Safe Free Ranging Using Chunnels

| 4/25/2014 8:19:00 AM

Tags: Chickens, Free Ranging, Chunnels, Chicken Tunnels, Safe Chicken Keeping, Susan Berry,

Susan BerryAfter losing three hens to poisonous edibles in the woods behind the coop, I had to come up with a safe free-range solution for my girls. After doing a little research, I discovered these “Chunnels” on the internet and made a modified version that I felt would suit our needs. They give Mom a sense of comfort concerning safety and the girls seem to enjoy them a great deal. We also have a 10-by-16-foot enclosed roofed run area where they can stretch their wings if they so choose.

The chunnels that I found online were done in a few different versions, one being attached to 2-by-3s and were only built in one section, laid end to end and moved around to accommodate garden placement utilizing the hens as weeders and fertilizers. My yard is not large enough to utilize this model, and I personally don’t think as a horticulturist that fresh chicken manure is good to incorporate into the gardens, it should be well composted.

I opted to make my chunnels one continuous length. This limits moving capabilities but it has worked well for our small homestead. This version is also the least expensive to make. One other reason I like this variation is ... it is FUN! It sort of looks like a maze and can be laid out in a few designs with bends and curves and be put just about anywhere.

Here is the list of supplies you will need:

– Red Brand No Climb Horse Fence (or similar 12 gauge fencing) 36 inches or 48 inches in height

– Hardware cloth

4/5/2015 8:49:45 PM

I wrote this blog and you would have to be pretty dumb to leave your chickens out at night. I really dont think it was necessary to specify daytime use only. Some people just love tearing down others.

4/28/2014 9:33:28 AM

Susan, great idea for allowing chickens to do their thing but still be protected. What kind of plant did they eat that poisoned them? I've never heard of a chicken being poisoned before. I have a project coming up either this fall or most likely next year that will require bending a cattle panel into a entry for a garden area. So much can be done with fencing material other than traditional fences. Your creative ideas always inspire me to think out of the box. Thanks for another great post. ***** Have a great safe free ranging chicken chunnel day.

4/27/2014 8:31:42 AM

Hi, This is Mary from Old Dog New Tricks. I want to add that I agree with Betty, below, that this is for DAYTIME only. A raccoon will pull that chicken out piece by piece. Not pretty. Good blog, though!!

4/25/2014 2:13:40 PM

Please remember this is DAYTIME ONLY! A predator will take the head off of a little chicken looking out of that wire! I know that is what you are saying, but I just want to really let people know. If you have a playful pup, or dog also, maybe cover the hardware with chicken wire. I love the idea!

4/25/2014 2:01:25 PM

Do you have any photos from above to show the layout and get a better perspective of how much chunnel that you have? Also what was the approximate cost of doing this?

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