I had spent months looking on craigslist for a reasonably priced horse trailer to turn into my main chicken coop. I finally found one that was $350. It was an added bonus that it had a nice paint job.
Most of the tools I use are from the 40's and 50's and they belonged to my grandfather. I am 25 years old and have been building all sorts of things since I was a kid. This April my girlfriend and I started a small business called RentACoop.com where people in MD, DC and VA can rent chicken coops with egg laying hens for 1 month at a time to see if chickens are right for them. I design and build the coops and she paints them and answers emails. We love each other and the people we meet through our business.
So... converting a Horse Trailer into a chicken coop. I'll have mostly pictures in this posting because I believe the statement "A picture is worth a thousand words" is very true. I am also a visual learner so I see this as the best way for you to learn from me. If you have any question please ask! I love answering question and would love to help you with your project in any way that I can.
The first set of pictures are going to be of the Trailer the day I purchased it, the second group will be of the building process and the third, of the finished product. I will have a few notes here and there but not many. Hope you enjoy!
I was lucky to find a trailer that had great ventilation from the start. This is on both sides 1 foot from the top.
This had no use so I planned to take it out and put hardware cloth in its place.
There was a lot of rust and rotted away metal that had to be sanded and sledge hammered out.
This picture was right after tearing out everything rotten and after a nice paint job with some recycled paint from "the dump"
I chose nailing these into the sides of the trailer instead of the roosts themselves so I could easily lift them out while cleaning.
This is a picture of how I made the nesting boxes at an angle so the eggs would roll into the hardware cloth and not get stepped on and dirty which makes for much easier cleaning.
The metal ring at the bottom is what I use to keep the tube from sliding all the way through. The position that the tube is in is for when I am moving the trailer from one are to the next. If you pull out the metal bolt with the ring and place it in one of the wholes at the top of the pipe, it slides down 8 inches and just 1 inch of the pipe would be visible when looking into the bucket. This allows for most of the feed that i pour into the bucket to gradually flow into the piping. If you take a look at the last picture on this post you'll see where the buckets are located in the trailer. These 4 inch PVC pipes come out of the bottom of the trailer where the feed is out of the rain a. They can hold a total of 300lbs of feed which will last the our 60 hens about 12 days.
Here is a look at what the 55 gallon buckets look like from above. I did not nail in either of the wooden pieces above the buckets so I would have easy access when cleaning was needed.
Here is a picture of the two 55 gallon buckets that hold enough water for 20 days. They have big enough holes in the tops to scrub them out when necessary. We connected them at the bottom so that they both fill and drain at the same pace. Also pictured are the two 4 inch feeders that go from the orange buckets down to the bottom of the trailer.
This is the bottom front of the trailer where the feed and water are accessed. You can vaguely see the "chicken nipples" at the top of the picture that connect to the water pipe
Easy access to the nesting boxes from outside of the trailer.
A cover is necessary so no manure, bugs, dirt or chickens get into the water buckets
You can fill up the water buckets from outside of the coop
A tarp covered with 3 inches of pine shavings covers the floor
I thought about getting an automatic door for when I forget to turn on the electric fence but I came up with this idea and thought it would do the job. It's about 3 feet off the ground.
Soon enough the white stripe will be painted with the words RentACoop.Com's Home Base
20 hours later... The finished product
Hope you got some ideas from this post. Thanks for taking the time to check it out.
Tyler and Diana
I accidentally uploaded this picture but I figured I'd leave it up because it is one of my favorite foods. It's called "Spuma de Capsuni" and it is an easy dessert to make with the eggs collected from your hens. Here is the link to the page with the recipe if you're interested. http://www.rentacoop.com/Recipes.html