Need ideas for a light weight movable pen for raised beds

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by artistwantobe, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. artistwantobe

    artistwantobe New Egg

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    Jan 2, 2009
    I have a raised bed garden - I use concrete blocks for the sides of the beds. I would like to be able to pen my chickens in a bed and let them eat winter weeds. Then move it to the next one. I am a "older" woman and need it light weight. I am thinking PVC pipe frame that would fit in the block openings with wire over and around and a plastic bin adapted to fit one end for a temporary house to get out of ran or sun and lay eggs. Haven't figured out how to move the chickens yet, since this is in two parts and the beds are raised a block high.
    I would appreciate any ideas.
     
  2. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

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    2X4 welded wire cut to size. Not bomb proof but pretty strong an the cage its self only weighs 2 or 3 pounds.
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    I use the tails from where I cut to attach them together an where I dont have tails I rap it with aluminum welding wire.

    I think they cost me like $30 a peace
     
  3. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Olympia WA
    Hey that's great rebelcowboysnb! You are very inventive. What are the dimensions of that pen? I am trying to design a pen that is as large as I can, but still portable, to give my chickens the "free-range" feeling. But not a lot of $$, of course.
     
  4. quercus21

    quercus21 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a tractor made out of PVC pipe. There should be a picture on our page. It is easy for one person to move and if it was a little smaller it would be even easier. [​IMG]

    We used it for meat birds and moved it to a different spot on the lawn every day.
     
  5. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
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    Welcome artistwantobe! First post! Wooo Hooo! Don't let it be your last!!
     
  6. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    Quote:I buy 50 foot by 60 inch rolls of wire. I unroll them an measure them to make sure there over 50 feet. There usualy 51 or so.

    Remember 50 feet is 600 inches.

    Tape measure is not needed, I count blocks. Each block is 2 x 4.

    The ends are square so I cut 2 30 block sections leaving tails at each cut. This makes 60 inch by 60 inch squares for the ends.

    60+60=120
    600-120=480

    I have 480 inches left an need four panels. Two sides, a top an a bottem.

    480'/.4=120 Adjust here if wire is not over 50 feet If it is exactly 50 feet I would Do the math for 49 feet so you can have tails on your cuts. So it would be 468'/.4=117(odd dont work so 116)inch panels.

    So I cut four panels 120 inch or 60 blocks leaving tails.

    Once all sides are together you have a 5 foot by 5 foot by 10 foot cages. Thats as big as you can get out of a 50 foot roll of wire.

    The bottom I cut out a hole in the middle just big enough to fit a plastic tote threw for a house. I also use this hole to add or remove chickens by flipping the cage on its side an then back when I'm threw. It also gives them a dust bath hole. An add a tarp on one side an just barely over the top(0 rain or snow load rating). Add a roost under the tarp.

    Now ya have a 3 pound tractor/breeding cage. I keep 5 hens an a roo in mine. Ya pick up the corner of the cage an grab the eggs.
     
  7. artistwantobe

    artistwantobe New Egg

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    I have another few questions. I have read that racoons can reach in larger wire and grab a chicken - can't eat it - but will kill it. My "tractor is going to be 4'X8" (the size of my raised beds.) We are out in the woods and have many varmints. Should I use hardware cloth or welded wire?

    I saw on Mother Earth's site a portable mini coop that is a similar size using welded wire and hog rings and plastic dog house. It also showed how to adapt the house to a roost and laying spot. This idea does not use a frame- just wire. Do you think the just wire cage is safe as far as being knocked over?

    I had thought that the PVC pipe could be anchored in the openings of the concrete blocks.
    Thanks for any ideas
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
  8. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    To me PVC is cost prohibitive. The pipe is cheep enough but the connectors cost so much wood ends up being cheaper. As for anchors, I use plastic tent stakes. Welded wire staked down especially if you leave little spikes of wire sticking out the bottom is unmovable. Make sure you build your cages tall enough so dogs cant jump on it an crush it on to your chickens. I lost some to that. Thats why mine are 5 feet high.

    Use hardware cloth anywhere they roost close enough to the wire to be reached from the outside by a raccoon or opossum. They will pull them threw peace by peace an eat them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
  9. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Olympia WA
    Are you going to be leaving the chickens in this pen overnight? If so I would make sure that their "coop" set up is completely predator-proof, something stronger than a dog-crate. I would not trust the pen to be predator proof at night. Could you crate them or herd them to a building at night?
     
  10. artistwantobe

    artistwantobe New Egg

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    The Mother Earth plan has the dog crate inside the welded wire cage. I have them in a welded wire pen - with a welded wire top and they have a little wooden hut to go in at night.
     

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