Pictures of the chicken coop I constructed from a rusting old cotton trailer

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by mogto, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. mogto

    mogto New Egg

    Feb 25, 2013
    Okay, so here goes. Hope you all like the idea.

    If you're from the southern US, chances are you know what a cotton trailer is. They haven't been in use in quite some time. When the cotton module was invented, there was no need for using such antiquated technology any more.. so dozens of old cotton trailers of different dimensions sit in pastures across the country, just rotting away into nothing. Lots of people figured out that, if the trailer is 30-plus feet long, then the frame of it is too- and it could be used for various things. Namely, you could cut the basket itself off the trailer and use it for a header trailer for a combine. That's what my dad did roughly 8 years ago with the only one we had left.

    The basket sat out in our pasture somewhat bent up and in rough shape for years. I got this idea from a friend (the same one who's teaching me how to incubate quail/turkey/chickens at the moment), and dragged the basket up to a more accessible area. After ~20 hours of welding, straightening out bent angle iron, and patching holes in the expanded metal, I was able to flip the basket upside down and put my birds in it!

    For a roosting pole I used more scrap (I hate buying anything new, and frankly for a coop I'm not THAT concerned with aesthetics) metal. The round railing of an old pool ladder, straightened out, fit perfectly in the expanded metal. I used two long strips of duct tape to give them footing. The barrel on top is a 55-gallon drum, which I removed the top of with a circular saw. Added a hose faucet, secured with J&B water weld, and a garden hose-- voila, instant rain barrel.

    Here are the few photos I have. I'll make sure to add more ASAP!

    P.S.- I tried coming up with ways to add wheels to the thing, but came up with nothing that would be easy and sturdy. So, in lieu of wheels I welded a piece of angle iron on top and cut a hole in it. I put the birds in a kennel, then pick straight up with my tractor's boom pole when it has to be moved.


    I decided to leave the huge bend in the right side alone. I would have used a TON of acetylene and oxygen trying to fix it, and to be honest it doesn't really affect the functionality of the cage itself. You can see the roost pole and the rain barrel here. This was the day I finished construction on it, and both of the nest boxes were on the same side. For some reason no matter what I did the birds refused to lay in the boxes when they were located there. I had to swap them to the opposite sides-- and even then, they all use the same box. Oh well, it doesn't hurt anything, let them do what they want!


    I thought y'all may like this. On one particular rabbit hunt this winter, I killed 6 rabbits in an afternoon. I shot at 7. The seventh was, when I got to him, not injured at all. He didn't have a single bullet wound, broken bone, or any other trauma whatsoever. I guess due to sheer shock, though, he ran about 10 yards and froze up. I thought he'd had a heart attack (as they do sometimes, rabbits are not tough creatures at all) and died. I threw him in the back of my buddy's Explorer and we went to the shop, but when we got home realized we had a live cottontail freaking out and running all in the cargo area. I didn't know what to do, so I put him in the coop with the flock. Here is a photo of one of my Rhode Island Red hens the first day they realized he was in there with them. I must say, I was a bit you can tell, so was she! Everything was just fine, though. The hens got used to him immediately, and the rooster would only try to spur him if he got taken off guard by him. I felt bad not having a female for him, though- and while I considered killing him and freezing him with his buddies, I figured he'd been through enough in the past week. I let him go and he's probably off telling a story that none of the other rabbits believe.

    Apparently I only have these two photos for the moment. This cage is only 24' long, and since then I procured another trailer from family friends who are also farmers. The new one is 34' long, and while not completed, will be serving as my quail pen. It has been removed from the frame and had a door installed. All that needs to be done is the expanded metal repaired, and a new area to call home. Will post as many photos of that as I can, and more of the coop ASAP!
  2. americana-lover

    americana-lover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2012
    Such a cool coop! Great idea!
  3. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Awesome coop! I am always amazed at the ingenuity of the folks on BYC!! Good luck to you!
  4. b.hromada

    b.hromada Flock Mistress

    Cool coop is right! Ingenious I say! I'm sure your chickens just love it! thanks for sharing.
  5. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer Premium Member

    May 11, 2010
    I like it!

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