Asheville Farm Tips and Ideas

How to Make an Inexpensive, Fast and Easy Portable Chicken Tractor (Chicken Pen or Chicken Run)

"We are thinking that we may want to give our hens more room than what we initially planned. You mentioned that the portable chicken run setup you have was pretty inexpensive and fast to set up and easy to move around. Did you make it or buy it as a kit?"

fast, cheap, portable chicken tractor pen run

It is actually just the top section of a 10' x 20' carport structure that we got at Northern Tool for $79 (with a coupon). We purchased 2 of the kits and butt them up against each other to create a 10' x 40' run. Half of the run (one carport structure) is covered with the carport canopy that is included in the kit and the other half of the run (the second carport structure) is covered in plastic deer netting from Lowes. To keep the structures stable for moving, we Gorilla Tape'd all of the pipe connections and tightened the canopy and deer netting to the bottom runs of pipes with zip ties.

And we had plenty of old chainlink gates to close off each end. The gates make it easy for us to go in and out.

Because we were concerned about the wind getting under the structure and tossing it over, we didn't use the leg poles that came with the kits.... we just used the top sections. The pipes are made of 1.5' wide metal so the structures are sturdy for moving with the pvc skid we made. moving everything takes 1 or 2 people only a few minutes.

Here is a link to the carport kit at Tractor Supply:

Same cartport kit at Northern Tool:
(If you don't get the Northern Tool coupons in the mail, you may want to sign up. They almost always offer great coupons that are good on anything they sell... even items that are on sale.)

Lowes deer netting we used:

The system works great -- with one downside: it is a bit of a chore to squat through to set up the feeders each morning and collect the eggs several times a day. (The structure is only about 3 feet high in the center.)

The chickens love being under the cover during the heat of the day and during rain but spend a lot of time in the open section during mornings and evenings. And having the 2 sections helps scatter their poop so we move the setup only once a week or so with 35 birds. (The more room the chickens have to spread out, the less stress i believe.)

Because the setup isn't really predator-proof (it provides great protection from owls and hawks during the day but certainly wouldn't stop a racoon, opossum, skunk, coyote or fox at night), the birds go into the permanent coop on their own each evening at sundown and they can't wait to run from the coop to the pen each morning for food and water. (But to keep the hens from straying, we run a couple strands of fencing to create a funnel between the coop and portable run in the morning and evening.)

This was the best we could come up with on a moments notice. But if you come up with a faster, easier or less expensive portable chicken tractor, please let us know.

Thanks for visiting!

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