Summer Digs ~ Tractor-Coop Using 100% Reclaimed Materials

By DesigningLife · Apr 27, 2014 · Updated Apr 27, 2014 · ·
  1. DesigningLife

    My first try at building a portable chicken coop and run turned out NOT to be "portable" without a trailer, winch and lots of help, lol. (see "One Woman, One Saw, One Week")...and I cannot let my hens out to free-range as I would like to because my (very near) neighbor works for a local chicken farm and is not to be around other fowl...or could lose his job. Not interested in getting on his bad side (which tends to appear from time to time unexpectedly anyway).

    So...I built this! [​IMG]

    Being the scavenger that I am, I thought I'd hit the jackpot when someone "dumped" some sort of built-in bunkbed? unit (in pieces) back on the property. I just hate to see good (or any) lumber go to waste, so this is built entirely from the discarded "whatever-it-was" including the screws I took out of the boards by hand! All of the wire was given to me by another neighbor. Cheap? Me? I prefer "frugal", lol.

    Ironically, the wood "thing" had already been painted almost the identical color I had painted my first hen house with! How cool is that?
    See?----> [​IMG]
    Cool, huh?!

    The "Tractor-Coop" is approximately 42" wide by 6' long. I don't have a scanner to upload the "drawing" of plans I had made, but the finished product turned out pretty darned close to what I had envisioned.

    Features include:

    3 doors for easy access (one over the nest box, a large "screen door" over most of the "run" that both open upwards, and a small door at the end of run that opens like a normal door for easily transferring hens in and out from a cage without having to pick them up or drop them in, or fish them out of, the top).

    A partial wooden platform in covered end with nest box built in so I don't have to move a "shelter" or nest box each time I move the tractor. The end under the roost and near the feeder is covered with hardware cloth on the bottom so nothing can dig up into that "safe place". The wooden platform and roost bar allow the hens to get off of the ground if they want to as well. I have fashioned a shallow "poop tray" to slide in and out above the hardware cloth stapled to the is under the roost bar so makes cleaning easier.

    Feed bin (rabbit hutch style) easily filled from outside with laying pellets and a bit of oyster shell mixed in. I never use separate feeders for those items...I find that they will take whatever "shell" they want out of the food...usually VERY little in comparison with the pellets eaten.

    An apron surrounding the open-bottomed "run" to deter digging predators.

    Built in "handles" at each corner for lifting and moving the unit.

    The waterer is slightly suspended with a small wire and quickly hooks onto a caribiner so I don't have to reach in and move a water bowl each day either. It only needs filling about every 3 days with my four hens.

    The only drawback is that it is not entirely waterproof in the covered end, so I DO have a tarp that I quickly clip on (at predetermined places with hooks put permanently in place for the eyelet locations) when I'm expecting rain.

    You might notice the "staples" sticking out where the 1x2 strips are brown, unstained, brown, unstained, etc...these are the long staples that were used to construct the unit originally. I placed them facing "outward" on purpose so that when I attached the wire, I could "hook it" to these staples (before pounding them down and stapling my wire securely in place).

    Total Cost = The price of a box of staples for the staple gun. :D

    (I'll upload photos as I can...having trouble getting them uploaded)

    Basic Frame

    The two doors that open upward

    Interior shot of roost bar, feeder.

    Rabbit hutch style feeder. Hardware cloth there and on the bottom under that "roof" on the right. The cat has to be in nearly every photo, LOL, he would probably take "selfies" if he had thumbs!

    The nest box actually has a board installed upright (not shown here) to divide it from the roost bar. They can enter the nest box to the left of the roost bar (as shown in this photo). Helps keep poo out of the nest and they like the privacy and wind protection much better for laying.

    Apron visible along with suspended waterer. The "house" lid is propped open and just to the right of it you can see the "screen door" that also opens upward in the same manner. Extended "handles" on each end (each corner) are also visible. Hmm, the cat again.

    On this end, to the left is the door that opens up "normally". It is currently just wired shut since it (and the "screen door") are very lightweight.

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  1. DesigningLife
    YAY!! Good for you! I know you'll do just fine...and if not? So what? It isn't like you "bought the supplies". At least that's the way I looked at it when I was doing mine. ;) The thing that really caught my eye in your reply was "2x6 treated lumber". Yikes! Do you intend to be able to move it? Years ago I had built a large doghouse for my Rottweiler out of 2x6's, etc, and I can honestly tell you that although the dog house survived for years and years...there was NO way to move it without hooking up tow straps and pulling it with a 4-wheel drive truck...even then, sometimes eyebolts would pull out and tow straps would snap from the weight! LOL :D
  2. cindy parker
    I'm gonna give it a try:) I have some pallets and an old picnic table that I will be using. the table was made from pressure treated 2x6 lumber so I will have some fairly good wood to use. It's old...but still wood:) I have wire left over from our big coop so I won't really need to buy anything right now.
  3. DesigningLife
    Cindy, I'll bet you CAN build stuff! I don't know what I'm doing either, but with some practice and fore-thought as to how things will fit together, plus lots of sketches, those skills improve a bit. :) Good for you for using reclaimed wood! I know it's really expensive to buy it. My biggest "tip" is use the lightest weight wood you can (as in 1x2 or 2x2's for the framing, etc). As things are nailed or screwed on, it can become really heavy in a hurry. ;) Can't wait to see your project when it is finished!
  4. cindy parker
    i wish I could build stuff...I love your coop:) I have a coop already that me and my Dad recently built, but I can see needing more chickens in my future:) I am already saving pallets to take apart and use the wood. I too am very frugal, and it just about killed me to spend over $300 on my coop. That wasn't counting hardware, wire, or other things i just wanted:) My next coop will be made with reclaimed lumber!
  5. Mountain Peeps
  6. Stumpy

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