Garden cart with hen house on top

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Mark, Jun 25, 2007.

  1. Mark

    Mark Songster

    May 13, 2007
    North Central Texas
    I'm starting to work on a new hen house. We live in the country and let the hens roam during the day. At night, they return to the chicken-tractor (our first tractor). Among other problems with the tractor, the thing is too heavy for DW to move. I'm making convenient mobility issue #1 for the new design. Stability in a storm will be #2. Raccoon protection will be issue #3. Convenient management of food, water and eggs is #4. Keeping to a budget is probably #10 or #11.

    I looked around at ways to attach wheels to our chicken tractor but creating a highly reliable axle/wheel assembly looked difficult. So, I started looking for a cost effective way to buy a wagon or cart which would already have a decent wheel/axle assembly. I looked at wagons first, but settled on a garden cart. The thing has two bicycle style wheels under the 'cart'. If it had been a 'wagon', it would have 2 more wheels, but instead the cart has a leg where the second set of wheels might have been.

    The idea is to use the cart as a foundation for the new hen house. For now, I'm thinking the cage and cart duo will look like a 'chicken flower cart'.

    The cart will come in the mail next week. If anyone has any experience with this kind of hen house, I'd love to hear about it.
  2. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
  3. Newchickenmom&kids

    Newchickenmom&kids Songster

    Apr 11, 2007
    Sounds like a great is mine we is easier moved with 2 people of course...but I can move it myself as we only move it a few feet at a time...I just have to move one end and then the other! I've had no problems with storms or predators and we've had plenty of both including some high winds. I'd like to eventually try to rig two wheels at one end for when my boys are no longer home and I am moving it all the time by myself. My idea is the two wheels would be attached in a way that after moving it you could easily just flip them to the ouside end of the ark. Something like the other pic here from the Forsham website. I'm guessing theirs comes completely off when done moving but it doesn't say. Good Luck!!
  4. Forest_Nymph

    Forest_Nymph Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Please! Please post some pictures when you've completed it!
    I have one of those carts setting in my backyard... I disliked using it around the garden and it just sits doing nothing......
    Sounds like a wonderful idea. My mind is grinding away now at some of your thoughts and modification possiblilties for it!!!.

    yours truly,
  5. Mark

    Mark Songster

    May 13, 2007
    North Central Texas
    Here is the current plan. There is a photo of the garden cart at the top. I've purchased 2x2s for the base of the 'run', pvc for the 'hoops' and 2 ten foot steel poles for the handle extension.

    The idea is to put the 'hen house' weight on the garden cart. Hoops will be about 4' high and covered with poultry netting rather than 'chicken wire'. The 'run' is based on a tractor I found on the 'deliberate agrarian' site:

    I haven't figured out where to get the 'poultry netting'.

    The run will be 5' wide, 4' high and 8' long. The black horizontal piece of the side view is the 10' steel pole.

    The hen house section is only vaguely laid out. It will probably go higher than the plan shows. The little perspective image shows the hen house and hoop being the same height. That is almost certainly not going to happen. The hen house will probably have a pitched roof rather than a hoop. I'm currently thinking the hen house roof and sidings will be 'metal roofing'.

    I'll probably build the 'hoop run' first and drive the tractor with various amounts of weight to see how it handles. Moving it must be effortless, so that it moves every day.

    Last edited: Nov 4, 2007
  6. okiechick57

    okiechick57 Songster

    [​IMG] I am inpressed......... do post pics when done.... Great Idea
  7. okiechick57

    okiechick57 Songster

    Quote:My mind is grinding away now at some of your thoughts and modification possiblilties for it!!!. "grinding" Man oh man..... my mind quit grinding years ago. I am lucky to get a sputter out of it............. [​IMG]
  8. MTchick

    MTchick Songster

    Feb 2, 2007
    Western Montana
    Just a quick thought; I've used those carts before, they are great, but they often are built from really cheap thin plywood. You will be bearing a lot of weight on that thing, so it might be best to replace/reinforce the walls and floor of the cart pretty heavily before you start to build the rest of the tractor.

    Good luck! Looks like a really neat idea.

  9. Mark

    Mark Songster

    May 13, 2007
    North Central Texas
    This is prototype 2.

    9/23/07 construction begins:

    9/30/07 framing is done:

    This is the current plan.

    One of our hens was fascinated with the hen house section. Our two hens never wander far from each other, but this morning, this one hung out in her future home and let the other go search for bugs on her own.

    We were able to do a test 'pickup' with the handles sticking out of the 'yard'. It was pretty light, so the goal of easy '1 person' moving seems to be plausible. The wheels are not mounted to the hen house bed, so we can move the balance point and put what ever weight we want on the handles.

    Last edited: Oct 28, 2007
  10. betejean

    betejean Hatching

    Sep 12, 2007
    I bought my poultry netting at Lowes. Great idea.

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