If you read my post FREE ranging then you know what a nightmare it has been (for Joe anyway) to have the chickens free range on the farm. The short of it is, chickens poop A LOT, they love to eat your plants, kick your mulch out of the beds, and dig under bushes. They’re pretty darn destructive so you either need to keep them confined or keep them out of the areas you don’t want demolished. After the latest garden tragedy, the chickens destroyed about 100 radish plants in a matter of minutes, Joe was nearing a melt down. In a moment of panic, I took to Pinterest and found some DIY mobile chicken run-ins that looked pretty good. I convinced Joe that we could build our own mobile run-in with a few supplies from Lowes and all of our problems would be solved.
TOTAL. SHIT. SHOW.
Our first attempt was to build a 10’ by 20’ run-in out of PVC pipe and plastic netting. We cleaned Lowes plumbing section out of connectors and about a thousand zip ties later we had a pretty good looking run-in (well, not really, but it looked functional).
The first challenge came when I tried to corral the birds into the damn thing. Since it was low, I couldn’t walk in with treats, which is what I typically do if I need them to follow me into a space. After much chasing, swearing, etc. we got them all in, but the idea of repeating this everyday was a non-starter.
The next challenge presented itself when they started laying eggs in the run-in. The only way I could get the damn eggs was to get on my hands and knees (which always upset the birds), crawl in, collect the eggs, and then crawl backwards to get out.
Now comes the kicker. The mobile run-in was supposed to be mobile, but unfortunately it was so damn heavy and unyielding you couldn’t move it even with two people. If you had a third person to help, maybe you could move a few feet, but if you weren't in perfect sync the poles would pop out of their connectors and parts of it would collapse. I nearly lost an eye one day.
The final nail in this run-in's coffin came when the really hot summer days hit. Since this thing was in the sun for hours on end, the PVC would get hot, warp and droop. By the end of July, it was so sad looking that it was worse than having an AGP in the front yard (*that's above ground pool y'all).
At least we had fun destroying it together! Back to the drawing board.