I have built the ultimate natural chicken run-slash playground, and I cannot wait to show you guys everything that I have done for this.
The Ultimate Natural Chicken Run-Slash Playground
Behind me right now you can see it is finally complete. I have built the ultimate natural chicken run-slash playground, and I cannot wait to show you guys everything that I have done for this. Our chickens have always been free range and chickens. They've never had an enclosed run before. They've never really needed it because we allow them to free range between a large,fenced area. But for this coming winter we wanted them to have an enclosed run that was going to allow them to have a spot in a bigger area that wasn't going to have any snow on the ground, and to help protect them from cold winds so that they could be able to just kind of range a bigger area.
So, after multiple days of coming out here and working on it, whether it's raining or really hot sun, to make sure that we could build them this enclosed run, we wanted to add as many natural things as we could to this chicken run, trying to grab as many different pieces as we could from different kind of falling trees around our property. Although the purpose of this enclosed run is to protect them from the winter, so the cold temperatures, the snow, the cold winds, we also wanted them to be able to have fun in there. So we wanted things for them to jump on, play on, and climb on, dustbathe in. And I feel like afterputting in all the hard work the last few days working on this building it, I think it looks just like how I imagined it to. I am super excited to show you guys it.
The Chickens Are Getting Ready to Get Outside the Run
The chickens are getting ready to get outside the cog and they're going to be inside the run, so let's go see what they do. The chickens have never been locked up inside this run, so this is the first time for them that they're like. What the heck, why can't I get out of here? So the first thing that you'll notice when you look at this run from the outside is you're going to see I have metal siding all across the very bottom of the chicken run. It's probably about 90% all the way around, and that's so that if any high winds come in or any really big winds when they're inside that run, it will allow them to stay protected from the wind by having some big barriers and not just having any of the cloth wiring or chicken wiring that they're still going to get all that wind. Plus, I enjoy how it looks next, because I know I'm going to get comments about it.
Chicken Wiring on the Side
You can see, I have chicken wiring on the side. I had it back there. We did cloth wiring for the whole front of it, and that's just because we like how it looks. And honestly that was all the cloth wiring I had laid around, and then more chicken wire on the next side of it, right here. We did the chicken wiring just for a barrier, so the chickens don't get out. We don't plan on having them in here like to protect them from predators.
That's what their cop is for at night time. We've never had a big predator problem here. If we did, and they were starting to roost in here, then I would switch this whole thing into cloth wiring. But for now the purpose was just that the chickens don't escape.
Chicken Run – The Roof
Next you can see the roofing up here. The roofing. This is clear PVC roofing siding. I use that for the roof because my main purpose of having this chicken run is for when the winter time comes a clear top like that will allow the sun still to come in, so they're still going to get sunlight throughout the day, which is important during the winter. And as you can see, I made it a lean too. There's some pieces that looks like I still have to screw down right here, but it will allow rain to run off the edge, and this will set up, like in the future, where I can kind of put a rain system, like we did here with this rain collection for our coop. We can end upputting it on our run. Alright, now it's time to show you guys a really good shot at how the inside of this thing looks and everything that's been added to it. But we'll get the chickens out of there because they're not going to like me walking around in their area. Let's release some and then we'll go look in the inside.
They're finally all out. So let's go. Take a look inside. Come with me. There's quite a bit going on in here, but the very first thing that I wanted to make sure I did for this–to make this a natural chicken run– where I use as much natural things as I can–is I went ahead and we've had these wood chips that got dropped off at our house for months. I've been looking for a purpose for them, and we laid all the wood chips down as the base of this chicken run, and the chickens have been absolutely loving it. This has been in here for a while now, and they will scratch up, look for stuff, and because the wood chips will get wet underneath and will retain that moisture more, it's allowing a little bit of bugs, I'm sure, to come up and the chickens are searching for them and eating at it. It just looks really nice with everything else that is in here. Plus, I bet we could use these wood chips for compost after the winter season.
The Next Thing I Want to Show You Guys
The next thing I want to show you guys is that, as you can see, when they come out of their automaticcoop door in the morning, they have this ladder and I built it strictly out of just branches and branches and sticks that have fallen on our property and finding a good reuse for them, and the chickens seem to use it just fine. So that is definitely something I wanted to show you guys. The next thing I want to show you guys in here–and this is actually my favorite part of it–and it's just so simple–I have plenty and plenty of different things for them to roost and perch up on, and these very big branches just fell in our big storm that we had here in Michigan.
Chicken Climbing – Chicken Climbing
So what I did is, I just screwed them into here so that the chickens would have stuff to climb and jump on. Number one: I love the look of it, and number two: It's so nice, because chickens long time ago what they would do is they would just roost in trees. So this is something that is so natural for a chicken and they have been absolutely loving it. They've been jumping on them, sitting on them, just resting on them. I thought I'd put enough in here that basically all the chickens would have a spot.
Chicken Roosting Bar
I mean they have this one here. They have a really big one right here and I put a third one down right here across that way. It makes it a little hard for us. It's kind of like playing thelimbo in here when we need to walk around in here. But this really isn't made for us, it's made for the chickens. This next thing I made–I don't know. It's just basically like a roosting bar made out of sticks and wigs, just like everything else– has been so far, and the chickens have actually been on this one, maybe the most. For some reason this has been appealing to them, and I will see them on it all the time this past week. So this is nothing special.
I don't have much to talk about it for, but yeah, just sticks and screws, and that's all you need to build something like this. All this hard work that people do to build things for their chickens to root on, and this was absolutely–I won't say free because there's screws in it, but almost free. It's going to be less than like $2 to build something like this. Alright, this next thing is my daughter's favorites, but we have not seen a chicken yet to play on it, and I don't know if we ever will. I don't know if they are going to like it, as we installed this chicken swing, as you can see, we have the branch, we have the strings right here, and I have it attached up to this big roost up here, and the idea is that their momentum from jumping on it would make them swing. Chickens are kind of a little bit of like jumpy scared creatures that if they were to jump on this and it start moving that much, they're probably going to jump off it, so we might end up adding a new thing. I have a different idea if they don't end up using this too much. The next feature: that I don't know where I saw this, but this is a great system here.
The Little Food Compost Tower for Chickens
You're going to see I have this cloth wearing and it's formed in the shape of a circle right here and I already preput a little bit of a compost bag inside it. But this is basically a little food compost tower for your chickens. So when you have food scraps or compost pieces, you're going to throw it into this little cloth wearing thing. Your chickens are going to be able to eat through the little cloth wearing spaces and search for the bugs or anything that start to build up inside this little compost food tower.
How to Build a Compost Food Tower
I did build something. I don't know if it's necessary for it, but let me show you. So, for that little compost food tower, I built this little door right here so that we can access it from outside by just opening this door up, reaching in and thendumping whatever we might have. Right here, you see, I have some eggs, some old cantaloupe, and some toffs of some turnips. Don't think anyone really needs a demonstration, but I'm going to show you anyways. So I open it and then I dump in and then hopefully the idea, like I said over time, will be that bugs and things like that are going to come into that food tower and then it will give something for the chickens to eat at. I don't. Now the chickens are like what the heck I would have just ate that straight up.
Sorry guys, I got nothing more in here. Greedy, greedy chickens. There is not much room for me to keep moving around here and showing you these things. One of the last features that I want to show you inside this thing is I have these big tires in here. There's one on this side and then there's one here. I'm not going to try to move around the camera too much now, because it's hard to do, but we have two spots with two tires that we filled with sand, and then wehrew a little bit of de in there. I know this might be another thing that people might put in the comments, but de is okay for chickens, especially in an open air setting. And what these are?
Dust Bathing Spots for Chickens
These are just little dust bathing spots. We've only had these here for about two days, so I have not actually seen any of the chickens inside them. Maybe they do it throughout the day, I'm not sure, but during the winter, dust bathing can be a little harder for a chicken to do, so this will allow them to have a good spot to dust bathe during the winter, when they might not be able to be out, or the ground is covered in snow, like it is here in Michigan, and these are little fun things, I think the chickens. If anything, they're just going to sit on these tires and perch on them. The last so called feature that I want to show you guys of this chicken run– Their last spot that they can get shelter and also dust bathe–and I think this spot is actually super cool for them. literally connected to that run is that chickencoop, and I put cloth wiring all across the bottom. Since the cog is raised up and they can go underneath this cog, they are going to have a spot to dust bathe. They are going to have a spot that cools them off in the summer, but also keeps them warm during the winter if they want. This spot is definitely one of the chicken's favorite spots.
I wanted to make sure they could still access this, but also were enclosed in that run when we need them to. They are happy to free range right now. As you can see, they don't want to even come back here because I locked them up already this morning, and I said they are not used to that, so they are just hanging out over there, underneath the cop, the cop itself, and the run. We are probably planning on having about 20– some chickens in this area this winter, maybe 22–if I'm correct. This will give them all enough room so they are not crammed on top of each other. I am so happy that we have this built now for our chickens. Since they are free-ranging chickens, we didn't have to worry about having an enclosed run for them anyways. But building this for the winter time is going to be so nice for them. During our winters here in Michigan we get big snowstorms or it gets so cold that these chickens will not leave the inside of thatcoop.
And having 22 chickens inside thatcoop for days is not good for their health. But now they have the option to be inside this run and not only be inside a run but also have things to do and roost on, (on, perch on), give dustbathes, (eat at), and that's going to be so much better for them. Chickens that have things to do, like roost or play on, or eat on or dustbath, are happier. chickens is what they say. I guess. Hey, are you guys happier? I don't know, but they are going to be healthier because of those things, and I cannot wait for winter time to see what kind of difference this makes. You guys have a great day and a better tomorrow, and we'll see you guys in the next one.
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