Movable vs stationary coops and runs

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by aprhardy, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. aprhardy

    aprhardy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Floyd Va
    I need help with deciding how to design out coop and run. My boyfriend wants to make the whole thing, coop and run movable, which I understand why. He wants it movable so that in the winter we can move it down to the basement/garage/side area of the house where it is less windy, and easier to access power outlets if we need to run a heat lamp or something. He also wants to be able to move the run over the garden this spring. Me, I'd rather make something that is a permanent fixture and just wrap it well in the winter time, and make the run so that the garden can be an extended piece of the run, like a bonus section accessible through a gate when the chickens are allowed in there. We live in the mountains of VA and the winters here get harsh. Can someone please help us decide what would be better a movable coop/run or a stationary? Thanks!
     
  2. RIBill

    RIBill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Movable has many advantages. You can move it to maximize land usage, give shade in the summer, sun in the winter, etc. Fixed location allows you the advantage of running permenant wiring, plumbing, etc.

    I think a lot depends on how you plan to manage them. I went with a fixed coop and run, but I have a space to reconfigure the run to provide fresh ground. I anchored my coop with screw anchors, so I could move it if I had to. I would build it on skids and try it out in a fixed location. Then, if you have to move it, it's already on skids.
     
  3. turtlebird

    turtlebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have both, and utilize the benefits of both in the proper season.
    In the winter the ladies are in a permanent fort-knox coop, with a covered run. I wrap the run with plastic to keep the MN snow and cold north wind to a minimum. There is electricity available for a heat lamp if needed, and artificial lighting. It is close to the water source, at least until the non-freeze spigot....freezes [​IMG] . There is minimal trudging through the snow, as it is plowed to the coop. Great set-up, until things start greening up. THEN, the ladies (and gentleman) move to a moveable coop/tractor (built on a old 12x7 trailer!) that has a 40ftx40ft electrified poultry netting run. Fresh bugs, fresh grass, wind blowin' through their feathers, etc. It works well. These critters will never pay for themselves, but hey, who can put a price on love?
    I would start with the most affordable, fort-knox you can build. Maybe place it near the garden and make the run movable? Look at the lay of your land, see what works best, and expect that when you have completed your project that there will be a few lingering "I wish we would've done it this way" thoughts! [​IMG]
     
  4. BWKatz

    BWKatz Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2010
    Columbia,SC
    I got my chicks when it was warm so my forager has worked well with the coop in the garage. However I am finding that tornadoes/winter winds don't mix well with PVC & tarps. I am building a permanent shed coop with covered run and will continue to use my forager on nice days.
     
  5. aprhardy

    aprhardy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all for your input. My boyfriend frowned at the thought of 2 coops, we have a large dairy farm, however, his parents own and run the farm and have very strict rules about having the chickens any where near any of the cows/calves (local health regs too). So we would be keeping them at our house (across the street). We have a very nice sized yard but it seems to me it would be disturbing for the chickens to be moved around constantly. I like the idea of making the run movable, but having the coop in the same place. I am also very curious about the automatic coop doors. We both run with the fire dept and rescue squad and we are often gone with the sun is coming up or going down. Has anyone used these or had any luck with them?
     
  6. BWKatz

    BWKatz Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2010
    Columbia,SC
    The auto matic door and for flexible hours is why I want a permanent coop & run. That way they won't be cooped up in a 3x4 area if I can get out to them early. They can go on out in the protected secure pen that can be tarped and will be covered. I plan on having a pinestraw/sand floor so on nice days they will still be going out in the forager for fresh grass and bugs. They are very curious animals and easily trained to go back & forth to forager.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2010
  7. aprhardy

    aprhardy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Floyd Va
    That's what kinda along the lines of what I was thinking, have a small primary run attached to the coop so they can get out and play before I can get to them, then have it open up into a larger open run (which would have to be manually opened) so they can have more room yet be supervised. Is this feasible or just my overactive imagination?
     
  8. BWKatz

    BWKatz Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2010
    Columbia,SC
    No reason to have two separate attached runs unless ur breeding.
     
  9. spartacus_63

    spartacus_63 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If your intent is for a predator proof run and a "free range" run, then yes that makes perfect sense.
     
  10. wood&feathers

    wood&feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As others mention it really depends on your management plan. My girls free range a lot, and though I built a moveable run and coop it has wound up stationary. I probably built it to large - 8x10 - for easy, frequent relocation. The other thing is rotation works best during the growing season. If you move it a lot in winter you just end up with a large expanse of muddy ground. In winter I lay a lot of straw and sand in on the floor of the run, which helps but pretty much rules out moving the run.
     

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