Our plan was just to be gone for a few days. Jeff heading out West and me heading back East. The max time we’d be away from the chickens would be from Wednesday afternoon to Saturday evening, just over 72 hours, and only 2 days without water/food refilling. But we prepped. We prepped big time. Watching a slew of YouTube videos about prepping your coop for being away, buying a feeder and multiple ways to supply water. Sure, most of those folks were leaving for 1-2 weeks, but we needed to be ready!
The first iteration of an enclosed run that would keep the chickens safe from predators (not that we’re even sure there are chicken-killers around here) involved concatenating several dog crates.
It worked kinda well, except for two things: 1) it was hard to access the eggs and 2) during a rain storm, the chickens managed to get themselves into one outdoor section of the run and one of the trays we were using on top of the run fell between their space and getting back to the coop. Awkward, difficult to move. And pretty ugly.
So, rethinking time. Back to watching bazillions of YouTube videos. Time to break down the dog crates and start fresh. We spent a silly amount of time searching on different kinds of wire mesh, hardware cloth, chicken wire. A-Frame? Quonset hut? Fancy Eglu with run? Well, rather than showing you all the steps, here are a couple of pics of construction.
They get some space to roam, extra shade space, it’s actually moveable, and it keeps them safe from the only predator I’ve actually seen in the neighborhood–a hawk.
We put in little water stations all around the fencing, bought a 5-gallon bird-food holder. And we left. They could get out the coop door into the run, but not the doors into the yard.
Returning on Saturday, they seemed okay. They were definitely happy to get let back out into the broader lawn area, but they had left us 3 eggs in the 3 days we were gone. Comet, the less ‘affectionate’ of the two, let me pet and hold her.
Little did we know, we had just created a lovely habitat for another creature, but that’s another story for another day.