Re-engineering the Chicken Run

20170828_080915I got an idea this month, as I walked out through the chicken run to feed the goats and as usual, the hens all rushed past me out into the pasture. What if we had an inner wall with a door so that I could control when they were able to slip out? I put my inventive husband onto the task and this week we created the new wall.

This is working great, and I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before! I moved the chicks’ box to the inside of the enclosed area and now I have a two-stage process for bringing everyone safely in at night. Before, when one or two stray hens came late and I had to open the door to herd them in, there was always the risk that someone else would then slip back out and I’d have to go chasing them around the yard. I don’t like my chickens making me look foolish.

When we’d finished up and I was walking about picking up loose tools, I shooed a hen off the straw bales we store along the wall. Under her, I was shocked to find that some of the hens had taken to laying eggs in a secret nest they’d made in the straw. I had noticed that production had slowed lately, but this clutch contained 20 eggs! 20170826_155341

Those stinkers. I rearranged the straw bales so they no longer have a nice hiding place, and now I know enough to go searching now and then for a secret cache. I’d like to retrain them to go back to laying in the convenient nest boxes, but I’m not sure how to do it. Now, they are laying on the floor in the corner of the coop so I have to walk inside to fetch them

Do you chicken experts out there have any good ideas?

About bluestempond

Hobby farmer living at Bluestem Pond in Michigan.
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2 Responses to Re-engineering the Chicken Run

  1. Lynda says:

    Make a small mark on a few of the eggs OR use ceramic eggs and place them into the nesting boxes. Cover the new nesting spot with some cardboard or other hard material to discourage their nesting there. One of my hens went entirely broody on me and just removing the eggs did not work… I finally took a shovel to them and broke them all (no babies I promise!). She showed up the next morning with her breast covered in egg 😦 but she didn’t go back to that nest. Hope this helps.

  2. bluestempond says:

    I’ve seen those ceramic eggs before but thought they were just for getting them started. What a good idea, thank you!

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