A few chicken tractor questions: Vents, wheels etc. (pics)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ScotH, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. ScotH

    ScotH In the Brooder

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    South East Texas
    I found some clear roofing material (not enough, but it's a start), I also found some boxes\\drawers that should work well for nesting and a A\\C intake vent that I'm thinking of using along with roof vents.
    (My predators\\pests are going to be opossum, rat, squirrel and maybe one of our dogs. )

    This is the skeleton of my 4x6 coop (already around 100lbs.), the height is 6 feet, but will probably be around 5 when complete. (I'm pretty short).

    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us


    The A\\C vent's filter size\\opening is 16"w x 25"h, it hinges at the bottom like most of them do:

    [​IMG]



    Four boxes I found, I might frame them together for an outside nest box or put a couple in the coop as is. They are 24" x 16" x 5":

    [​IMG]



    This is the type of wheel I'm thinking about getting, it's 10" tall, 3" wide at Harbor Freight for 12.99 (I wasn't wanting an air up wheel at first, but they might work better when the soil gets wet.)
    My tractor will more than likely 400+lbs., so I need ideas for hinging them under the coop when I'm ready to move it. (I do not have any welding skills.)

    [​IMG]

    http://www.harborfreight.com/10-inch-worry-free-tire-96691.html




    Just want some opinions on using that type of vent?, how to hinge the wheels?, using air-filled or solid wheel? .... I have more questions, but I need to stop typing and eat something.




    Edit: I'll keep editing my edits and replying to myself, I'm crazy like that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2010
  2. ScotH

    ScotH In the Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2010
    South East Texas
    I'm now thinking that the A\\C intake vent could also work as a window\\vent if I find some plexiglass to fit, I can cut out the louvers and bolt in the glass and attach mesh wire inside the frame. that would save me from buying more hinges and latches.

    Still need as many ideas about the wheels as possible...
     
  3. elmo

    elmo Songster

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    I'm in Texas, too. I had a clear roof on my winter coop and replaced it with a white, opaque one. My coop gets afternoon sun, and this spring the inside of the coop was like an oven even with the white polycarb roof: a good 20 degrees or more hotter than the outdoor temperature. That's nice in winter, but in the summer here you'd get cooked chickens.

    So be careful. It might work if your coop is in the shade, but if it's in the sun any part of the day, I'd use another kind of roofing material. One thing you might do is use the clear corrugated panel on part of the roof, kind of like a skylight, but have the rest of the roof be conventional. That way you'd get the light (and wouldn't need to put windows in the side of the coop for light), but you'd be able to block it off easily if the inside of the coop was getting too hot.

    For the vents, honestly I wouldn't bother using those AC vents. You're still going to need to reinforce them with hardware cloth. Why not just cover a slot you frame with hardware cloth and be done with it? You'll get better airflow, anyway, and you won't be stuck with the stock size of those AC vents which are too small and/or inefficiently shaped for what you need. Figure on 1 square foot of vent per chicken, ideally up at the top of the walls, with flaps on the outside so you can close down some this winter if you feel the need. In hot climates like ours, you don't want less ventilation that this, and you'll be happy to have more in the summer. So if you can add a wndow or two, or even have one or more of the walls removeable for summer, that would be all for the better.

    On your coop, I'd build a 6-8 inch wide vent on the top of all four walls. I don't know how many chickens you're planning to go in there, but I'm guessing that ought to put you well in the ballpark of 1 square foot per chicken.

    Here's another idea to consider: instead of trying to make the whole thing moveable, you could build the coop to be stationary, but the run to be moveable, sort of like a day tractor. That's what I do.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  4. greenSearcher

    greenSearcher Songster

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    Aug 22, 2010
    Texoma
    My original coop houses 10 girls quite comfortably, has 3 nest boxes extending from the side of the coop. It is a 4"x10" run with the elevated coop over one end.
    Being in TX also I have to agree w/ Elmo about the sun. I have no shade, and I think the only reason I have lost only one chicken in the coop this year is I have a mister for the run to keep the girls cool. I also open the lid on the nest box about 2" to increase the air flow. I used cream color opaque roofing like yours' and did not use the foam to seal the curves, rather I covered the entire roof with hardware cloth and secured it to the coop walls. The air comes in at the eaves and out the ridge 'vents'. I covered it with wire originally to keep the predators out. But when I was painting it, the noise of the roof flexing in the wind drove me nuts, and it wasn't even a "windy" day so I covered it so it would stay attached. Working so far.... no predators in the coop.
    I used the tire you showed, but it didn't work out well until I found a source for axles. From a pipe company I bought 5/8" steel rods that they cut to 54". Haven't found a good way to keep the wheels on yet; suspect if I knew how to thread the ends of the rods, a large nut would work. That would allow me to remove the wheels once I had the tractor in position. (I only move the coop 2x year since they free range most of the time.). I didn't use inflatable tires because of the mesquite. [​IMG]
    The tractor weighs probably 300lbs, and I move it w/ my lawn tractor. I have large eye-bolts screwed into the end of the frame and use chains for pulling.
    What I am doing with the next generation coops under construction is:
    a/ build the run so that it can be detached from the elevated coop section. That will reduce the weight for moving.
    b/ I am not using wire under the floor,( never removed the floor during the last year) but will securely attach the floor to the joists.\\
    c/ hang the roosts from the side supports rather than making a removal roost 'unit'. The unit is a pain to get out of the coop for cleaning. Will hang eht roosts with L brackets with additional support under the lower leg of the L
    c/ making the roof flat, highest point will be in the wall across from the nest boxes.
    d/ use peg board for the nest box and coop floors. Will allow air flow in the summer and deep litter in the winter will keep it warm.
    e/ put double doors so I can easily access the roosts and clean. Makes snatching the roo off the roost easier.
    f/ No handles for moving the coop, the girls don't need perches that will let them get on the roof of the run.
    I am keeping the size the same, 4'x10'. I found it works well w/ up to 12 birds. Didn't have pecking problems last winter and they didn't get to forage until Feb. (I get my chicks end of Sept/early Oct.) Today I was measuring and cutting the wood for the runs, have to finish them this month. I plan to put large boxes in the runs, (the boxes used for Pet Beds are about 4' sq) and brood the chicks there. As time progresses I will then add the coops, and when the girls are about 8 weeks old they move outside and I get my garage back. I am getting 34 chicks this year, and with the 6 birds I currently have I will be near capacity providing all the chicks survive like last year.
    Good luck-
     
  5. ScotH

    ScotH In the Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2010
    South East Texas
    Thanks for the replies, I guess I should have said this coop will be for a max of 6 layers (BRs or RIRs).
    At 4'x6'the coop will have around 24 square feet and the run will have 60 square feet.

    I had planned on 6" of vent area all the way around the top, just under the roof, but still trying to work that out with the lean\\angle of the roof and how to keep the occasional sideways blowing rain out of the coop.

    I suppose, if I end up using the clear roofing I will attach it to strips of plywood allowing some light and ventilation. It will be partially shaded by Pecan trees in the summer.

    I keep thinking about a stationary coop, but I would really like to try to make it movable, even if it's only weekly\\bi-weekly I would drag it along our back fence in the summer and around our big side yard in the winter. Perhaps making the run detachable will be the way to go for me, I've seen quite a few of those on here and around the web.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2010
  6. ScotH

    ScotH In the Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2010
    South East Texas
    These are the panels\\planks I got at the 'ReUse center' for under a dollar a board (I should have haggled him a bit more for the few split and warped ones I got).
    They're cut to size and ready for cleaning and sealing (staining if I can afford it).

    I am now thinking of making two of the coop's sides removable with wire underneath for our hot months, but I need to keep in mind our frequent rain storms that often come out of no where.


    picture shows both sides the panels.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. elmo

    elmo Songster

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    Eaves help quite a bit to keep the inside of the coop dry when it rains. If the vents are right up at the top of the walls and protected by the overhanging eave, you shouldn't have much if any trouble with rain getting in there.

    I have an open sided coop/run for summer on my BYC page. When it rains, the sand around the edges of the run gets wet, but most of it stays dry. And of course the roosts are up in the gable part of the roof where the birds themselves can stay completely dry in a rainstorm. This is the second summer that I've used this coop and it's working quite well so far.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    Southeast Louisiana
    You might consider pipe clamps to hold your wheels on. There are all kinds of different styles. I've used one that is basically a piece of pipe with a set screw in the middle you use an allen wrench to tighten, but many other styles would work. Just put a big washer between the clamp and the wheel. You can probably get a pretty good selection at your hardware store.

    http://www.pipingtech.com/products/pipe_supports.htm?ibp-camp=ppc&gclid=CKnssL2Y66MCFdj75wodkjuN4A

    Probably too late for yours, but to make mine lighter, I split most of the 2x4's to make them into 2x2's. They are still plenty strong enough. You can buy 2x2's, but the 2x2's available here cost more than 2x4's and are usually warped pretty badly. I've got a good table saw so splitting them is easy.
     
  9. ScotH

    ScotH In the Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2010
    South East Texas
    Thanks again elmo,
    I have been avoiding designing a gable roof on the coop as I am not great with angles\\degrees, plus snow not being an issue here. A simple leaning roof seemed simple enough for my simple brain. [​IMG]

    I figured being able to hinge-out two of the wall panels from the coop would help with cooling and also being able to remove them to 'lighten the load' when moving the coop ....

    (By law, I could only build a stationary coop in the hottest and most unprotected area of our property.. so I really need it to move.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2010
  10. ScotH

    ScotH In the Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2010
    South East Texas
    Thanks RR, many of the boards are 2x3s... (actual 1.5" x 2.5") and pretty cheap.
    I'm not in a hurry to get it done (no chickens yet), so it's not to late to make changes.


    I ordered a couple of 8" tall x 3" wide 'solid' wheels from HF which should show up next week.

    Happy Labor Day ... Labor Weekend. [​IMG]
     

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