Every year we’ve lost a chicken to a hawk attack. Usually, it happens in January or February but one of our poor girls was attacked in the beginning of November this year. And thus began my past month of constructing a chicken run fit for some spoiled little hens.
Amazingly, our buff orpington, Maggie, survived the attack but we really didn’t think she’d be able to recover from the massive wounds she received. That plucky little girl not only survived, but she is thriving and back in with the others.
The run has hardware cloth surrounding the bottom to keep any predators from reaching in to grab the chickens. Because of the cost of hardware cloth, I chose to use welded steel fencing on the upper part and overhead. The bottom part of the door is actually from our small run down in FL that I brought up to MO when we moved and then added on a top part to make a more normal height.
Even though I’ve built this 8′ x 12′ run for 7 chickens, I feel bad penning them in day in and day out so I’ve added small access doors to paddocks outside of the run. The girls should be safe because the paddocks are around a large bush and around a large pine tree. Both offer plenty of protection and hiding. I tried to use materials that we already had on hand as much as possible (doesn’t everybody?) to keep the cost down so you’ll note the different wood used on the access doors and how un-pretty they are. I’m okay with that. The third picture shows my little hardware cloth chicken tunnel between my little coop and the run. Eventually, I’d like to build a shed/chicken coop in front of the run but that’s Phase 2 . . . who knows when that’s going to happen!
We had moved our chickens up to MO last Christmas so they could stay with my mom and not be a hassle as we packed up and moved this spring. Between a couple of different predators and Frank being the only hen I’ve known to die of old age, we ended up with no chickens once we got to Missouri. My mom was wonderful and ended up giving us several of her sweetest and best-laying hens. Here’s our new flock, courtesy of my mom: