Hen Houses, witness marks and boddlefar

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was this chicken run. It took three days and lots of tea and even the invention of a new expletive (My dad doesn’t like swearing so when I hammered my own thumb out came Boddlefar!).

So the recipe for this construction project?

  • 1/2 kg of staples
  • 1/2 kg 2.5″ oval nails
  • 25′ of chicken wire (1″ mesh)
  • 8 x 8′ 2×1
  • 2 x small ‘T’ hinges
  • 2 sliding bolts
  • Circular Saw
  • Hammer
  • Wire cutters
  • Measuring tape
  • Wood preserve
  • Various other bits I can’t remember

We didn’t really have a plan, well my dad did but that was in his head obviously so I had to go with the flow.

The run was going to be 8′ x 8′, which should be sufficient for four hens. Don’t panic, they will be left out to roam free too and the chicken run can be moved too so they will have plenty of changes of scenery.

We started by measuring and cutting lengths of wood for each side, including end pieces and two supporting pieces and nailing them together. Now I would like to point out here that apparently hammering is not just bashing the nails until they disappear into the wood. There’s an art to it. Who knew? I also learned that every time you hold the hammer near the head instead of the end of the handle, my dear papa will tell you a story of how an old neighbour of theirs used to do exactly that and his work colleagues sawed off his hammer handle as a joke. So, needless to say I now hold the hammer correctly.

One of the sides
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Then we measured a length of the chicken wire and nailed in the staples in each corner and in the middle of the lengths of wood and then again approximately every 3″, avoiding knots in the wood and other nails. This really tested my patience but I eventually ended up really enjoying it (aside from the ants…).

Side with chicken wire
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On two sections of the sides we had to measure for a door for the chickens to get into bed and out of the run so the design differed slightly from the the other two sides. The supports were much closer together.

Dad assembling run (I was supervising from a distance and making lunch!)
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As I already had the hen house, we had to adjust the run to fit the door of the house so off came the ramp, we added a new door (of an old cupboard!) and we added the hinges at the top so the door will open up using a pulley system. Because of the roof of the hen house there was a gap between the hen house door and the run so we made a small tunnel for and attached it to the run so the chickens will have their very own walkway.

Tabitha helping
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The door was simple (although it turned out a little crooked but a bit of careful sawing by my papa sorted that out!). Once the chicken mesh was nailed on, we attached the hinges on top and the door opens up and can’t be pushed in. We also added a little bolt at the bottom, because, well you know, foxes don’t do bolts!

View of the completed (unpainted) run and house
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We added the roof, which was 3 lengths of chicken wire across the top and a tension wire must be added this week as it’s a little floppy!

And just yesterday I gave it a coat of wood preserve. So all I have to do now is source some healthy hens and we can strike another thing off my f*cket list!

So although parts of my chicken run may be crooked, and some nails didn’t quite go in as intended and there are more witness marks on the wood than anything, I am really pleased with the end result and it makes me smile when I see it out the kitchen window.

T testing out the hen house
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I have started another small woodwork project now and I intend on doing this one all by myself…I’ve been bitten by the wood work/DIY/Restoration bug I think!

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5 responses to “Hen Houses, witness marks and boddlefar

  1. That has to be the neatest, sweetest chicken run ever! Papa and the little pink chick really made me smile though;~)

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    • I haven’t yet! I have to build picket fence around my veg patch (to keep dogs, ponies and chooks out) and extend it around the back of the house so I have a safe area for T to play and so the dogs can’t get near the chickens as they’ll stress them out or eat them!

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