If you have chickens, there are two things you cannot do without: a coop and a run. Building a chicken run is usually tied into constructing a chicken coop from scratch, but sometimes you want to renovate or remodel your setup. For that, this article has 15 easy to build chicken run ideas that you can make on a budget. The best part? Your chickens are going to feel so loved when you show them their new run.
What is a Chicken Run?
A chicken run is an enclosed area that is attached to the coop. It is set up as a safe place for your chickens to roam a little and peck at the ground. Chickens spend most of their time in the run during the day, making the run a crucial part of the backyard setup.
Also, chickens need a run — in most cases. With bigger flocks, the chickens will spread themselves out, which can make it difficult for the rooster to keep track of everyone. Lone chickens can easily become prey to predators. By keeping your chickens in a run, you make it harder for predators to pick them off or for injuries to happen.
What is the Difference Between a Chicken Run and Coop?
Many people tend to think that coop and run are the same thing. However, while the run is normally attached to the chicken coop, it does not have the same purpose. A coop is where chickens roost and lay their eggs. You put your chickens in a coop at night for them to sleep safely. A run is typically fenced-in. Chickens enter the run in the morning and use it as a space for stretching their legs and foraging.
15 Easy to Build Chicken Run Ideas
Let’s take a look at these 15 chicken run ideas that you could easily construct in a day or two. Some are more involved than others, meaning you are going to need to brush up on your carpentry skills!
1. Single Lady Coop and Run
This is the perfect coop for those flocks that tend to be 1-3 chickens large, as it does not take up too much room. Furthermore, because it is small and compact, you can let your chickens move around without worrying about them. The run is directly under the coop, so even if it rains, your chickens are protected. Furthermore, with the coop and run so contained, your chickens will be easy to round up in the evening. There is also a small space above the run for planting flowers or keeping supplies — your choice!
Get the tutorial from Lady Goats.
Keep in mind that some of the materials can be expensive depending on your location. You can swap out some of the hardwood for PVC, if desired.
2. A Movable Coop and Run Combo
How about another coop and run combination for when you want to move where your chickens are located? This design, known as the Kerr Center Tractor 1.0, features a small coop that can hold up to 3 medium-sized chickens, a ramp, a small 4-foot by 4-foot run, and a sunshade. Whenever you want to move it, you can attach the front end of the coop to a small tractor or golf cart and drag it to another position in the yard.
This one is considered medium difficulty to construct, as it requires a lot of hardware, lumber, and time to complete. Check out the tutorial.
3. Simple But Effective Chicken Run
Okay, the first run-only design of the list. This chicken run is basic, and the design is fully customizable, if desired. You can increase the dimensions to suit the size of your flock, for instance. The other reason you will love it? Most of the materials utilized are cost-effective. Take the 4×4 posts. Yes, you will need to purchase some Quikrete and dig some holes to get everything to work correctly, but constructing this run is a breeze.
Also, if for nothing else, read the tutorial on Almanac.com for some valuable tips on setting up a successful run. You might learn something extra!
4. Cheap Predator-Proof Chicken Run
A safe run equals happy chickens, and you want happy chickens or else you won’t get any eggs. This chicken run does not require any experience with woodworking or even using a lot of equipment. You can use low cost materials or add in some better stuff — either way, it is sturdy. Since it does not require any cement, construction and installation does not take much time at all. You could be done with this in a day.
In the instructions for the chicken run, the recommended depth for the poles is 18-24 inches. Aim for 24 inches. The deeper, the more stable the walls of the run, and the safer it is for your birds.
5. Simple But Unique Chicken Run
When a chicken run is simple to put together but gives your chickens far more flexibility to roam about the yard, you can call it win-win design. And that describes this run perfectly. If your yard is already fenced in, you can use that to support the chicken run. While this works best with wire or chain-link fencing, you could potentially alter the design to mount into wooden fences as well. Otherwise, all you need is a few zip ties and support posts. Depending on the perimeter of your yard, this could be a massive chicken run!
Read the instructions on Types of Chickens. They call this design “The Chunnel.”
6. Another Chicken Tunnel
Sometimes you need to get creative with how you set up your chicken run, especially if your yard leaves much to be desired. Hence this chicken tunnel that is low yet long enough to give the chickens plenty of room to roam. This run loops the entire garden, so it takes up only a small amount of space without sacrificing the happiness of the flock. Plus, it is easy to set up. You will need some wood, wire fencing, and some determination.
Here is a look at how to put the run together.
7. Hennsington Palace Coop and Run Combo
How about another combination coop and run to make your life easier? The Hennsington Palace design not only has a cool name, it is a wonderful design for those with a small yard (it takes about 12 x 4 feet of space) and a tiny flock. Capable of holding four adult hens, the Hennsington Palace is a triangular prism that gives your chickens a decent amount of space to peck. You do not need much carpentry experience to build this design, either.
8. Professional-Looking Chicken Run
Sometimes you want a chicken run that looks like it came shipped fully-assembled and ready to go. This chicken run plan gives you that end result. The design ensures a stable, protective run that will keep your chickens secure throughout the day. Since it requires pressure-treated wood and metal roofing, it is not the most budget-friendly on the list, but it is worth the price. The quality of the materials guarantees a long lifespan, especially if you maintain it throughout the years.
Check out the video for the full tutorial:
9. Run on a Hill Idea
In a perfect world, all homes and backyards would be constructed on a level plain. However, that may not be the case where you live. Don’t let uneven slopes keep you from raising chickens. This DIY chicken run plan is made with hillsides in mind. The process for building on an incline is slightly different from flat land, so peruse the instructions from Dans le Lakehouse and pick up a few tricks. For instance, you will notice that some of the supports are at an angle.
Who knows? You may be able to apply some elements from the directions to other ideas on this list!
10. Steel Wire Chicken Run
Predators that hunt down chickens are everywhere. It does not really matter where you live, unless you are in a city. Therefore, you want to make sure that your flock is kept safe around the clock. This chicken run design is a bit more complicated than others on this list, and it uses one pricey material — steel wire — to make it an actual chicken fortress. You will also need some pressure-treated lumber and cement to make this run a reality.
Is it slightly less budget-friendly than others? Yes. Is it worth it? Also yes. Check out the instructions from Dust Bunnies and Dog Toys to see if this is the chicken run for you and your flock.
11. Chicken Run For the Bantams
Granted, most chickens are not very tall, but some breeds can fly pretty high. In the event you are not raising breeds that fly but instead bantams or Silkies that can barely jump, this is the run for you. This chicken run is shorter, meaning that the materials you need are effectively cut in half. In other words, it is less expensive than other designs but just as efficient. You will need some lumber and chicken wire, but there is not much involved in the overall construction.
You can find the tutorial on Summer Acres.
12. Pallet Chicken Run
Welcome to Pallet Town. This DIY Pallet Chicken Run makes it quick, easy, and affordable to construct an elegant run. The design calls for repurposing wooden pallets, which can be picked up at local stores for cheap (or even free). Furthermore, you do not need a lot of skill to get this pallet fence standing in less than a day. If you are worried about the slats in between the pallets posing a security issue, you could potentially staple on some chicken wire to make this design more secure.
Get the instructions from Attainable Sustainable and start building your pallet run today.
13. PVC Pipe Chicken Run
PVC pipe is highly durable, even when exposed to the elements, making it ideal for chicken runs. Plus, it is lightweight. You can design this entire 10 x 10 foot run for only a small amount of money. Add in some mesh wire that is secured to the PVC with wire. Since the run is on the shorter side, you can easily add some mesh wire over the enclosure to keep predators from getting in and your pesky flying chickens from getting out.
Learn how to build this PVC chicken run by watching the video:
14. Extendable Chicken Run
There are many creative chicken run ideas out there that won’t break the bank. Here is one that is extremely valuable. This run is of quality design, because you can make it bigger. That’s right. You can fold the chicken wire and fencing outward, lengthening the run by an extra three feet in all directions.
Check out the video below for the full tutorial:
15. Keep Your Chickens Dry With This Run
Although this chicken run is going to be a bit more costly on account of the overall design, it is another example of a worthwhile investment. This chicken run is made more secure with a hardware cloth sandwich that keeps predators at bay. Additionally, it is made more stable and secure by posts cemented into the ground. The roofing is made of metal and has a slight slant, ensuring that the water falls to one side and out into the yard instead of into the run. Your chickens will thank you for the dry ground.
Check out the video tutorial:
Considerations for Your Chicken Run
Having seen all of these chicken run ideas for when you are on a budget, there are some things you need to keep in mind before you get building:
Building a chicken run that is big enough for your flock is important. You can make a smaller run to house your chickens when you are not looking, but that needs to be supplemented with periods free ranging. On the other hand, if the run is large enough for your flock to spread out, they won’t need much else. Naturally, the bigger the flock, the larger the run has to be.
One of the most important parts of the chicken run is the security. You do not want to construct a run that makes it easier for predators and pests to get inside. A single misaligned post could open the door to disaster. As such, you want to spend some time on constructing a run that is solid enough to keep predators out.
While security and sizing are important, the price of the materials also has to be considered. After all, it doesn’t matter how large and safe a chicken run could be, you have to be able to afford it first. There are ways to get quality materials for less, such as repurposing materials from distribution centers, warehouses, supermarkets, and junkyards. Look around for materials that you can save money on then splurge on the wire or posts.
Final Thoughts on Easy Chicken Run Ideas
Chicken runs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and difficulties. You can craft a gorgeous palace for your chickens, if you so wish, or you can use recycled materials to construct a run. Either way, chicken runs are important to keeping your flock protected and healthy. After all, chickens are very active creatures and need some space to move around. Keep in mind that any of the chicken run ideas in this list can be personalized to suit your needs. Alter them to suit your flock.
Valerie has been content writing since 2016 for websites and companies all around the world. A traveler, dancer, martial artist, Valerie loves gathering experiences and wisdom. Her travels have taken her to over 20 countries, and she hopes to see more of the world soon.