I recently built a chicken tunnel which is really two fences running parallel to one another. We wanted to give the chickens access to an enclosed pasture. It’s much safer for them than letting them roam free and in all honesty, I hate finding chicken poop everywhere. Chickens are horribly messy creatures and I don’t feel bad about confining them to a big old pasture with bugs and vegetation and sunshine.
The project coincided with our efforts to clean up the woods, remove dead and fallen trees and clear a path, leaving me plenty of free material.This was a practice in being frugal and making use of material available around us to create what we needed. Projects like this provide ample room to be expressive and creative and to learn.
I am not really experienced with woodworking, but with some measuring and a solid vision in my mind, I was able to build a sturdy fence that is quirky and does the job it was intended for. All it cost me was some screws, a few bags of cement and time.
Someone asked me to provide feedback on if I thought it was worth the effort. I would say yes. I love the creativity and freedom that this project allowed. With the low cost of material it was a low risk way for me to learn and build some confidence. The rustic design was also really forgiving. There are some downsides though.
Working with natural material is far more time consuming and labour intensive than working with pre-cut lumber. You’ve got to drag those trees from the woods, saw off limbs, find suitable pieces for posts, rails and cut them to size before you can even start your project. It would have been a lot easier and quicker to buy some lumber from the store. My muscles sure ached at the end of each day.
I really enjoyed building this chicken tunnel. It makes me happy to see the chickens wandering through it on their way to the coop and pasture. For me this was a successful project! I might have caught a DIY bug though because I am already sketching up plans to build an archway for the garden.
Features of the Chicken Tunnel
- Sturdy posts every eight feet. Dig down as deep as you can, set your post as level as possible and fill with rocks and cement. Try to dig down to at least three feet for a sturdy post.
- After letting the posts set in the cement for a day, Affix the railing along the top and bottom and then add some horizontal posts to each section if desired. You can weave flexible branches and other materials through the posts and be creative with the overall look.
- To keep the chickens safe you will probably want to add some chicken wire to the inside of the run. You can also drape bird netting over the top if desired.
- Along the bottom of the fence weave some wattling (branches, grape vines, twigs etc). This will add an interesting visual effect while also making the base of the chicken wire more secure.