Chicken run: now open!

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:

Here’s inside:

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.

Chicken run: fencing wire

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:

Fenced gates:

From inside:

And outside:

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:

Chicken run: gates

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:

Open:

Next up: installing the fencing wire!

Chicken run: remaining framing

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:

Chicken run: starting fencing

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….

Chicken coop: feeder take two

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.