A happy hen is walking in outside during the day, pecks, rubs shoulders with others, then returns to the henhouse in the evening. A large grassy area and fencing – to prevent any intrusion – will make her happy. Our advice to delimit your territory and create a enclosure. Our advices.
Where to install your hen enclosure?
Hens love to frolic freely in the garden and need to stretch their legs for several hours a day. However, to ensure their safety, it is better to offer them an enclosed space. What conditions unite to promote their well-being?
- Ideally, the hen park or enclosure should be located in the continuity of the chicken coop or better yet, will be large enough to accommodate the structure within it. In this way, the gallinacea will be able to access an outside as soon as they wake up in the morning and return to the henhouse as they wish, to lay or incubate their eggs for example;
- A hen is eating‘grass regularly throughout the day, which is why it is necessary to envisage a space large enough so that the bird does not always peck in the same place. Not only does the hen deposit her droppings there, but if the grass does not have time to grow back, the place will quickly become muddy and may lead to the development of worms and disease;
- Finally, the place you choose to install the enclosure must allow you to provide a shaded in summer. Hens find it difficult to endure high heat and need to protect themselves from the sun’s rays.
What dimensions for a chicken pen?
In order to prevent disease and parasitic problems, it is advisable to provide 20 m2 minimum per hen, which induces an area of at least 80 m2 for 4 hens, more when possible. To create an enclosure of this size (including the henhouse), you must therefore allow around 35 meters minimum of wire mesh. If you only have chickens dwarfs, this surface can be reduced to 15 m² per gallinacea. A minimum height of 1 meter is recommended but it is always preferable to opt for 1.40 m, or even 1.80 m for small hens light who have the ability to fly over the fence. For these species, one solution is to cover the enclosure with a net. Namely that the temptation to flee generally responds to a lack (in grass, worms, insects, in shaded areas, etc.), and that theenlargement living space often resolves this desire to escape.
What type of wire mesh for a chicken pen?
The enclosure fence has three goals : protect the hens, prevent them from escaping and demarcate their territory. The store offers several models:
- Chicken roasting. Welded, woven or knotted, this product comes in rolls or panels of different sizes. The flexible aspect or rigid, the shape and size of the meshes are criteria of prime importance in the choice of mesh. As well as the material: galvanized steel, stainless steel, plastic. For better resistance, it is advisable to choose a wire mesh galvanized quality, with reinforced wires and a mesh size of at least 10 mm. This wire mesh provides extra strength and can bury itself to prevent predators from digging underneath;
- Chicken net. This alternative to wire mesh has the advantage of being able to create a temporary enclosure easily movable, thus allowing the hens to benefit from a fresh grass while renewing the food resources. One drawback is that this type of installation can allow a predator to enter. Even if you plant sardines all the way down, some pests can get under the net. To limit this risk, it is better to provide a net with double point which will ensure better maintenance in the ground and opt for an electrifiable model.
What accessories to create a chicken pen?
In addition to the fence, various accessories are to be provided to create a hen enclosure. You will indeed need iron stakes or wooden poles, stretching wire and a small gate to easily access the enclosure.
- Stakes or poles. Whether they are made of wood or iron, the posts or stakes must have a height greater than that of the wire mesh because you will have to drive a good part into the ground (allow about 50 cm more). There is generally a stake every 2.5 meters, or 14 for an 80 m enclosure2 ;
- The gate or gate. DIY stores offer this type of product in standard dimensions (generally 1m or 1.20m). Add two fastening posts, stretching wire and hardware.
How to create a chicken pen?
Below, some indications to set up your chicken pen:
- Mark the limits from the enclosure using a powder line;
- Dig a trench at least 35 cm deep. The enclosure must be well anchored in the ground so that predators cannot sneak under the fence;
- install them poles which will form the structure of your enclosure by planting them firmly in the ground using a sledgehammer (you can also pour concrete to consolidate the maintenance of the stakes);
- Staple or attach your chicken wire to the stakes / posts making sure to bury part of the wire mesh in the dug trench;
- Leave a location free between two posts to install the door;
- Cut a piece of wire mesh to the dimensions of the door and fix it using the stapler;
- Install the door by securing it to a post using large hinges ;
- Be careful not to leave any free space between the door and the posts, otherwise the hens may come out and predators enter.