um, this was supposed to be a portable coop or tractor!!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by siouxbee, May 14, 2007.

  1. siouxbee

    siouxbee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2007
    Well, I've begun my first of what I fear might be many chicken structures. I stayed up til nearly 4 am drawing up plans for what I wanted. My brother (carpenter by trade) was coming over with a truck full of wood to "show" me how to build stuff.

    And as he walked in, he says "Hey, instead of 10 x 6, let's do it 4 x 8 because that's easier based on how lumber is sold. D'oh! Wish I'd known that before! [​IMG]

    Here are the bones of the structure -- I'm posting this because it's not a bad design to house a few hens, and could be modified to fit your circumstances. As it stands, it's waaay too heavy to be the tractor that I'd imagined me able to move nearly daily by myself. But he insisted on 2 x 4's, and perhaps the problem was mine in trying to design a tractor to suit 10 or so hens.

    If I build an A-frame tractor (which was my original plan), what type of wood do I use to frame it? Anyone have any experience with this? The 2 x 4s are just soooo heavy... Also, do you think I'm better off making 2 small tractors rather than one big one? Is it bad to separate the girls up like that if I'm planning to merge them back together for the winter? I will also let them out to range free on days when I'm not going out, so they should know each other pretty well...

    Anyway, here are some pics -- click on the thumbnails for bigger versions.

    You can see the nesting boxes in the back, and the frame for the shed roof.
    [​IMG]


    Next up, is the view of the back, after the other sides and roof have been added:
    [​IMG]


    And finally, the front, with the window to shed some light on our girls:
    [​IMG]


    It still needs a paint job, ventilation, roosts, hole in floor to get down into "run" and a back door (my bro is just going to make the whole back sheet of plywood lift up, which I find unwieldy and am trying to think of easy ways to modify it without putting him out too much), as well as hardware cloth (with it's own door) to keep out predators below, but we're getting there...

    I was hoping to build this as a summer home for our young chicks as they grow into pullets, and to let the at my lawn which is desperate for their help. And that would give me time to scrounge some free materials to build a bigger, more winter-worthy coop to keep them happy during a new england winter. So now I've used up a lot of my brother's time, and I still don't have either of the two chicken structures I need! But I've got a pretty good sense of how to put things together, so I'm going to try to build them on my own with whatever materials I can find for cheap or free.

    However, this sucker is HEAVY, and while I can probably use it for a little while, I don't think I'd want to be lugging this around long-term, esp as we have no riding mower to help.

    So. While I'm scanning the local paper for used skil saws, and other power tool goodies, I'm wondering what to do with this beast. Loveshack if our silkie pair turn out to be a him and her? Maybe move it seasonally around the bigger coop to extend the run and roosting space, easing tensions due to dominance issues? Chook Hospital? Rabbit Hutch? I'm just not sure...

    I do know that I'm all about aquiring the carpentry skills I need because I want to do the actual coop myself. This one is just too small to house 10 (or more at the rate I'm going [​IMG])

    We have six chicks currently, and are getting 2-4 more next week. Rosie and Speck are Gold Lace Wyandottes. Bandit and Fly are Speckled Sussex, and Ping and Pong are the black silkies. They're all so adorable! And they all watched Shrek with us this week as we prepare for the release of Shrek the Third. Whee!
     
  2. Poison Ivy

    Poison Ivy Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2007
    Naples, Florida
    Have you thought about putting on 4 wheels instead of just 2? The ones they use for large gates would work really nice and the price is fairly good too. That way you could just roll it around where ever you wanted it.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2007
  3. siouxbee

    siouxbee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2007
    Here's my question about wheels -- don't they raise it too high off the ground so that predators can get under it easily? All the ones I"ve seen with wheels don't seem predator safe...?
     
  4. barg

    barg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2007
    I'm building my first coop right now and I havent tried this but it seems to me if you put wheels on the inside of the coop wall and then had hinged flaps to the ground....
     
  5. Poison Ivy

    Poison Ivy Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2007
    Naples, Florida
    No you have the wheels where they are just a few inches off the ground so they have just enough room to move the coop around.
     
  6. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    May 8, 2007
    Wisconsin
    At least you know it'll be too heavy for a raccoon to tip over! [​IMG]
     
  7. barg

    barg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2007
    (my bro is just going to make the whole back sheet of plywood lift up, which I find unwieldy and am trying to think of easy ways to modify it without putting him out too much), as well as hardware cloth (with it's own door) to keep out predators below, but we're getting there...

    Add a brace in the middle and cut it in half and make the bottom half of the back lift, then add egg doors behind the nest boxes.
    Maybe move it seasonally around the bigger coop to extend the run and roosting space, easing tensions due to dominance issues?

    Sounds like a good idea to me.
    It looks like a very nice structure, seems like it could be expanded and slightly modified to be exactly what you want.
    Now that ypu mention it, did you post your plans on here, im courious what all you had in mind.

    If all you need is a tractor to move them around the yard and then return them to the coop your brother is making, You could get 2x2's to make a rectangular box and put hardware cloth on it. you might add a few metal braces to it to give it more strength too.

    Im no carpenter, my brother rebuilds houses for a liveing and when i showed him what I planned to use to make my coop, he told me that I should be useing 2x4's cause they are stronger. But my design concept did need to be lighter then what I would have gotten with 2x4's.

    So, im useing 2x3's and 1x3's mostly, but i'm not building a tractor .. yet. For the tractor i'll use the 2x2's or pvc pipe.

    The moral is, chicken coop building is best left to the amatures. [​IMG]

    Have fun with your coop building [​IMG]

    P.S
    I havent finished my coop yet, so i havent posted pics of it here yet, so you'll have to wait till i do to decide if any of the info ive given is worth the 6 dollar keyboard I typed it on. [​IMG]
    But I thought ide share it anyway [​IMG]

    Also, I keep editing and adding to this post as I think of stuff, yes I have time to kill right now.​
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2007
  8. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2007
    Mine's the same basic dimensions and weight as yours. Look at my wheels and duplicate the idea.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. suburbanhomesteader

    suburbanhomesteader Chillin' With My Peeps

    Trapper-
    Can you post more photos? That is one cool-looking tractor! What is the black bucket? Where is the nest? Does it have a coop area up top, or just open roosting? Where are the feeders and waterers?

    I love the leverage idea for the wheels. Do you have skids on the bottom at the back, or is it just the bottom of the tractor? Does it drag on the ground at the back, or do the wheels get the whole thing up off the ground?

    Thanks!
     
  10. barg

    barg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2007
    Quote:Ditto [​IMG]
     

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