Building a Chicken Run On a Slope (Drawing Included)

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The most complicated thing to build a chicken coop on sloping terrain is to think about the foundation, it is ideal that although the chicken coop is raised on sloping terrain, its structure is vertical and its floor rests on a horizontal structure.

The proper way to create a chicken coop on sloping terrain is to create a level foundation, for this, you must have a sketch or drawing of the chicken coop and its dimensions.

Stake out the chicken coop on the sloping terrain, take the highest point where the coop will go, create the foundation, and level the highest point to the lowest point (see attached illustration).

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chicken coop side view

The illustration shows that the lowest point of the foundation is 21.95 inches and the highest point is 31.83 inches.

By leveling the foundation, a firm and level structure can be created, and creating the chicken run at a certain height above ground level has the advantage of avoiding possible flooding.

However, it should be noted that the foundation is the most critical point in protecting the chicken run from predators, as most predatory animals will try to burrow or enter through the foundation material.

Therefore, it is ideal to make the foundation with materials that fully protect any entrance to the chicken run, such as hardware mesh or a solid block foundation.

To communicate the chicken run with the natural terrain, a ramp can be built for the hens to access.

Foundation and protection from predators

One of the most important considerations is how to protect chickens from predators. The biggest threats are foxes, raccoons, martens, dogs and birds of prey.

To ensure that predators cannot enter the coop from below, having the coop elevated more than 4 inches off the ground is recommended, much better if it is built on a solid foundation.

Some predators try to enter the poultry house through the door. Therefore, it is necessary to put secure locks on all doors and windows.

Finally, all openings to the coop will need to be covered with “wire mesh”. This is a wire mesh made of a metal that is stronger than chicken wire.

Note: Wire mesh is designed to confine hens to a specific area, but is not suitable for protecting them from predators. A hawk or fox can break through wire mesh relatively easily.

Building a chicken run on a slope  

Fortunately, there are many different ways to build a chicken run, including building the chicken run on a slope.  However, before you get started, it is important that you know the simplest ways of building a practical and functional structure.

You should also be aware of the different landscape requirements that will drive how the designs will look.

That said, here are a few basic tips that can help you to create the best design for your property.

Tip #1-   Choose a Design Layout based on Consistent versus Inconsistent Slopes

As mentioned above, the design that you use to build a chicken run on a slope may differ greatly. For example, depending on the spot on your property that you choose, your slope may be inconsistent instead of a straight line.

Typically, if this is the case, the simplest approach is to ‘stair step’ your fence from one panel to the next. On the other hand, you should also know that there are other viable options that may work too. However, these other options may lead to instability in the structure and lots of unnecessary material waste.

Tip #2 – Choose the Right Height Piers for Stable Support

These structures can be built relatively easily if the piers (platforms supported on pillars) are tall enough, particularly on the lower ends of the slope. The right height of these platforms is essential for numerous reasons, including helping with supporting the weight of the frame.

Also, to make sure the structure is completely stable, it is highly recommended that cinderblocks are placed strategically in a vertical position.

Tip #3 – Select a Design that is Predator Proof

If you want to make sure your chickens are safe from cats, raccoons, hawks, and rats, the design must also be predator-proof.  For instance, whenever a chicken run is built on a steep slope (30% slope), it usually leaves the chickens at risk of being harmed by predators.

Therefore, you need a design that covers every area of exposure. For instance, to keep animals from digging through the new structure, some people highly recommend building a retaining wall.

FAQs

How big should it be?

The size of any chicken run normally depends on how many chickens are in the flock, This is because you do not want the space to be overcrowded. For example, you can use the following measurements to make your decision.

For each standard-size hen, here is what is needed:

  • 4 sq ft in the coop
  • 10 sq ft in the run
  • 1 linear ft of roost

How steep is too steep for a chicken ramp?

Whenever the ramp is at an angle that’s higher than 30 degrees, it is a possibility that chickens can get injured. To prevent these problems,  cleats should be added to stop the chickens from sliding down the ramp.

What is a good angle for a chicken ramp?

A good angle for a chicken ramp can vary based on its overall design.  For instance, if the ramp is not constructed with cleats, the angle should be no more than 30 degrees. Otherwise, the ramp may be placed at a range of 30 to 45 degrees whenever cleats are added.

What is the minimum height for a chicken run?

According to the information posted on pennductchstructures.com,  the height of a chicken run should be a  minimum of 3 feet tall.

How do I get my chickens to walk up ramps?

Training chickens on how to walk down the ramp can be challenging, especially if you do not know how to help them make the transition.  So, you need to know what instructions work and those that don’t.

For instance, you need some way to motivate the chickens to walk up the ramp. In some cases, chicken owners may create a trail of treats that they can follow.

Do chickens need a ramp to their roost?

The answer to this question depends on several factors, one of the most important factors is determining if the chickens are flighted or non-flighted.

Typically, non-flighted birds are not able to jump a 4-foot fence. On the other hand, the flighted birds can actually roost high up the in trees if they get the opportunity to do so.

Conclusion

Building a chicken run can be challenging.  To get started, you should know that there is a wealth of information online that addresses this topic.

Based on what you need, you can find information about the best design to use for your property.

The design that you choose will help to determine the minimum angle required, how steep the ramp should be, and the materials needed to support this structure properly.

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