chickies peeking out of the pop door:
Unsurprisingly, our bravest new chicken, imaginatively named Merida after the Pixar movie character, was the first to leave the coop to the newly fenced chicken run (YouTube video):
Followed by Domino:
And a few others:
But some weren’t yet brave enough:
Good thing it was a bit cloudy this morning; once the sun came out, they were all much more reluctant to leave the coop.
Over the last few mornings I’ve been attaching 14-gauge welded wire fencing to the chicken run framing:
The lower course flares out a little below ground level, to prevent animals from digging under the fence:
A close-up of a U-shaped nail (for once nailed by hand, instead of using the air nailer):
I cleared out the run, in preparation for chickens gaining access soon:
And added a little temporary shade:
You know when you have big gaps in fences, intended for people to go through? Traditionally those are filled with gates. Call me crazy, but that seems a useful idea.
So, over the last couple of days I built gates for the chicken run; a small one for people to go through, and a big double gate for vehicle access.
Here’s the small gate, after being built:
Wondering about the bit at the bottom? Here’s the gate installed, so you can see why; it’s to allow for the bottom board of the fence when mounting the hinges:
The view from inside the run:
Next up, the big gate. Here’s one side assembled, but not yet mounted:
And both sides installed:
From another angle:
And from inside:
Next up: installing the fencing wire!
Back to work on the chicken run, after the festivities of the weekend (and thanks for all the kind words about the coop).
Yesterday I installed one of the posts and horizontal beams for the small gate west of the coop:
Then today I did the couple of posts and beams on the other side of the gate:
And added a sill below both gate openings; the small gate as above, and the big gate:
We’re having record heat this week, with highs over 100°F (38°C)… what better time to work outside on the new chicken run?!
My latest toy is very useful to dig the 2′ deep fence post holes — an earth auger:
Digging the holes:
Posts temporarily placed in the holes:
Starting to install them properly:
The east fence frame, with space for a large double gate on the left, big enough to drive through:
The north fence frame:
Reverse angle; the poles leaning inside the run will go into holes in the center, supporting beams and a bird netting cover:
To be continued….
I just got back from another trip to Home Depot (the 7th for this project), to get some more supplies for the new chicken run. Wire fencing, posts, nails, gate hardware, etc.
My first attempt at a custom chicken feeder didn’t work so well — the feed tended to not make it far enough past the 90° elbow to reach the holes where the chicks eat.
So I modified it to use a 45° connector instead (which Jenn kindly picked up on the way home from work). I didn’t want it quite that steep, so I joined the parts with some duct tape:
The new angle works much better; the food freely flows down to fill the tube, but doesn’t overflow:
Having four hole heights means chickens of all sizes can reach the food without a platform, too.
Hopefully this will work reliably; time will tell.