Chicken keeping has become more popular in recent years thanks to self-sufficiency programmes such as River Cottage. I’ve seen a rise in prices for coops and chicken runs, I’ve also seen some shoddy cheap options that won’t last a winter, but, if you shop around or build one yourself, a walk-in chicken enclosure will be the best purchase you ever make. When we bought our first walk-in chicken enclosure it was on the pricey side compared to the cheaper alternatives, but we wanted something that was going to last. Since buying our first we’ve built another enclosure to match the original one, only buying the door section from the same place that our first enclosure came from. The runs have stood up to some very harsh winters, freaky gale-force winds (capable of damaging permanent structures across the UK) and our first was dismantled and put together again during our move from the West Country three years ago. It still stands as strong as it did the first time round.
The enclosures keep the chickens safe from predators when we’re not around to watch them while they roam, the clear plastic sheet roofing (bolted to roof struts to avoid them blowing off) keep the chickens and their feed dry, if the weather is particularly severe (as it is at the moment) I attach tarp to the sides to keep everything water-tight. Our current enclosures are walk-in type constructions, saving me from bending in awkward positions to add feed or water etc – which has really saved my iffy back!
Another 4 inches of snow fell last night, straight on top of what was already on the ground. Thanks to the chicken enclosures the snow isn’t a problem for the chickens, they’re as snug as a bug, knee-high in dry straw and that makes life easier for them and me too.