DIY Duck and Chicken Run Ideas and Accessories

by Tonya Staab

We share photos of our DIY chicken run including additions, chicken run ideas, and accessories that we’ve made to keep our mixed flock happy.

I recently shared how we converted our garden shed into a DIY chicken coop. Over the past few months, we’ve added a number of additions to the chicken run to keep our mixed flock of chickens and ducks happy. Some things have worked, but others not so much. It’s all a work in progress and we are learning as we go.

Chicken run ideas

a DIY chicken run on the back of a garden shed converted into a chicken coop
DIY chicken run

The above photograph is the basic chicken run we started with. Mike built this and our mixed flock love it. There was a dog run behind the garage when we moved in so the boys pulled the wire fence down and we re-purposed it for the chicken run. The door on the chicken run is an old door we found in the attic.

The photographs below have been taken over several months. You’ll see some when our rooster and chickens looked younger, and some as they appear now.

Boat pond

an old fishing boat used as a pond in a chicken and duck mixed flock pen
A boat pond with a fountain for a chicken and duck run.

This boat belonged to Mike’s grandfather. It was partially buried in the huge pond he had at his old house. Using the 4-wheeler and chains we pulled it out because it has sentimental value. I suggested we add it to the chicken and duck pen as a pond. We are having a few problems keeping the water clear and have had to completely clean it out twice in the past few months. Barley liquid and the fountain have helped though. We tried adding pond plants and they worked great for a couple of months because the ducks were too scared to swim under the fountain. Then they realized it’s just like a shower, went underneath and ate all of the plants.

We have read that you shouldn’t have a deep pond in a chicken coop because chickens can drown. We are over 3 months in with this one and so far haven’t had any problems. The girls frequently walk around the edge like they are walking a tightrope. We did keep the metal seats in the back and front of the boat so if they do fall off the ends they can stand up. We removed the center seat though to add the fountain and filter.

Wilson, our Buff Orpington rooster loves the boat pond. He stands on the front of the boat and crows! He can see across the pen and the neighboring yards from this vantage point.

A Buff Orpington rooster standing on the end of a boat pond.
Buff Orpington rooster standing on the end of a boat pond.

Chicken perch ideas

We’ve added several perches to the chicken run. I’ve put sticks between the corners of fences that they love to perch on.

chickens and a rooster on a stick perch in the corner of a chicken run.
Chickens and a rooster on a stick perch in a chicken run.

Mike also built them this fun perch that several will sit on at once.

4 Sapphire Gem chickens roosting on a homemade wood perch.
Sapphire Gem chickens on a homemade wood perch

Chicken run plant ideas

We have tried so many different plants in the chicken run, but they are savages. Everything that goes in gets immediately torn to shreds and eaten. We have planted an apple tree in there and put wire around it and so far they’ve only pulled off a few low-hanging leaves.

Canna lily plants around a chicken run.
Canna Lily plants planted around the edge of a chicken run.

Along the outside of the chicken run, (just along one side) we’ve planted five Canna Lily plants. These are chicken friendly plants, but we have still put them in the ground about a foot back from the fence so that they don’t tear them to shreds. The sun streams through that side of the chicken run so these plants provide more and more shade as they grow larger.

Water trough for chickens

A goat feeder being used as a water trough for chickens and ducks
A water trough for chickens and ducks

We tried all kinds of dishes for water but the flock would walk through them, tip them over, and during the summer months it was too hot to have no water. I found a goat feeder at Tractor Supply. We hooked it over the base of the fence and filled it with water. They love it. There are no more spills and non of the flock stands on it or walks through it. Although, the ducks do love to put muddy sticks in it. Each morning I lift one side, tip out the old water for the ducks to play in and refill it with fresh water.

Other chicken run ideas

solar lights hanging above a chicken run
Solar lights strung above a chicken run.

I mentioned in our chicken coop post that we use tiny solar lights inside the coop for the chickens. We have also strung them from the coop to the edge of the run outside as well. The ducks don’t like sleeping inside the coop anymore and I worry about their safety at night so I hope that these are warning off overhead predators. The moment they turn on the chickens all head inside the coop for the night.

diy chicken coop roof
A DIY chicken coop roof

We had a number of rainy days in spring and the chickens refused to go inside the coop (even though the door was open). Instead we would find them huddled together under the front of the boat. Mike got to work and built this small roof above the ramp and door to the coop. This also keeps their food tub dry as well. I still need to paint it blue to match the main roof though.

If you want to check out one of the fun accessories I made for the chicken coop, check out my chicken coop door wreath post.

Please pin this post for later:

duck and chicken run ideas Pinterest image

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