Hindsight being 20/20, we realized after the fact that we could have sited the chicken coop and run better. We originally decided to place them close to the house because it was the only fenced area. I still think this was the right idea. We didn’t realize, however, that we could have fairly easily taken advantage of part of that fenced in space to create a much larger, enclosed chicken run, giving the chickens both a lot more space and more light. We briefly contemplated trying to move the existing coop and run, but it was just way too heavy. Then we start thinking about how we could enclose the new run area and connect the two, while still allowing us to walk through. This eventually led to the idea of making a chicken tunnel connecting the two spaces (we will be putting steps on each side of the tunnel so we can easily walk over). The chickens can now roam between the existing coop and run and the new “north wing.” Hopefully happy chickens will mean more eggs.
I used an 8′ pressure-treated 4×4 (buried 18″ in the ground) to anchor the center of the new fence line, with new pressure-treated 2×4 boards for the fence ‘stringers’ and ‘roof’ (where I anchored the chicken wire). I enclosed the top and new side with chicken wire (we may add chicken wire to the inside of the hurricane fencing as well) and built a new gate for the north wing and chicken habitrail. Sandy had the idea to use left-over metal roofing material to block spots where we thought something might try and dig under the fence (this is a temporary solution), which were screwed to the existing fencing. I still need to build the path over the top (out of 1×4 decking) and the steps, but that might wait until next weekend. All it cost was the raw materials, a new pneumatic stapler (yay, tools!) and a trip to the E.R. for a smashed thumb (no broken bones, thankfully). The day I finished it was the day we got our first eggs, so, while it isn’t necessarily causal, I’d say it was worth it.