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Portable Poultry Runs by Martha King from the October/November, 2006 issue of Backyard Poultry

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February 7, 2013

Portable Poultry Runs

Light-weight & Inexpensive Fence Panels

By Martha King

Massachusetts

I would like to contribute an idea on fencing poultry runs, especially for use in dividing off areas of lawn for grazing.




Martha's light-weight, portable fence panels are inexpensive to build and easy to rearrange.
Martha’s light-weight, portable fence panels are inexpensive to build and easy to rearrange.

I built 10 frames, each three feet high, and four feet wide, out of 1″ x 3″ lumber. I stapled 36-inch-wide chicken wire to each frame to make fence panels. Along both short edges of each panel I installed three large screw eyes, at three different heights. I can line up the three “eyes” of one panel with the three “eyes” of another, and slide a four-foot long, 1/4″ rebar through all six “eyes,” joining the panels and making a sort of hinge. The linked panels can be moved into different angles and configurations thus fencing in different shaped patches of lawn. When I get an arrangement I like, I stabilize it by driving the rebar into the ground. When that patch of lawn is grazed down, I pull up the rebar and rearrange the panels.



Diagram. Enclosed area of each pen is about 125 square feet.
Enclosed area of each pen is about 125 square feet.

I place the fencing side of each panel facing outward, so a stray sharp wire doesn’t cut the hens. I treated the bottom four-foot board of each panel with a water sealer, as it rests on the ground. The rest of the panel is painted to match the coop. (Actually, it’s best to paint the panels before attaching the chicken wire. (I found this out the hard way.)




Top: Materials list per panel. Bottom:Two panels are linked together and bird netting is stretched across the top.
Top: Materials list per panel. Bottom:Two panels are linked together and bird netting is stretched across the top.

I stretch 1/2″ plastic bird netting over the run to keep out wild birds and keep the hens in. It is hooked over the tops of the rebar and over nails that stick up halfway along the top of each panel. I also cut an old tarp to size, edged it with duct tape, and put in metal grommet holes along the edge to hook over the rebar and nails. Tarp can also be used to make side panels for wind protection. These would also have grommets along the top edge, as well as down each side so they could be fastened to each other or to the fence so as not to flap around.

These pens are also stackable for easy storage when not in use.

I am a digital project manager with Swift Digital. I started at Swift in June 2007 and joined the Backyard Poultry Magazine team in 2012. I hold a master's degree in interactive journalism from the Un...