When it came to choosing a poultry run for our garden we were faced with a few difficulties. Firstly, not a foot of this garden is level. It means that movable runs will never sit flat to the ground risking both chickens getting out and predators getting in. Secondly, the garden is made more of slate than soil so everything must be built up and not dug down. This ruled out choices such as the Omlet Walk-In Chicken Run and although we could have built a permanent run, like this one we built on the smallholding, we wanted something that could be moved if needed.
Steel Poultry Run or Fruit Cage by Harrod Horticultural
John had noticed the Steel Fruit Cages on Harrod Horticultural’s website and wondered if this may prove a good option for the area. A little more investigation and we realised that they actually have adapted the fruit cage to make it into a poultry run, using appropriate netting and fixtures. Additionally they can also customise the cage sizes which was perfect for us with the 2.5m x 3.5m area we wanted to use.
Uneven Ground and Poultry Runs
As mentioned our garden is very uneven and more slate than soil. This meant the hardest part of the construction was actually making the holes for the poles to stand in – Gary, an SDS Drill, and an iron bar eventually got the holes in place.
Thankfully Harrod also have made Heavy Duty Adjustable Foot Plates which meant that the cage height at each corner could be adjusted and leveled for our uneven ground.
The winds here can be brutal – the wind tunnels through our gardens at high speed causing damage to anything in the way. As such we also added corner braces to the run for extra strength. These are really only needed for those who will have extreme weather like we do. The cage is strong and sturdy even without these.
Poultry Meshing and Flock Safety
Once the frame was up it was time to attach the meshing. If you are siting the run on soft ground, and in an area with predator risk, it is a good idea to add weld mesh. This should be along the bottom 1.5ft of the run. Additionally, to prevent burrowing under lay a strip about 2 feet (60cm) wide on or just under the surface of the soil outside the run.
We’ve an article of Which Weld Mesh is Best for Poultry in case you aren’t sure what to add.
We chose to use wooden kickboards – reclaimed from some old fencing – along the bottom edge of the run. This also means that the chickens won’t be kicking the woodchip out of the run as well as offering a little extra structural stability and predator protection.
In order to make sure our flock will be protected from the elements we also added thick wind mesh along the two most exposed sides of the run. This will hopefully give the hens some sun shade as well as wind and rain protection. We may well add in some overhead meshing come the autumn to give greater rain protection in the “mud months”.
Overall Impression of the Harrod Horticultural Poultry Cage
I’m really happy with the poultry cage. It offers a strong, stable – yet movable should you want to – poultry run. We found that it is easy to construct and can be completed in a couple of hours. It did take us a lot longer, but that was the fault of the land not the run!
The fact the run height can be adjusted for uneven land was perfect for us. It is also an attractive run once constructed and has made use of an area that for us was previously pretty much unusable.
As the run is full height it means we can walk in and join our flock comfortably. This also makes cleaning out both the coop and run a lot easier on the back.
Harrod Horticultural send videos (as well as having them on on their website) showing you the construction process, which is far easier to follow than paper instructions alone. The run will last for years and if moving house can be deconstructed and taken with you. The runs also come with a 10 year framework guarantee and are designed and manufactured within the UK
Although our girls will be allowed to free range when we are home, they now have somewhere safe and secure for when we aren’t home. This not only protects them from predators, but also protects our veg beds from their predation!
During May 2021 Only get an extra 10% off from Harrod Horticultural using our exclusive code JHTEN at the checkout!
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