Putting that Architectural Degree to Work!
Since my husband got stationed in NH, within 20mins of his family and 2hrs of mine, I've been feeling a bit... shall we say, "home sick and 6 shades of jealous so bad that I am starting to seriously freekin' hate living in Connecticut"? Granted, they're not so far away that visiting is out of the question, but they are just far enough away that its a major production for my son & I to go away for the weekend.
... Especially considering that we've got 14 chickens to find a sitter for....
Currently, I've got a friend house/chicken sitting for me while I'm on vacation at my in-laws (other) place in Maine. My MIL keeps suggesting that I build a coop in her back yard so I can spend the entire summer up here.
I dont see THAT happening (the whole summer, that is. I LOVE my MIL, but... well... yanno), but the idea of finding a way to travel with my birds has been tickling my head all summer... so much in fact, that I'm starting to consider the possibility of turning my non-useful, currently unregister-able (long story!) jet ski trailer into a truly portable chicken coop.
Right now the trailer is sitting at my in-laws OTHER house in NH (yet another long story), so I dont have the dimensions handy, but IIRC, its about 6' wide, and about 20' long, is rated for 1000lbs, sits about 18" off the ground, and has a single axle. My engineering skills are a bit rusty, but I'm thinking that when I get home I'll need to break out the sketch pad (oh, and drag the trailer home to CT under the cover of darkness!) and put my hard earned architectural design degree to use (might as well, since it doesnt look like I'll be going back to school or making a profitable use of it any time soon... stupid boat...) (<-- and by "boat" I mean the submarine).
Potential design issues to deal with:
structural stability & potential forces
providing a safe and humane means of transporting 14 chickens (half of which are bantams!) inside the "camper". (my useless SUV is big, but not *that* big!)
Storage space for the run panels & supplies
... and then of course there's the usual list of other considerations of normal coop design: ease of cleaning, ventilation, predator proofing, nest boxes, roosting space, etc. I think, in this case, those are the least of my concerns at this phase of design.
BEFORE anyone can say it- No. I *dont* intend to take the chickens with me if I'm only going away for the weekend. This is more for the occasional (and by that I mean 2 or 3 times a year) trip that will last more than 3 or 4 days. This will NEVER be considered a "permanent housing option" for 14 birds!
I dont even know if I can pull this off- if it'll be safe, or even legal, to drive around with... but it'll be fun to try!! Who knows? Maybe it WILL turn out to be functional. Maybe then I'll be able to spend more than just a weekend hanging out in anti-civilization and have fresh eggs for breakfast to boot!
Here's to vain attempts! (pics to come when I can take them!)
8/20/12 (warning- this is mostly *thinking out loud* in cyber space)
On second thought... I found a pop up camper being sold for dirt cheap due to "severe water damage" in a neighboring town. Annoyingly(?), I'm still on vacation and cant, in good conscience, ask my house/chicken sitter to go get it for me. Hopefully it'll still be there when I get home. Of course, if it is- that means I'll still have to find a use for the jet ski trailer (not to mention take it home at some point... minor details, tho), but a solid base is a solid base and the issues with wind forces, weight distribution and road-travel legal-ness have already been dealt with by the unsuspecting manufacturer. I already consulted tower control & he merely shrugged his shoulders at me... I'm taking that as a sign that he's willing to humor me on this one... or, at the very least, that he hasnt totally grasped what it is that I want to do. Either way- I'm anxious to get started...
Assuming its still there when I get home, that is.