We moved to the Olympia, Washington area very late in the month of last October to be near our daughter, son-in-law, and grandkids. They have 5 acres, 5 kids, 15 chickens, 2 cats, 1 miniature donkey, and a dog almost as big as the donkey (a Great Pyrenees). We kept hearing about how good home grown eggs were but since my daughter's coop was full, she encouraged us to build our own. So, we researched different coop styles and read various articles here at BYC, then, I sent several photos to my husband. (We're in one of those households where he has his own laptop and I have mine.) We decided to build a chicken tractor so we could move it all over our acre property to help fertilize and keep the bug population down. Here is our story of our coop "The Chick -Inn".
1. Plans. Since we wanted to build a chicken tractor we needed to start with a plan. After seeing pictures of Nags Head chicken tractor, ( https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-nags-head-chicken-coop-tractor ), we proceeded to make our tractor based their photos.
2. Base. First, we purchased a Blue Hawk 6-cu ft Steel Yard Cart at Lowes, took the sides off, and made a base out of ABS "plywood". Our base overhung each side by 9" and the back by 5.5". Where the tongue of wagon is, we kept flush so it won't hinder the turning of the coop when we move it. On top of the base we added a piece of vinyl that I found at our local Habitat for Humanity store to make our floor easier to clean. We marked out the doorway and made the outline for the foundation walls of the coop. Our base measured 51x40". Our garden cart has a 1000 lb. capacity, so we knew it would hold our coop and chickens just fine.
Here I am screwing the corners in place. For the corners and foundation walls, we used 2x2's. Many places we used screws, other places we were able to use nails.
4. Frame. All of the upright studs were also made of 2x2's.
5. Nailing the Sides. My dad also got involved by helping nail our 1/2" plywood walls in place. The long walls measured 39hx51" and the short ones were 39hx40".
6. Cutting Door. Next up was cutting the pop-up door for the chickens. I cut the door out with a jigsaw while my husband, Tom, made the door and guides. He nailed the guides in place on the inside of the coop. The hole measured 13x8.75" and the actual door was 16x11.5". A hole was drilled in the top of the door and we attached a small rope which we fed through a series of I-rings to the outside wall behind the human-size door at the end of the coop.
7. Unpainted. Here is the end of the tractor. The door was made out of the same wood as the base. The door measured 40x23.5". The roof was at an apr. 35° angle with the base measuring at 44" and 15.5" to the top of the gable. We are almost ready to roof but first comes the paint.
8. Painting Inside. We covered the vinyl floor with cardboard and got ready to paint. Tom's spray gun came in handy painting the inside of the coop. (We tried using a paint brush but the wood soaked up so much of the paint that my husband thought it would be better to use the spray gun.) You can see a little of the nesting box behind me in this picture.
9. Break time. You can see a little bit of the proportion of the coop with me standing in it.
10. Painting. Now that the inside is done, it is time to paint the outside. This picture also shows the nest box. This is a 2 "seater" with no divider. After reading various posts and talking with my daughter about how chickens like using the same box/nest, I figured just having one box big enough for 2 nests would work just fine.
11. Roof. We are finally getting the roof on now. We got 2 sheets of 24"x10' long sheet metal, cut it, then, put it up on the roof so that they overlapped. We screwed them in place using screws that had the rubber washers already attached to them. We left a gap at the top where the two sides met as another form of ventilation. A "ridge cap" was put on top to keep the rain from coming into the coop from this gap.
12. Finished - Front. Painting is complete, the door is on, the roof finished, so my new chicken tractor is complete except for some minor trim. The major trim work was made from 2x1's. Here is the people door for those times when it is necessary to clean the coop or that we need to change the water or feed. (I don't have pictures of the waterer and feeder yet, but we do have plans for those and will build them closer to the time when the chicks are ready to go outside.) Above the door is a vent made from a metal trivet I bought at a "Kitchen Collection" outlet store. The trim around the vent needs to be added still. You can see the cord from the pop-up door in this photo, too.
13. Finished - Front Inside. Here is the finished front of the coop. Looking inside you can see the roosting perch. The trim has now been added around the vent. The perch is a 2x4 angled from the back pop-up door to the middle stud on the opposite side. The board is 42" in length.
14. Finished - Back-Grate/Nest Box. Here is the nest box and back wall. We installed an old floor vent as another source of ventilation for the coop. The nest box measures 7.5"(at its lowest point) and 12" at the highest by 12x22.5". We indented the box a bit into the inside of the coop. We probably shouldn't have because, I imagine, the hens will be roosting on it. The nest is 14" off the floor.
15. Ramp. This photo showed a nice view of the ramp and chicken run. The run was made from 2x2's and then 2x1's were used to cover the exposed ends of the chicken wire. You can see a bar going across the middle of the run which provides more stability for the run but also can act as a roost for the chickens if they desire. There is also another 2x1" across the top of the run which will rest on the chicken wire.
The ramp is 9x46" with 1x7" strips for the "steps". There is 3" between each step. The ramp was secured to the coop large hooks and eyes. The eyes were screwed into the coop just below the opening while the hooks (which were made from eyes that had been cut open and then spread apart a bit) were screwed in to the very end of the ramp. The ramp was made of 1/2" plywood.
This final photo is now from the opposite side. The tractor and run are moved independently of each other. The run stands 48x49"x8'. There is chicken wire that goes across the top of the run but none on the bottom. The wire covers only the bottom 15" on the end next to the coop and fits right up under the ramp.
Our finished coop measures 59.5 high by 41.25 wide 52.25" in length . From ground to top of the coop is 73". The coop and run cost just over $300 with material left over. My daughter thinks our chicks will live a real cushy life.
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