Shifting Your Chooks In A Chickshaw

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by chelloveck, Sep 17, 2015.

  1. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    I saw this neat mobile chicken coop whilst browsing permaculture sites....the picture is linked to a permaculture site with materials lists and illustrated step-by-step instructions for its construction. It's probably a little large for the average suburban block...but it would make tractoring a small acreage a breeze.


    Via: Finally, a Mobile Chicken Coop One Person Can (Easily) Move - Abundant Permaculture
  2. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Meh. too ugly and too heavy.
  3. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    I think the guy had functionality in mind rather than aesthetics....It should be reasonably light. I doubt he's using hardwood in the build. The Chinese would probably whip one up in bamboo! ;)
    Ganado and Tully Mars like this.
  4. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    (Love that Australian terminology!)

    Most people start off with 2X4s, and wind up with a chicksaw too heavy to move. And they usually crowd the chooks--who need at least four square feet of scratch space to be happy, into two sq. ft. or less.

    When I started keeping chickens again, a few years back, I studied chicken tractors in depth and then designed one from scratch for easy low-cost construction, easy maintenance, and good looks. It housed six hens, had two nest boxes, and could be built in less than a day for about $50.00 (plus paint). It looked good, and it could be moved by a 10-year old.

    And then I designed an truly unique low-cost covered run to use with it (about 120 sq. ft.) because chickens like a little extra space. And the run can be easily moved by one adult or two 10-year-olds. And it only costs about $50.00 to build, too.

    The building time for both (together) is less than a day, which makes setting up for backyard chickens a super-easy weekend project.

    I wrote up a nice plan set, and I sell one ($20) every now and then. Anyone interested, drop me a PM.

    Motomom34, Ganado and chelloveck like this.
  5. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

  6. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    Well, we phased out our chickens recently because we're going to Alaska for a bit. I never did take photos, but I have some 3D renderings I can dig out and post. I'll see what I can find. All that stuff should be filed under "C" for "chickens", "P" for "poultry", or "H" for "hens". But I may have to check "E", "F", and "S", too.

    I'm always designing stuff, so I gotta lotta files.
    Motomom34 and Ganado like this.
  7. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    Oh, silly me. It was under "Z", for ZenHens.

    OK--this is a chicken tractor designed for 6 hens, but it can accommodate 8 hens plus one rooster.
    The main dimensions are 3ftW X 4ftL, and the coop sits 24" above the ground.
    It has 2 nest boxes in the back with a single hinged lid for easy egg harvesting.
    The back of the nest boxes opens completely, so old nesting material can be cleaned out in about 2 seconds flat. That's about all the maintenance it ever really needs.

    The nest boxes are specially designed to offer the hens security while laying and then to encourage the hens to leave immediately thereafter. That means no pecked eggs, no fouled nests, and no nest cleaning. Ever. Just deep-bed the nests, and replace the old nest material every spring,

    The coop has a classy picture window at the front that the hens actually seem to like. (It's architecture, dahling!)

    The coop is also a bottomless design, so it never needs cleaning. (Ever!) And it never smells like a chicken-outhouse, either, even at the height of summer in the Deep South. (Y'all!)

    The roof hinges open from either side to make the entire interior accessible. It's also completely removable.

    The 12sqft footprint of the coop is obviously not enough scratch space for 6 hens, much less 8 hens and a rooster. But that's ok--the coop docks with a separate covered run that has about 120sqft. The hens really like the extra space. I've never had a problem with pecking or squabbling.

    Feed and water is provided in the run.

    The coop can be made from 1 and 1/2 sheets of cheap plywood. The plywood is weatherproofed before painting.

    The coop uses no factory hinges or hardware. Just wire, and a few screws. The "hinges" I designed for the roof are made of wood and have no moving parts. (One of my better ideas!)

    The cupola on top is partly for looks, but is also a rainproof vent. A pretty chicken tractor is much nicer to look at than an ugly one, and is also a lot less likely to arouse the ire of nosy/bored/stupid neighbors.

    As illustrated, the coop is for temperate climates. For anywhere it snows, the coop can be easily winterized.

    These pics don't show the chicken wire that runs around the bottom, the front door, or the chicken ladder inside that runs up to the roosts.

    It think the coop weighs in at about 50 lbs, all up. The absolute limit for easy movement is 100lbs. It's about as easy to move as an empty wheelbarrow.

    There's a Looooooog Story behind the four wheels in front, but it all boils down to four wheels are MUCH better than two.

    Using mostly new materials, the coop costs about $50.00 to build (plus paint). The pieces are super-easy to cut out of the plywood and put together. About a two hour job at most. So, I crack a few beers and use the rest of the day to watch the paint dry.

    I've written a supremely user-friendly instruction booklet that covers everything from buying the wood to choosing the paint, and it adheres rigorously to the Fundamental Precept of Teaching: Leave No Steps Out.

    The run is similarly inexpensive and easy to build.


    Paint it however you like: Camo is good for guerrilla chooks. Red, White, and Blue helps out a lot when dealing with
    HOAs. I saw a pic of one (earlier design) that was painted like a old-style Gypsy Wagon. Very kewl.
    Cruisin Sloth and Ganado like this.
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