Chickens need walks, because during the walk they can eat grass, bask in the sun, and get oxygenated. Unfortunately, not every chicken owner can provide them with a walking area, so you should get acquainted in more detail with poultry pens, learn more about their types, pros and cons, as well as the nuances of making them yourself.
A chicken pen is a great solution, but birds don’t always like it. There are situations when chickens simply refuse to leave the pen from the chicken coop.. So, you need to adhere to a few simple requirements, namely:
- use durable and reliable materials;
- ensure the safety of finding birds;
- protection from predators;
- matching the number of birds and the area of the site for their comfortable finding.
It should be noted that walking enclosures must be reliable and durable. You need to be especially careful with the wire. If there are sharp protruding elements in the inside of the pen, then the chickens can get hurt. Pens can be arranged for both layers and broilers.
The difference lies in the height of the structure, for example, the aviary for layers must be higher than 2 meters, and for broilers, a height of 1.8 meters is allowed.
It is better to make the corral higher, because if there is a low structure, the bird can fly away. In addition, a feeder should be located in the pen, and fine gravel and a mash should also be added with the feed. You should be careful with food, because on the street it deteriorates pretty quickly. The amount of food should correspond to the number of chickens.
Important! Many users note that the meat and eggs of chickens that have access to walks in the fresh air are tastier. But this opinion is not scientifically proven. Although it has already been confirmed that the eggs of chickens that have the ability to walk contain six times more carotenoids.
A familiar chicken enclosure is a small area that is fenced with boards, metal bars or mesh on all sides. How to start, such a building for chickens is located near the hen house itself – a bird can easily go out into the street when it needs it. In order for the owners to have the opportunity to get inside the fence, a door is provided in it. The area allocated for the corral can be several squares or be very spacious. Today, any type of bird enclosure can be built in the suburban area. Designs can be divided into just two types..
If we talk about the summer option, then in this case, a portable chicken pen is suitable. With their help, chickens will always be able to feast on fresh grass. Usually such models are characterized by compactness and lightness.. To prevent the escape of the bird, such views from above are covered with libel or a net, because the walls are low. On sale there are models on wheels for ease of movement, as well as options with handles on the sides to simplify the possibility of transferring the pen to new territory.
Important! Mobile models can be easily moved independently, but portable solutions need to be carried together.
If we consider the model for chickens, then usually the portable models are represented by large cages. They are used exclusively for daytime. These models are equipped with a drinker, a feeder and a canopy to protect from the weather. Since adults are difficult to drive from the hen house to the pen, they are left in such a cage on a permanent basis. In this case, the pen should contain a roost and a nest for layers. Usually the bird house is on legs, so it occupies the top of the pen, and the chickens can move freely below..
Mobile aviaries for birds can be of the following forms:
To create a frame for a structure, boards and beams, reinforcement and steel pipes are used. PVC pipes are commonly used to create lightweight mini-pens. A metal mesh is suitable for tight-fitting the frame. In some cases, there is a polymer network with fine meshes. But it is better to refuse fabric nets, since the bird can stick its head and get confused. A canopy made of corrugated board, slate or polycarbonate will help protect chickens from sunlight, wind and rain.
Stationary pens can be both winter and summer. They are placed against the wall of the hen house itself, so the chickens can go for a walk on their own. If meat breeds of chickens are grown, and as you know, they do not fly high, then the corral can be of an open type, while the height of the fence can be up to 1.5 meters. If we consider the structure for ordinary chickens, then its height should be about 2 meters and a closed type, usually a net is used for the top. A closed aviary is made when there is a danger of an attack by birds of prey.
You don’t need to cover the corral of such a plan, because during bad weather the bird will be able to hide in the chicken coop. But sun protection is a must. If the area allows, then a tree can be planted inside the corral, while it is advisable to choose a tree with a wide and dense crown, then your birds will be provided with shade.
And for a small area, you need to make a light canopy, in this case, various materials at hand will do.
Choosing a grid
Choosing the right mesh for the corral plays a big role. It is better to give preference to durable material. The optimal solution is a galvanized mesh with small meshes. It is quite easy to install and maintain. The metal mesh does not need painting.
If you need a more affordable material, then most buyers pay attention to the polymer mesh.. It should be understood that the presence of rodents on the territory does not make it possible to use a plastic net, because rodents can easily chew through it. It is also worth noting the mesh-netting, since it is characterized by durability. But there is also a nuance here. The young stock enclosure should be made of small mesh mesh.
Suitable place for walking
The location of the chicken pen is of great importance if it is stationary. In this case, it should be borne in mind that the territory should be dry, closed from the northern part and located away from the road. If the chicken coop is set up in the right area, then the pen will be in the right place.. Usually fences are located from the south, with one of the walls of the hen house being the wall of the chicken enclosure.
If the chicken coop has a little space in the front, then you can fence the entire area around the perimeter or from the side. Chickens should have direct access to the enclosure. But in this case, fences from the north should be made of corrugated board or slate. If the plans are to build a pen along with a chicken coop, then it is better to use a chicken coop on pillars.
In this case, the territory will be simultaneously used as a chicken coop and a walking area. This solution is ideal if the owner values every centimeter..
How to do it yourself?
If you wish, you can build a poultry pen on the street yourself.. In order to correctly make all drawings, calculations, procurement of materials and design, you should adhere to the recommendations of specialists.
Drawings and dimensions
Initially, you need to decide on the size of the pen. It is advisable to make a start on the number of chickens. It should be understood that a small amount of walking area can negatively affect the well-being of the bird, cause stress in it, then the taste of the poultry meat will significantly deteriorate. To correctly calculate, it is worth taking into account the following tips:
- one adult should have 1–2 m² of area, for example, for 10 chickens, a structure with an area of 14 m² is suitable, if for 20 pieces – 28–30 m², for 30–50 m²; this calculation is suitable for laying hens;
- for a meat breed of chickens, the construction area may be smaller, since they do not move a lot, for example, for 6-8 birds, an area of 4 m2 will be enough.
As mentioned above, the design can be either stationary or portable. Initially, it is recommended to choose the type, and then proceed to the selection of materials and the manufacturing process. If we consider a portable structure, then it is advisable to focus on light materials, since the corral will be easy to move around the territory. Typically, such options are used for breeding chickens of meat breeds and young poultry.. If it is decided to build a portable type with dimensions of 200x100x60 cm, then the following materials will be required:
- wooden bars 50×50 mm and 200 cm long in the amount of 10 pieces;
- galvanized metal mesh with the following dimensions: with a width of 1 m, the length is 6 m, with a width of 3 m – a width of 2 m; the size of the cells should be 2×2 cm, then such a mesh can be used for adults and chickens;
- small nails;
- hinge lock.
To create a structure from the above materials, you need to prepare the following tools:
It is worth noting that you can even cut the netting from the chain-link with a hammer. It should be positioned along the dimension line on the edge of the steel angle, and then hit with a hammer. Bending the mesh will also cause it to break.. The instruction for the construction of a portable chicken pen is as follows..
- We take a beam and divide it into 11 parts, while they are 60 cm long. 4 parts are used for the door and 7 parts for the racks.
- For the formation of the lower and upper planks, 4 pieces of 1 meter are needed, as well as 4 pieces of 2 meters.
- To create a frame, you need to nail the racks 60 cm long to the slats (upper and lower), while the distance between them should be about 1 meter.
- Separately, a door with dimensions of 60×60 cm should be made.
- We install the lock and hinges on the bars for the door.
- We cut the mesh into the necessary canvases that will be attached to the frame, while remembering about the door leaf.
- To fix the mesh to the frame, use carnations..
- Some parts should definitely be shaded for the comfort of the bird..
Here is such a budget version of a chicken pen that every owner in the country can afford. The circuit is fairly simple and the materials are inexpensive..
If you need a stationary pen for walking poultry, then you can also build it yourself, while using a small amount of materials. If it is decided to make an aviary for only 10 chickens, then its dimensions will be 200×700 mm. The pen will be attached to the chicken coop, and will also be equipped with a door so that the farmer can easily get inside the pen. For the construction of such a structure, the following tools will be required:
- wooden beams with a section of 10 cm – 8 pieces will go to the structure and 2 more – for the door;
- if the height reaches 2000 mm, then you also need to install horizontal beams throughout the enclosure;
- prepare a mesh-netting with a length of 1700 cm and holes with a diameter of 15 mm – the choice of height depends on the type of chickens, but do not forget that the mesh will be buried 200 mm into the ground;
- short nails in the amount of 16 pieces for the main part ;, 6 pieces for the door and 8 pieces for the roof;
- lock-bolt on the door.
The instructions for the construction of the pen are as follows..
- All beams that will be dug into the ground are recommended to be sharpened with an ax. So that when driving in the ground, the bar does not lose its shape, it is worth putting a flat board on its top and only then hitting it with a hammer.
- We pull the net around the dug-in beams and fix it with studs, while they are hammered only halfway, and then wrapped in a tree. It is better to work with gloves..
- Erecting the door – with the help of nippers, a part of the mesh is cut out and a frame of beams is created around it, fixation is done with the help of studs. The bolt-lock is also fixed, the second part of it will be located on the next bar.
- The net is dug into the ground 200 mm, as a result, predators will not be able to dig a tunnel to the bird.
- We also make the roof out of mesh and fasten it to the main structure with nails. To prevent the formation of areas of hovering, the mesh must be tightly pulled..
- The pen is also attached to the chicken coop with nails or wire.
Watch the video on how to make a chicken pen.