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How to Build a Temporary Pen for Hens and Baby Chicks

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Sometimes even chicken owners with the best intentions find themselves struggling to properly house their hens and newly hatched chicks. If you find yourself running short on room, you can construct a temporary home for your birds that will provide them with protection from predators and elements until you are able to get a regular chicken coop built.

Take Advantage Of Your Surroundings

When you want to construct a temporary, safe home for your chickens, you can benefit greatly from taking advantage of whatever resources you already have on hand. Look around your property for a sturdy structure that could be used to provide shelter, ideally a shed or garage that has sturdy walls as well as windows or another source of ventilation. Find an existing building or pen that is sturdy enough to keep out predators and protect your birds from winds, rain, extreme heat and even snow. Even a sturdy dog house or kennel-style dog run can be converted into a small, short-term shelter for your birds. Just remember that you need about 4 square feet of space per large chicken you plan to house.

Creating A Temporary Coop

Once you have located a suitable basic structure to make your temporary chicken coop out of, you will need to customize it a little bit. Make sure it has a roof of some kind to prevent your birds from escaping and predators from entering. If the structure does not have a roof, for example, if you are using a chain-link style dog kennel, you can construct one by attaching sheets of plywood to the top of it to create a roof. Clean out your makeshift coop thoroughly and place nesting boxes with built-in roosts inside the coop so that your birds have a safe place to sleep. Fill your nesting boxes with hay or straw bedding. Make sure to place feeders and waterers inside the coop.

Starting From Scratch

You can build a temporary chicken coop from scratch. You can build a box by nailing together five sheets of plywood for four walls and a roof, and cut a door on one side to allow your birds access to the outside. You can also use four (or more) fence posts to create a run. Place the posts in a square or rectangular shape, and then run wire fencing around the posts to create a fenced in enclosure. You can place plywood sheets over the top of the enclosure to create a roof.

Temporary Housing For Chicks

Baby chicks can be safely housed in virtually any type of large tub. Just make sure to place the tub in a safe, dry location that is free of predators (i.e. inside your home, your barn, your garage, etc). Put feed, water, bedding and a heat lamp inside the tub to make sure your chicks will have all their needs met until they are large enough to be transitioned into your regular chicken coop.