Anyone have a movable range coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Clay In Iowa, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. Clay In Iowa

    Clay In Iowa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 9, 2008
    Near Wilton Iowa
  2. HennysMom

    HennysMom Keeper of the Tiara

    Ours is just like this - we had no plans and designed it ourselves. It can be moved by 2 people either by hand (it has a pull chain on the front) or much easier by a dolly.

    Let me see if I have pictures on my computer now and I'll upload them so you all can see it. Gimme a sec.

    Okay - here is our coop - it is about 6 feet tall at the highest point (where the "human door" is in the back - where the 2 clouds are, our children have painted pictures of the chickens). The lowest point is about 5 feet - the nesting box is outside, is a double box; large plexiglass window with small wire mesh for summer and in winter, we put plastic over it and screw the window back into place. The ventilation openings are located in the front and back (see pictures) and have bolts to keep them openend or closed and can be adjusted accordingly with chains. Pop door closes and locks as well with a bolt closure. The inside of the coop has removable roost, wire mesh under the roost *it is suspended and bolted between 2 wooden rods that fit into slots* and there are 2 catch boards for droppings *also removable* located under the wire mesh - we can scrape all droppings right from the wire into the droppings boards and straight into the compost pile.

    All in all, this total coop cost us about $200.00 to build using all new materials (all wood) and we ripped 2X4's and 4X4's ourselves to save money. It does have a detatchable pen that hooks onto the front from when they were small that is 4 ft X 9 ft that we now will use as an infirmary should any of them get sick since they are all now enclosed inside a 12X12 dog pen and free range a few hours a day.

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    Last edited: Oct 23, 2008
  3. Clay In Iowa

    Clay In Iowa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 9, 2008
    Near Wilton Iowa
    Thanks,

    I'm trying to figure out how to stabilize a wheeled coop in high winds. Here in eastern Iowa on top of the hill where we live we get at least one and usually 3 or 4 spring storms with 40+ mph sustained winds and 60+ mph gusts. Summer, fall, and winter really aren't much better. So anything I build will have to have a wide base and low profile. Or it will have to be anchored which will make moving it a bit more tedious.

    I was considering building on top of a hay wagon but I think it might be a bit to much like a billboard and subject to tipping in the wind. Even if it doesn't blow over I don't think I want my chickens laying scrambled eggs.

    I've considered adding crank down jacks to each corner so I can level it and extend the wheel base. But then the design costs just start to mushroom. Not to mention weight. While heavier is more stable it makes moving it much more difficult.

    Sorry, I've been thinking about this for weeks and seem to have developed the ability to play my own devils advocate. That's why I'm asking here. I'm hoping someone will be able to drop a little nugget of information that will snap my out of my spiral so I can start building my coop.

    Clay
     
  4. HennysMom

    HennysMom Keeper of the Tiara

    Clay,

    why do you want to build your coop so high up, may I ask? I agree that the hay thing may not be a great idea. I'm in VA (near Charlottesville) so I'm in the mountain region and trust me, we get some pretty hefty winds out here on our farm. Over the spring/summer we had some horrendous storms come through this year boasting 50+ mph winds and our girls did just fine.

    our coop is about 1 foot off the ground I'd say (give or take) - its enough that they can go underneath it and lay to get shade if necessary should they want to (they have a partially covered pen as well to provide shade too). Putting something up that high, I believe, would be more detrimental to their lives if you have high winds, its center of gravity would be off. Just a thought.. As for the wheel base on ours -we used little tires from a kart I think it was for (new from tractor supply, about $5.00 each, no inner tubes so they are very stable) and we used carriage bolts and drilled through pressure treated (the only PT lumber we used) posts. The ususal washer set ups and for the life of me I cannot recall what they are called, but after we drilled the hole - there are little silver things inside, they look like tubes - that the carriage bolt goes through, so it spins easily. sorry my mind isnt working quite right this morning. We didnt carry the axle all the way through because its a very heavy coop given its all wood and no axle could withstand that weight (unless like the previous pictures you posted, you are using an old truck or automobile).

    Oh I know - we spent nearly a month planning and designing (and redesigning) our coop - we looked at ALOT of different coops online before deciding on what features we wanted / didnt want and what would work best for us. Our original plan was to move it every few weeks (hence the wheels) - well - that got old VERY FAST and chickens destroy the yard even faster! So - they are now housed in their 12X12 pen and free to range twice a day (morning and night) with supervision due to hawks here in our yard.

    Whatever you decide - just make sure if you have your human door open to the side like ours does, you have a large enough brace and bracket hinges to hold it. That was a bit tricky in the design, but we did it and it opens the full size of the coop (its a large door, and heavy!)

    Good Luck!
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2008
  5. Clay In Iowa

    Clay In Iowa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 9, 2008
    Near Wilton Iowa
    The height is one of the issues I'm snagged on right now. I'm looking for something closer to the ground I can build on but so far a hay wagon base is as close as I've come so far.

    My plan is to free range (about 25 birds) on 10 acres So I'm hoping they won't kill every thing too fast. If they do I guess I won't have to mow as much [​IMG].

    One of the design consideration is that I must be able to lock the birds up at night like the gold in Fort Knox. In my area we have a plethora of chicken eating nasties, 4 or 5 kinds of Hawks, Bald eagles, Coons, possums, Mink, skunks, Weasels, field rats, snakes (at least 3 will eat eggs and/or chickens), stray dogs, stray cats, red fox (there's a den 1/4 mile away), coyotes........... Since my property is about the only place for miles that isn't a seasonally planted field it's a magnet for all the above. I see TONS of potential chicken eaters every week. Last year I watched a Bald eagle, that I've seen dozens of times, eat a pheasant in the field about 200 yards from our house (that was actually pretty cool). We have a Red tailed hawk that hunts from a power pole in the middle of our property almost every day in the fall. Given all this I'm considering putting the coop on 20 foot poles and covering it with welded wire. [​IMG]

    Clay
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2008
  6. HennysMom

    HennysMom Keeper of the Tiara

    Clay,

    I hear ya! We have 2 pair of nesting red tail hawks in our yard, along with possums, skunks, BEAR, snakes, raccoon (having a pond on the property definately doesnt help!) - so I'm right there with you.

    our girls just cannot free range as freely as we (or they) would like, so a few hours each moring and night (or more if I'm able) they get to come out with me in tow with my "shepards staff" [​IMG] keeping the herd in check. Funny to watch their little legs and behinds run like mad!

    I'd say if you plan on ranging them on all 10 acres - you're going to have quite few birds missing in the long run. There are a ton of ways to keep them free ranging, but safe - the key is to keep the predators out. You can use a corral method using PVC and a mesh wire type of system with a cover (also mesh wire) soas to keep the predatory birds out - and then run hardwire about 2 feet out all the way around the bottom edges to keep dogs, raccoons, etc from digging in. However- PVC is very light so something can push it unless you weight it down first or something to that affect. Then there's always the standard 2X4 or 4X4 fencing posts and chicken wire - so long as you have something else covering because raccoons and other things can break right through anything like that (those pesky little hands go through a 1" wire opening).

    it all depends really on what it is you're looking to do and how much time you're willing to commit. I know just having 6 birds, we didnt think it was going to be as much work as it is, but its just like having another dog really. When you go on vacation or away for the weekend, we have to get someone to come out and take care of the girls, water, food, get eggs, etc - something alot of people dont take into account.


    HEY - those are nice - I like the first one too!
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2008
  7. mikefromnh

    mikefromnh Out Of The Brooder

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    How about using an enclosed trailer or old van? I've thought about using a snowmobile trailer as a base, but have found skids to be alright and cheaper.
     
  8. Clay In Iowa

    Clay In Iowa Chillin' With My Peeps

    663
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    Oct 9, 2008
    Near Wilton Iowa
    Wheels only because it would be easier to maneuver on my property. It's fairly rough and uneven and I'm concerned skids might make it very difficult to more the coop around.

    And as for an enclosed trailer. Sure why not as long as I can vent and insulate it. I'd be more than happy with that set up.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2008
  9. HennysMom

    HennysMom Keeper of the Tiara

    I must add however- I LOVE my girls and wouldnt trade taking care of them for anything [​IMG]

    Its worth it in the long run, I just know alot of people that come to visit us always say "they're just chickens, fill up their food/water and let them be for the week"

    My reply "Would you do that to your dog?" Funny - they always say no....[​IMG] Wonder why its okay for a chicken but not a dog?? I woudlnt do that to any animal...
     

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