renovating used tractor/coop--advice please! --pics added

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by meganwf, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. meganwf

    meganwf Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 25, 2007
    I bought a tractor/coop on craigslist and picked it up last week. It needs some retrofitting as it is really really heavy. It is 6 ft long, about 2.5 ft wide and about 3 ft high with an upstairs with the roost and nest boxes and a downstairs enclosed in wire.

    I didn't expect it to have a wire floor but with wheels on one end, it won't sit flat on the ground so that makes sense I guess. I plan on putting my bantams in there as the garden cart coop I made is just too small for bad weather.

    The wire on the bottom and sides of this coop is 2" x 1" Is that going to be a problem for banties? They will free-range w/in electric netting once acclimated to their new home. Also, the upstairs part is all wood. Should I change some of it to fiberglass panels to increase light? or will that make it too cold in winter weather? (I'm in SE PA)

    Here are some pics: http://www.flickr.com/gp/[email protected]/EJ9w92

    I
    took off the sides to get a better look inside and to see what I need to do to make it lighter. I think I'll make one side of the top removable and maybe make an egg door on one end, removing most of the nest boxes and making just two in the end. But still not sure what to think about the wire on the bottom and how dark it might be upstairs. Does that matter?
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If you want to make the whole shebang lighter-weight, you could replace a bunch of the tongue-and-groove siding with 1/2" plywood.

    It also might be easier to move with longer handles PLUS larger-diameter (removeable) wheels.

    Quote:If worries about weasels but not about digging critters: simply remove the floor wire.

    If modest worries about rats, weasels or digging critters: leave as is, and plug 'holes' between tractor and soil with scrap wood shoved in (remove and relocate when you move tractor).

    If significant worries about rats and weasels and digging critters: convert wheels to removeable (easily done), and add wire mesh skirt lying on ground, up to a foot or so away from tractor (skirt can be attached to 3 sides of tractor, and either detachable or flip-up on the end with wheels, to allow you to get in there to move it.

    If you do remove the floor wire, you might also be able to remove the two crosswise braces across the floor... replace them with triangles of plywood (maybe 8-12" on their short sides) screwed into each corner, to keep the frame from racking. Would save you a little bit of weight, too.

    Quote:Fiberglass panels will be colder than wood, but wood isn't giving you *that* much insulation and you could always rig some sort of outer insulating covering. The main problem IMO with fiberglass panels is that it can be tough to get them on really waterproof and windproof. You might consider making a plexiglas 'window' panel, perhaps partially openable (screened with hardware cloth) to vent on sunny days in warm weather, with an insulating layer that could be strapped on top of it in cold weather.

    Cute tractor tho [​IMG] Have fun,

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2007
  3. meganwf

    meganwf Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 25, 2007
    Thanks Pat. I had things worked out in my head then went back outside and looked at it. Thought some more than it started to rain. Oh yes, waterproof! I forgot about that. Now I am sorry that I took it apart so much.

    I really wanted to get light into the top of the coop but don't know how to do that while making it waterproof and able to keep the cold out. Not to mention keeping it lightweight. I think something is going to give. Should I worry about warmth more than letting light into the top? In other words, would you all cover the side with a big piece of wood or use fiberglass?

    I suppose anything will be better than what the biddies are in now, a too small movable coop made from a garden tractor. The top is just 1/4" plywood and I think some of the banties are getting frostbitten on bits of their comb. They have deep litter but that doesn't help their heads!
     

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