This Blog shows how a rat proof chicken run 8ft x 12ft x 6ft high was built and how in an awkward situation the green multipost system was used to create a free ranging area.
The completed run with front door for human access to clean house and give food. The back access hatch is for the girls to gain access to their free ranging area. The back access hatch is closed before dusk to stop rats entering the pen.
Some old tree stumps were used to create a play area where there afternoon corn treat is left. The gate is padlockable. The mesh is a 1inch by half inch (2.5x1.25cm) apeture which stops all but very small rodents from getting in, the wire thickness is 2mm (14g). The finish is galvanied then black powder coated.
The cage was put behind a garage (the back wall could have been used as one side of the cage). The ground was prepared with gravel and woodchip to stop weeds.
A soffit vent mesh was placed down to stop the rats digging under. Another way to do this would be to have a mesh base, however the soffit mesh has been used to save on cost. Normally the soffit mesh is laid after construction but due to access constraints this side was put down first. A hole had to be cut in through the laurels which was lined by 3 2ft square aviary panels to create a tunnel to the free ranging chicken run.
A 4 ft gate is put infront of the tunnel and the panels are bolted together. Making sure to put anything larger than the gat in the area before ithe chicken cage is fully constructed.
These photos show how the soffit mesh slightly overlaps the cage edge before its covered with the gravel woodchip and soil. Making sure that the mesh is totally covered as the product is sharp. Soffit mesh folds easily and keeps its shape
This is a photo of the chicken known as Jasmine using her hatch. Its worth noting that the chickens had no problem working out this system and were back in their house before dusk on the day of construction.
The hatch leads to the first free ranging are. As can be seen from the photo above the 2 inch 2.2/3.1mm green fencing mesh is non obtrusive. A gate is also put in the system to gain access. All these items are stock items. The mesh in this case is 5ft high, 6ft would be preferable to stop foxes. In this case the chickens roost in the fir tree lower branches. In the unlikely event a fox gained access to the run they can use these trees for shelter.
At the top of the run behind the vegetable plot another access hole has been made through the beech trees to give the chickens access to a large free ranging area made again using the multipost system and a 25m roll of green mesh.
In order to train our apple and pear trees we used fine metals post holders, 2.4m posts, wire and heavy duty clips. The trees our now trained enabling us to focus on fruit production rather than growth, creating a wall of fruit.
This is an example of an intermediate cage for free ranging birds. As its for domectic laying birds a a 2 inch green mesh has been used. If the cage was to be permanent or for chicks a smaller mesh should be used. The chicken mesh cage offers the birds a safety area for feeding and drinking and an area where the birds can be left to range when the owners are away.
The cage is on a sloped area so a 6ft high roll of mesh has been used cut on an angle to 5ft. 5ft is the minimum height cage used to deter foxes. This has meant 6ft and 5ft posts have been used for an earth screw fencing system.