New Home, New Chicken Run

The first thing we had to do before we could move to Richmond was build a fox-proof chicken run. We’ve seen foxes on the land twice already and the previous occupant reportedly lost some chooks to foxes. As if that wasn’t enough, there was the loss of Methuselah (RIP) and then, a mystery bird, right in front of the chook run was gobbled (if not the fox, what? a feral cat? an owl? an eagle? Oh dear, oh dear, the threat to our girls is real).

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The first step was to locate a nice spot – shady in summer, sunny in winter – and mark out a good-sized plot.

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Location of the chook run under some pecan trees.

Then Frank dug a trench to bury the chicken wire so the foxes would be deterred from digging under.

Trench around the chicken run

Digging a trench around the chicken run

Up went the posts.

Building the chicken run

Putting in the posts

Then, magically (magical because Frank did it while I was busy with other tasks) all done, ready for the chickens to arrive with their coop. The coop has a brick foundation. The chooks have a water trough and I’ve put in some plants and sticks and blocks for them to dig under, stand on and perch on. Frank thinks I’m loopy but I didn’t want a big, empty rectangle to be their new home.

This photo kind of makes me sad. In it, Methuselah is prowling outside the chook run.

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Chook run, ready for the coop

And here’s the finished coop and run.

Coop set up, safe and comfy

Coop set up, safe and comfy

Finally, here’s the girls on their first day outside the run. This photo shows them staying near the run but it’s a lie. They made a pretty quick march across the garden towards the big shed (seeking safety of the buildings?) and I had to carry them back down to their area twice. That was their first foray into the free world and it will be a while before I give them a second go. Their case wasn’t helped by the fact that they wouldn’t come when called and Bronwyn got stuck on the wrong side of the fence at dusk. If only I could sit them down and explain the rules.

Free ranging near home

Free ranging near home

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About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: www.laurarittenhouse.com for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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13 Responses to New Home, New Chicken Run

  1. LuckyRobin says:

    I’m sure that even if the chickens knew the rules, they would choose to ignore them! Willful creatures that they are.

  2. Oh my gosh how exciting for them, I am sure all that space went to their heads. They do have quite luxurious quarters.

    • Yes, it was all pretty exciting for them. So many new herbs and grubs – it was all about where to start?!?!?

      I’m really of 2 minds about letting them free range. I suspect it’s inevitable but I need to pick a few days when I don’t mind watching them like a hawk which means it will likely wait until I have my veggie bed to work in. Right now I’m still hither and yon and I’d feel dreadful if I wandered back to the chook run to find no chickens!

  3. It looks so great! We definitely understand the predator thing. I am still fretting over just letting ours free range in the fenced barnyard. There was a great horned owl hanging out in a tree by the barnyard the other day. And I don’t know how much the farm dog understands aerial predators. Needless to say I left them in their covered pen that day.

    • Our pen isn’t covered, we are going to put up bird netting which will keep out aerial predators but won’t make the girls feel safe. They spend a lot more time in their actual coop than they ever did in Chatswood. It continues to bother me but I don’t think it will change. They seem happy enough so maybe I need to just let birds be birds.

  4. Not so loopy. Anything with a brain (even chicken-sized) does better in an environment with a bit of stimulation. Sticks and blocks are probably about their speed.

  5. Oh dear. It had to be Bronwyn that got stuck πŸ™‚

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