Chickens need sunlight to regulate their hormones for egg production. A hen should receive about 12 to 14 hours of sunlight a week. For chickens living in a coop, this presents a problem because the enclosed structure prevents them from getting the necessary sunlight. A chicken pen is useful because it keeps the chickens in an enclosed area but allows them to roam in the sunlight. It also keeps them safe from predators that enter the yard while they are outside of the coop. A simple chicken pen is nothing but chicken wire and stakes.
Things You'll Need
- Chicken wire stakes
- 1/2 inch gauge chicken wire
- Tent stakes
- Wire ties
Determine how large the chicken pen needs to be. Each chicken should have 15 square feet of room to move around in. Area equals length times width (A=LxW). If you have 10 chickens that need 15 square feet each, you need a fence that is at least 150 square feet. A simple way to make the pen big enough is to make two sides 15 feet and two sides 10 feet. (150=10x15). Length is 10, width is 15.
Mark the fencing area off with string.
Divide the length of the fence by 5 to determine how many stakes you need. A 50 foot fence needs 10 stakes.
Drive the stakes into the corners using a sledgehammer. Place another stake every 5 feet.
Open the chicken wire hooks on the stakes, using a screwdriver.
Wrap the chicken wire around the stakes. Begin in the spot where you want an entrance to the pen. Don't close off the pen. Leave the last part unhooked from the stakes. Clasp the wire with the hooks. Hammer the hooks shut by bracing the stake from behind with the sledgehammer and hitting the hook with the hammer.
Hammer the tent stakes into the ground, hooking the bottom of the fence into the earth. Make sure the chicken wire is touching the ground so nothing can crawl or dig underneath the fence.
Bend 6-inch wire ties in half. Attach them to the end of the chicken wire that is not hooked onto the stakes. Place them down the length of the chicken wire. Space them evenly and twist to secure. Attach these wire ties to the beginning post by twisting them around the post. Untwist ties to open pen and go inside.
Tips & Warnings
- Construct the pen around or close to the chicken coop so the animals have easy access to the area. It is best if the chickens can wander freely from the coop to the pen.
- Determine the height of the fence by how high your chickens fly, so they won't get out. Some chickens are light and get higher off the ground while others are heavier and don't fly much at all. Build the fence from 1 to 2 meters depending on your chickens.
- "Keeping Chickens: The Essential Guide"; Jeremy Hobson and Celia Lewis; 2007
- Photo Credit chicken image by Pity from Fotolia.com
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