Saturday, June 16, 2012

Introducing our Chunnel: the chicken tunnel

I turned the big 4-0 last month and my husband made me something very special (which my husband tells me ordinary women would not even want)! Let me take you on a visual tour.


This is at the back of my suburban homestead.  I am standing right next to the coop.


To the left of the coop is the run.  For a year this was all the space the chickens had and I knew they needed more room.  On top of the run is a new addition...it is my lettuce box.  It provides shade for the chickens and protects them from the rain so they can still be outside.  I can grow on top of the run without losing any space.  Space is a premium here in the suburbs.  I had to figure out how to give the chickens more room without taking anymore garden space.  If we extended this run to the left, it would sit right on top of one of my prime growing areas.  So here is our solution:  a chunnel.  That's right...a chicken tunnel.


Directly to the left of the run is the juncture where the chunnel connects to the run.


Then we travel more to the left...you see the chunnel behind my pea trellis and some chickens looking for some treats.


Then the chunnel turns the corner and heads down the western side of my yard along the fence.  I had such weeds that grew here...and now you can see not a single thing is left growing!!!


And here is the scene that causes me the most amount of joy!!!!  Every time this happens I giggle like a school girl.  All I have to do is call the girls and they come a runnin'!!!!  I am at the very end of the chunnel.  They run like there is no tomorrow and it is so fun to watch! (note: do you see there is no longer one green thing along the side of the fence!)


This side of the yard gives them lovely shade in the heat of the afternoon.  I have to say, living in the suburbs I have to protect them from lots of critters...we have foxes and birds of prey everywhere.  This is as close to free range as we can get for them and they don't need supervision.  The chunnel is very secure and they are indeed much happier!!!


This is the very end of the chunnel and it has been fun showing you our solution of adding more room without taking much space!  Hope you have enjoyed this post.
Blessings!

86 comments:

  1. You'll probably find that that bare patch of sand is now quite fertile from all the weeds which have been pooped out :)

    Love the idea though...

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  2. This is an awesome idea!! Love it!

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  3. Oh. My. Lands. This is wonderful! I love it when they run. I think it looks like ladies pulling their skirts up and running. I may have to do this. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. LOVE this..!! You have made your girls so happy..! (And you too of course!)
    GREAT Birthday gift too.!! ~ Yvette

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  5. This is so cool! I have spoiled my girls as well! But they have a big yard. We are lucky enough to have 2 acres.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Kathy

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  6. My husband surprised me with a very nice coop he built and our first ever chickens for my 40th birthday. Obviously this is right up my alley! Maybe for my 41st??? I love this!

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  7. Very Nice Idea! I am going to ponder how to do something like that in my yard

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  8. Can you give us a little tutorial on how it is made and secured? It's a wonderful idea, I love it! I'm your newest follower!

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    1. Teresa
      Did you ever get a tutorial?

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    2. Thank you so much for sharing. I am about to get some chooks and was looking for something suitable and this might just work for me :-)

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  9. I had no idea how popular my little project would become. As soon as I can get my husband and son outside, I will get pictures and put up a tutorial! So happy to see all the interest!

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    1. yay! looking forward to it. I'd love to do this, but I need instructions. :)

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    2. I would love a tutorial as well! Right now our chickens have killed a quarter of our yard. Kids are on the horizon for us and I would love to reclaim part of the yard and build a chunnel! We also live in the suburbs and would need it to be very secure.

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  10. Just happened across your blog and MAN I'm glad I did. I'm planning a very small coop for just a couple chickens, but worried that I couldn't provide a large enough run. This is a perfect solution to my problem. Thanks so much for sharing!!

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  11. I Will!!!! be doing this!!! Very brilliant idea! A totorial would be awesome and more pictures!!! THANK YOU!!!!

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  12. I did it and blogged about it!
    http://walkandnotfaint89.blogspot.com/2012/10/chicken-tunnel-chunnel.html

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  13. What a great idea.. I am one of those unusual women who would love this as well.. We are working on expanding ours at the moment and have just build the ladies 4 new nesting boxes.. I am lucky though as I have a bit of land for mine.. Sandy :)

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  14. What a fabulous idea! I must pin this for the future when we finally get our chickens. I was really worried about them running around the backyard with the dog. Problem solved!

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  15. If I ever find myself at a home without much room, I will use this! I am your newest follower, and I hope you can make it over to possumhillfarms.com

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  16. This is FANTASTIC!!! I'm another of those odd women who would love to get this as a bday present! I had to coop up our free-range chickens because we lost so many to predators but really feel bad about them only having a 4'x24' space. A chunnel will be perfect! Is yours full round and buried, or is it in half and staked? We have skunks, raccoons, badgers, coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions, so I'll probably have to make it a full circle that they can't dig under, but would love to be able to go twice as far with the same amount of wire. Thank you so much for sharing this!!!

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  17. I'm going to do this for my rare chickens....half and staked and butted up to automatic chicken door. This way the chickens are in at night and don't have to spend a lot of money preditor proofing the outside. Love this idea!

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  18. Love this! It's kind of like my Chicken Wiggle Walk! So much fun to watch! http://www.sharidenise.com/chick-a-denise/chicken-wiggle-walk/

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    1. This link doesn't lead to anything meaningful...

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    2. It's moved to here: http://www.sharidenise.com/cackleberry-lane/chicken-wiggle-walk/

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  19. I would love to get something for my chickens. My four have a 10x10 yard but get to free range most of all the day. However, if I must leave them in the pen, they have plenty of room. Raccoons can reach right into your tunnel and pull your chickens out in pieces. I use 1/2 inch hardware cloth, WAG.

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  20. We don't have raccoons here...my main predators are foxes and falcons...we are home all day so nothing gets to them. At night they are locked up. I haven't lost a chicken yet. For those who do have these issues, I would definitely use a more formidable type of mesh. Our original run is completely covered in chicken wire, including underneath it-we had a few foxes check it out at night, but the girls are locked up so no problem. We have the tunnel staked down and partially screwed to the fence. We had considered undergirding it with additional chicken wire, but it was an expensive thought so we didn't do it. Living in the burbs, this was a great solution to our problem of more space. They have a nice run, and the tunnel gives them some serious running room. I don't free-range because of falcons and foxes, and if they got scared they probably would end up in a neighbor's yard. So this solved all the issues we had. Plus having a son with an airsoft gun and awesome aim keeps most things away...we've never seen a predator during the day in our yard. Dogs can't get in...plus, no skunks or raccoons. I can imagine in a more urban setting that this design would have to be reinforced. It's worked for us and I am just tickled pink with how much my chickens enjoy it!!!

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    1. Hi! We're up in Evergreen and we get foxes and the occasional bear so getting a chicken run in place for my girls has been a nightmare! They're safe at night with a coop I built and keep in our garage and we're always home/outside when they're out but the landscape of our property doesn't really allow for a run at all! Does you chunnel have a bottom as well or is it just half an arch from the fence to the ground?

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    2. How Fun!!! I did something similar - making a temporary area from the chicken coop to the nearby flower bed which is filled with unwanted grass. Hoping the weeds will be cleaned out within the month. They are working on it. Win win. Love it.

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  21. I'm curious as to how you have it anchored to the ground?we have extremely soft sandy soil and your basic garden hooks don't hold anything down lol

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  22. Nice. I made a run in a loop round my garden, so the chickens can keep out the peripheral weeds and the grasshoppers in the fall.

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  23. Great...have to share w/ d I l now..thanks!

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  24. What a brilliant idea-- love it!

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  25. I agree with Owl haven.. I really like it.. Kool beans...

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  26. this is an extension of the chicken tractor idea. i would make the chunnels modular so they can be rearranged to spread fertilizer and turning of the soil evenly. for instance, in a traditional box garden grid layout, i could alternate the chunnels through the lanes between the boxes. this way you never have to pull weeds outside of your box garden, and the grass under foot is always green and fertile. except i want a vertical garden, and i want aquaponics. so still figuring out how to set it up. it'll probably end up just being a chunnel around the fence perimeter of the yard as shown here, too. but i worry about the poop pileup and potential unneighborly odors?

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    1. by spreading all available green matter on top of the wire, you invite the chickens to snacking and provide extra nutrition..straw, coffee grounds and eggshells run through grinder/mixer, leaves and all manner of grasses grown without fertilizers or pesticides of course..
      rake out once a year and watch the next generation grab everything you set on the wire..a chicken game. no odor..

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    2. Awesome idea for using the space next to the fence. Thanks for sharing.

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  27. Thanks so much for sharing! We have coyotes and feral cats who would love chicken for dinner. I want to raise them someday, but the cost of making huge pens kept me putting it off. We could run these along our fences a lot cheaper. :)

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  28. What an ingenious idea! I am one of those women as well, I have received a hatchet and a sawzall as presents from my hubby & LOVE it!
    I Love Mike's idea of doing this in a moveable fashion, would be great in/around the garden as he said. I might just have to set something up next spring!

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  29. what a great idea! We ended up having to put up deer fence around our garden to keep our hens out, and it didn't look that nice, I like your solution better! Yeah, we have a huge coop with a run, but it isn't big enough for the girls, they like to roam. :)

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  30. inquiring minds want to know what size panel you used and what height & width you bent it.

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  31. Great idea for the chickens, would work well for guinea pigs too I reckon. Rob:)

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  32. Hi - I found your blog today, because I friend sent me a link on facebook to this post. I love it. I am following...please follow back at biguniversesmallworld.blogspot.com. :)

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  33. I love this idea! We plan to do this for our girls in the spring. We also live in Colorado and I was wondering how it works with snow?

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  34. Luckily I'm able to free-range my flock, but this is such a brilliant idea! Gave me a big smile to see your chickens so happy.

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  35. Thanks for this idea...it is awesome. We have a 3 1/2 acre hobby farm. But I would still love to do this because we have dogs etc. that run free and I don’t want them & the wild things in the area to get to the chickens and yet have them freer to run. Thanks

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  36. What an outstanding idea! I hope to be able to keep chickens in my yard some day. Lovely blog!

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  37. Olá amigo, Gostei mto das idéias e principalmente do galinheiro tunel... Pessoas e animais felizes!!! Obrigada por compartilhar! Agora sou sua seguidora. Luz e Paz.

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  38. That looks so fun! Did you put some chicken wire under the chunnel too?

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  39. One word of caution when using wire. My brother did this years ago. All was great until he started finding headless chickens. Turns out that local wildlife and dogs were snapping the chickens heads off when they stuck there heads out through the wire.

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  40. What a great idea! And of course, easily modified for others' particular circumstances and needs. Thanks for sharing!

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  41. great idea, i don't free range due to predators, but i am making a large portable cage to move them around the yard on weekends. I hope it doesn't stress them too much, the main chicken house has an electric fence around it to keep cats,coons,possums etc away. NO MOUNTAIN lions that i know of, plenty hawks though. thanx for the neat idea.

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  42. Love this! Would love to have chickens and a chunnel! Are you going to put a "how to" on here? Thanks for sharing!!

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  43. We've done this for the last 3 years. The chunnel went from the permanent run and coop to what we called the extended run which was movable fencing that we moved every week to ten days around the yard. Kind of rotational grazing, We have 3 areas that we move the fencing to. the tunnel has openings at those three locations and we just cover the unnecessary outlets when not in use The tunnel is made of just cheap plastic fencing. It has started to degrade so this year we are redoing it not sure what we will use. We need to take it down before the snow flys up here in Minneapolis. So we want some ting light and easy to store.
    We do have plenty of predators but haven't had any incidents. I have had hawks flying over checking them out while in the open top extended run fencing but the chickens just headed to the tunnel and on to the coop. We do lock them up in the coop at night? We are in the city but live next to a wooded park and have seen fox, coyote, and of coarse plenty of raccoons. The chickens love the tunnel and get a bit bent out of shape when we take it down or don't let them go out in it. They stand in their run looking longingly into the yard.

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  44. I see alot of people are asking the same questions that I have! What type of fencing do we buy? Width, Strength etc. And how do you stake it into the ground? Could you please answer these questions so we can make one of these for ourselves? thanks so much!!!

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  45. I'm not even a homesteader (I live in the suburbs, and the only chickens I have are in my freezer), and I loved reading this and seeing those pictures! Just meandered over here from Pinterest. Your "chunnel" is awesome!

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  46. Love this. Really want to try this in my yard.

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  47. Oh My Gosh! I am sitting here with a HUGE Smile on my face! What a TERRIFIC idea! I am So Flippin Excited! I need to find out if we can have hens here! Thank you So Much for sharing!

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  48. Love this idea! I live on a ranch and our 50+ chickens are all free-range (soon to be joined by 60+ chicks for grasshopper control over the summer) We used to have major predator problems but our Great Pyreneese takes care of that now. I have been trying to figure out a way to have some Roehn Ducks in my (fenced) back yard this summer, but safely co-existing with my Aussie. This seems like the perfect solution! Put a small in-ground pool at one end for them to play in, a shelter at the other end and we have duckies and no bugs or weeds! Thank you for the idea, Zuccinimom! I'm going to go get to work right now ;-)

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  49. Bravo!!! This is so cool. It is so nice to see farm animals being well taken care of!
    Christine

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  50. GRACIAS POR TAN EXCELENTE IDEA...UN SALUDO DESDE PUEBLA, MEXICO.

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  51. I love this. And the pics of the chickens on the run are hilarious. I have a bit more room for chickens and mine have a nice big yard but I think this is great as a passage way to another area I would like to open up for the girls but didn't want to build another house. With your chunnel idea I can open it up when I want and let them clean up another area. Very very clever, thanks for sharing with us.

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  52. That is a perfect solution! And if the chunnel is movable, then I could simply re-direct it over my garden so they could do their rototilling magic :) The real challenge for me would be to keep them protected from my dog (Boxer/Pit mix), who would go in high prey-drive watching the chickens run "right under her nose." As it is now, I have a double layer of chicken wire around their run, so Layla doesn't stick her curious nose through and grab a mouthful of feathers, or more...

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  53. Love this! I'm just thinking about keeping chickens in my back garden. This is a great idea.

    http://arielsbeloved.blogspot.co.uk

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  54. THANKYOU I'm going to build a Chunnel in Buckingham Buckinghamshire x

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  55. What a wonderful idea to keep the chickens safe and your garden from being eaten! We let our chickens free-range and I have taught them to stay clear of my garden. I'm hoping that we will never have to protect them from predators, however, if the need should arise, this chunnel is great to know about! Thank you for sharing!

    Con- SimplyLivingMoms101.com

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  56. Personally when I saw this, I thought geez I would love to have one of these for my bday. Lol then I read how you got it for yours. We have lots of chickens and pigs , but this was out first year doing chickens. Even though we did not spare any amount of money building there coop, we put it in a spot that it recieves direct sunlight for a good portion of the end of the day. And want to wait till next year to make modifications.I would love to build one of these going the length of the back of our house from there coop. Thank you for sharing.

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  57. Hi...a friend just posted this and tagged me through facebook. I love it and started following you because of it! How adorable! As a fellow chicken-and-garden aficionado I must say this is a great way to give the girls more room, control pests and weeds, and allow some free-ranging. I may do this at my little homestead too! Beautiful.

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  58. I love my girls they r all named and I love love love the Chunnel. We live in the city as well n I wish I could do this just to enjoy the watch.

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  59. Hello,i need to say that this is Fantastic,what a perfect choice of reference "Chunnel"and the image of the Girls running through it ..haha,i live in Melbourne Australia and would so love to do this in Our front garden..Awesome ..Katrina.

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  60. Just found this on pinterest, love the idea! AND I love the idea of growing stuff on top of the run, so smart! You could use that with a brooder pen or rabbits too. Anyhow, very much enjoyed finding this post.

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  61. This is soooo inspiring!! I saw the chicken tunnel before but never thought of calling a chunnel. I love that!! And I know for them when they run, I too had the surprise to see how fast they can run and how enthousiastic they can get. I used to giggle like a schoolgirl also when I had chickens (and I'm looking forward to make this happen again and asap).

    I also lllllooooove your idea of a lettuce bed on top of the coop; what a nice way to have more than one purpose for an item. That is simply genius!! I'll definitely do the same when I get my own coop again.

    Thank you sooo much for taking the time to take all those pictures and to write clear description. And keep up the good creativity!! The whole world benefits from it!! Love!

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  62. I solved the same problem by building a big box on wheels, added chicken wire, a door that I can move up and down. I out the hens (Ionly have 5) inside and I move them to different parts of the yard during the day. THey love it and nothing can get to them either!

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  63. Sweet idea! We will duplicate it here at Manatee Ranch! We are always looking for a way to use every inch of our precious 1 acre. Good idea!

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  64. Love the chunnel! Wondering how you have the chunnel secured to the ground?

    Thanks, Sara

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  65. I'm suffering from the same problem of not having enough space for my chickens, I started building a run a little way from the coop and was planning on making a tunnel to it, so surfing the web for ideas i came upon your blog. great idea. i was curious how the wire is fastened together?

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  66. Love it! Despite my efforts, all my girls were eventually eaten by a family of red foxes that moved in last year. :( I've been very discouraged, but you are inspiring me to try again!

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  67. I bet you have fewer bugs in your yard than the neighbors.

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  68. http://www.pinterest.com/mart85yahoocom/chicken-tracktor-tunnel/ here is a collection of mine and others who have done tunnels. I love mine win win for me an my neighbor.

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  69. Great idea and I already have the fencing...just need to get the chicks!

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