19 October 2015
I recently used an incubator to hatch some chicks, and it is about time to move them outside to the chicken coop. I didn't want the other hens to start the pecking order too soon, so I built a small cage to house the new chicks. The small cage that I have used for about 10 years was unfixable, so I built a new one. I had used most of the materials that I had stored, so purchased a few items to build another cage. That included some wire netting 1/2" x 1/2", 1 sheet of 1/2" plywood, 6 - 2 x 4s, and a box of #6 penny nails. Cost was about $49. I got 4 - 2x4's that were a true 10' long, and 2 that were only 9'- 9" long.
2 of the 10' 2x4's I cut in half for the legs. I wanted my cage to be about like my last one, so I made it about the same size. You can make it as large as you want, but this is sufficient for me. I cut 4 pieces 20" long for the sides, and 4 pieces 42" long for the front. I placed the bottom row of supports 13" from the top row of supports.
I stapled a piece of the netting to the floor of the cage using 3/8" staples, and then tapped them with a hammer to make sure they went all the way in. I then made a wrap around the outside of the cage. Where the 2x4's protruded past the floor of the cage, I took a short piece of 2x4 and hammered the wire in place forming it around the 2x4 protrusions. About halfway in the front, I placed a fitted 2x4x7 to act as an anchor point for the door. From that point, I did not staple the wire, and used the natural spring of the wire to keep the door shut. I did add a couple of the 6 penny nails hammered in most of way to act as a latch or hook for the netting, just in case. Keep in mind the way the wire comes off the roll. By taking it from the inside, the natural curl of the wire will help keep the gate shut. My old cage worked this way for 10 years.
The whole project only took a couple of hours to complete.
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