possible to separate tractor/ark into parts -- housing & run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by siouxbee, May 11, 2007.

  1. siouxbee

    siouxbee Songster

    May 8, 2007
    I am thinking of extending the winter or off-season coop run with the tractor that my gals will be in for the summer here in CT. I've yet to build either structure, and want to be sure I've got the concepts I want on paper first.

    I'd like to make a chicken tractor like the one by linked here
    (ie, square fenced in area below sleeping area). But I'd like to be able to remove and store the "house" part of the tractor for the winter and then dock the tractor up against the permanent coop to extend the run we're planning to be underneath the coop.

    Dimensions I'm working with for the ark are 10 feet long by 5 feet wide by 2.5 feet high for the run and 2.5 upstairs. Adequate for 10 or so hens and maybe a rooster?

    And for the coop, 10 feet long by 6 feet deep. The coop part will be 4.5 feet tall in front (7 feet tall including the 2.5 underneath) and with a shed roof to 6 feet overall in the back, with the back of the coop being 3.5 feet tall. Since all that run will mostly be in the shade under the coop for the winter, I wanted to dock the tractor to give a sunny area as well.

    Right now I have no building skills, but my brother the carpenter is coming over this weekend to build the ark and show me how to use power tools. [​IMG] yipee! I hope I can swing everything I want to do! I'm excited to have a plan.

    So do you think it's possible to build the ark in such a way that the top housing can unlatch from the bottom screened section? And maybe one of the 10 foot long sides will flip up to cover the top part that wasn't screened where the door from roosts/nest boxes down to teh grass below. Or perhaps just make a door in the side (easier than flipping whole side up?) and covering the rest with plexiglass?

    Ok, I'm not sure I'm conveying the ideas so I guess I'll get to bed and picture it in my dreams. [​IMG]
    Last edited: May 11, 2007
  2. MTchick

    MTchick Songster

    Feb 2, 2007
    Western Montana
    I'm not following you exactly, but I do have a suggestion. In terms of "docking" the house onto the ark in summer, and docking the ark onto a coop in winter, I would suggest using threaded posts and wingnuts. I've used this system for a number of different small construction projects and it works great. You just need to plan ahead. What I'm refering to are metal rods with 1/2 threaded like a wood screw, and 1/2 threaded for a wingnut. You screw these posts into the wood in exactly the shape/distances/alignment on the house and coop and then you drill holes into the support beams of the mounting area of the run. Then, you can just plunk the ark onto the wingnut-ready protruding posts and use your fingers to wingnut the ark to the coop in winter, or wingnut the ark to the house in summer. Super easy and really durable. You just have to drill everything juuuuust right.

    I used this technique to make the entire front of my coop removable for cleaning, adjustments, etc. The posts are in the walls and the holes are in the front wall of the coop. When I take off the wingnuts I can gently lift the entire wall off without disrupting the structure of the coop. It is better than screwing/rescrewing with wood screws because that degrades the holes and causes stripping over time.

    I hope that description helps.

    Last edited: May 11, 2007
  3. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    You could also consider leaving the tractor in one piece and just covering the hole they use to go upstairs, with a board in the winter. Then, you are only dealing with linking the tractor to the coop. It might make your designing a little easier to do and more stable. Although, with enough serious hardware, most things are pretty sturdy. [​IMG]
  4. su-geek

    su-geek In the Brooder

    May 12, 2007

    I build my chicken house (52"x32" [a donor crate + roof]) it has four wheels attached to the 4x4's on the bottom of the pallet the crate is attached to. I have a smaller 3'x4'x3' tiny tractor that was used at first as a temporary tractor that had a door that open so we could place it next to the coop door. After completing the final run 8'x8'x4' + the 'foyer', being the old temp tractor. I ended up turning it on its side to the 4x4 opening on my new chicken run (the gap patched with hardware cloth). The old door to the foyer now faces up so we can unlatch the coop door in the morning. I did have to cut a hole in the hardware cloth alongside the chicken house to allow the door to swing open and the birds to get out. I don't have wheels on the run but it can be moved fairly easily with two people. It has worked pretty well, when we had the small run we moved the tractor each day (they devoured everything), now with the bigger run (for five young ladies) a week didn't even seem to make a big dent (they also get to free range when we are home in the evenings). I will eventually get some pictures up, I just don't know my bandwidth cap on my free hosting service yet.
    Last edited: May 12, 2007

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