An Easy and Affordable Poultry Pen


Tags: homestead, poultry,

This exercise pen is simple and practical. It’s inexpensive and easy to build, even without power tools. Although I call it an exercise pen, it could have all sorts of uses with minor modifications. I built this pen to keep ducklings on the lawn during the day, but put the ducks in a building at night.

duck pen

I used all 2-by-4 untreated pine. The premise is simple: make the pen 8-feet-by-4-feet so a minimal number of cuts will be necessary. It’s 2-feet high so cutting the chicken wire is also easy (assuming you buy or have a 2-foot roll of wire).

Materials List

  • 10 8-foot 2-by-4s
  • 40’ of 24-inch chicken wire
  • 2 hinges (not absolutely necessary)
  • Staples for attaching the chicken wire
  • 2.5” or 2.75” #8 or #10 screws

Some variation in materials is acceptable. Remember, this is a practical and quick project, so use what you have or use what you like. 2-by-3 lumber would work. Bigger screws are a little stronger, but this pen isn’t necessarily predator proof.

Putting It Together

Start by cutting six 2-by-4s in half. If you want to account for the width of the saw blade, it’s a good idea, but not critical. Take two of the 4-foot sections and cut them in half again. You should now have four 8-foot pieces, 10 four-foot pieces and four 2-foot pieces.

Make a rectangle out of two 4-foot pieces and two 8-foot pieces, but be sure to put the 4-foot pieces between the 8-foot pieces; that is, you’ll drill holes all the way through the 8-foot pieces where you’re going to attach them and the screws will anchor in the ends of the 4-foot pieces. After you’ve secured the corners with at least two screws each, make another rectangle the same way.

Helen Goodwin
5/30/2012 7:20:24 PM

Put some hot wire around and those dogs, and other critters will quit bothering your chickens/ducks.

Matthew Jenne
9/25/2011 1:39:05 AM

I have pens similar to this that I use as grower pens for my chickens and turkeys. I did a few things differently though. I used 1/4" hardware cloth, like others here have recommended, and I put 1/4" luan, 3/8" or 1/2" plywood on at least half of the top so the chicks could get some shade and protection from the rain. These pens have worked great for me for the past few years, at least 'till last month. I had something (wild dogs I think) rip the end of the pen open and killed half of my flock. Thanks for sharing though.

12/24/2010 7:25:27 PM

I've made a pen similar to this using 2x2's. 8 feet long by 2 feet high and stapling rabbit cage wire that I purchased at Lowes in a roll of 25 feet, 2 feet high. The bottom of each panel is a 2x3. Each panel also has 2 supports of 2x2's equal distance apart to keep the frame rigid. By making multiple panels at same dimensions, I now have an 8x8 square pen connected at corners with removeable bolts and covered on top with these wire panels secured with removeable bolts. The top panels I normally open, I leave the nuts off the bolts so one end acts as a hinge as its opened. In 4 years of using this, I have not had any loses from predators - (they tried and that was their last attempt). I have killed too many possums to remember how many. They were trying to find a way in or they worked their way under my portable chicken building and got stuck. I made the chicken building floor out of smaller wire and framed it with 2x2. I put a canvas tarp over the top to keep out rain and snow and drape it over the side of the pen that gets the most wind in the winter. In nicer weather the tarps come off or they're out free ranging. Hope this helps someone.

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