Green Lizard's Blog

The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.

Chicken Run

The hens in our backyard have a chicken run that has a nesting box, floor space and perches. They’ve had it for about four years. 

When we first got it there were three hens. Some hens didn’t stay long and one is now onto her fifth year. Of course I don’t have a photo of the before.

Hens have addictive qualities. This leads to multiplication. Three has become seven. 

Their home has had a few temporary mr fixit style additions to allow for this but we’ve long had the ambition to create a palace that is more effective. 

This process has now taken place. 

Originally the extention we added consisted of an extension in the back and off into a perpendicular further run. 

In order to improve things we wanted to turn this extra run into a tunnel under our pot plants alongside the main hen house instead off off to the left. 

Meanwhile rather than the make-shift expansion to join the two, we wanted to raise the whole old hen house and add another level. This would give them two extra platforms. 

We had a couple of other aims to avoid additional costs and to recycle existing resources. 

So this is what we did. 

The resident carpenter -come -genius, spent €28.00 on wood ($25). Then using screws we had and ingenuity he created this. 

We wanted to avoid more expensive longer wood prices so he joined two pieces to make each length. 

Then he added the plank you can see so that we can clean out more easily. That has some hinges. 

Next steps

We moved the old hen house out of the way. Then we added a raised brick base. Our yard can get damp so we want the hens to be above the original ground level. We already did this in the main house. The bricks came from a friends neighbour.

We positioned the old house on top of the new section and lined up one end. The green plastic was where the floor line used to be. 

We fenced in with chicken wire salvaged from a skip for free. 

The roof to the left on the new section is old wood we already had. 

We added the platforms over the new raised lower areas. 


While the frame base was being constructed I worked on the relocation of the extension cage. 

After moving the plants, I bricked the base repaired the run and added a roof and a tarp as a cover. 

The plants were replaced. 

This section is now sharing the space it occupies with the plants. A couple of which had to be reported as the terra cotta pots were too heavy for the frame. 

The pits in front will be sown with chicken treat plants in spring. 


The main house and the extention now needed a connecting section.  

The challenge was to find a way to join the two area behind our water butt. This section isn’t very accessible. But the water butt is in an unavoidable spot. 

We debated solutions 

Making a chicken wireframe might work or might be hard to fit. A tube or pipe solution seemed most appropriate. In the shed there were two empty white 20 litre canisters. We took off the top and bottom or each with a jig saw and then riveted them together. 

We added drainage holes in the bottom. 

We snipped a hole in each section of the run parallel with each other. Then used cable ties to attach them securely.

We needed to add ramps inside the main house to enable the hens to access the high elements. 

These were made of scrap wood. 

The hens have needed to learn where their door went and how to use tunnel but they are doing well. 

Taking picture of it is even harder!

They can access their water bottles inside and out now. They get access to the whole yard when we are at home.

Have you built solutions to challenges you face with your hens or other projects?

What problems did you overcome?

4 comments on “Chicken Run

  1. wscottling
    September 1, 2016

    That’s pretty ingenious. I’m sure the chickens are having a blast with all the extra space.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lizard100
      September 1, 2016

      They are still learning. The yard is really small. I think about 6 x 8m and we also have a workers, tomato plants, garden furniture, two waterbutts a solar fountain, a quail house and a few other things so we had to be smart to do this well. Glad you like it!


  2. turnipsforbreakfast
    September 2, 2016

    It makes it look easy. We’re planning for chickens but haven’t built the hutch yet..still thinking about the construction issues – so useful! But we have lots of land!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lizard100
      September 2, 2016

      Well we did the sensible thing we had a purchased house to start with and then adapted it having a lot of space is a bonus but it’s not impossible to do. Good luck! I realize I didn’t post any hen photos do I should add them.


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This entry was posted on September 1, 2016 by in chickens, environment, recycling, self sufficiency and tagged .

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