Yet another new coop!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by hossfeathers, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. hossfeathers

    hossfeathers Songster

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    Oct 24, 2009
    (Still trying to make the pictures work!)

    I've finally finished the tractor I've been working on, and have had chickens in it for about two weeks. (Had camera/computer interface issues...)

    Here it is:

    [​IMG]

    and here:

    [​IMG]

    I used the coop discussed here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=1642-tractor as my major guide, with some tweeking.

    Basic size is 8' x 8', with a raised coop. It is really too heavy for one person to move (I'm still working on the wheels) but two people move it fine. I have 8 in the coop right now - 4 hens and 4 pullets. Three of the hens are laying (I think - I get two eggs most days but never 3).

    There are five nesting boxes, made from salvaged cabinets. Pretty much the whole thing, except for the wire and the hardware (nails, latches, etc) has been salvaged - I paid $20 for four boards, two of which I still have. The rest was picked up off the side of the road. I know that some people really don't reccommend salvaged stuff, but I kept finding plywood, 10' 2x4s, and the like, JUST DUMPED, and it would have been WRONG to go spend money on wood.

    The roof is plywood (nearly all one piece - a 4x8 piece that I found all bent and twisted, and laid out in the yard under some blocks of wood until it rained and the wood warped the other direction.) Over that is 2 layers of tar paper. I have the white reflective coating but haven't put that on yet. (It started raining the day after I got my chickens and hasn't really stopped since.)

    The main wire is chicken wire (with a staple gun, yes, I know, not recommended) but there is hardware cloth over the vent holes on the coop. I put a skirt of chicken wire around the outside which is held down with a series of bricks. The back of the coop is the opening area - the wall over the nest boxes is pretty much all cabinet doors that swing up. In addition to the bunkbed ready-made ladder (which all the hens use with ease) I also found bunk bed rails, which are the roosting rails.

    I'm using oak leaves as the litter, with (now that I have it) DE to help with worms/flies. The typical plan is to rake out the old leaves about once a week, put in new, and then move the tractor for the night. The next day (or the one after that!) I use a garden rake to rake up all the litter, sorta-dry manure, and left over weeds (the hens get a peck basket full of weeds nearly every afternoon, when I am done weeding the lawn/garden) and dump the whole mess on the compost heap. Now that I have found the roosting/poop places that didn't have leaf litter the first go, there is a lot less stink.

    The hens are quiet but hard on the ground - I have centipede grass for my lawn (the parts that are grass and not weed) and I'm not sure if they're going to strip the area bare or not.

    The neighbors think I'm nuts but amusing (the ones across the street sit on the porch to watch me and my housemate move the pen at night, and say that we're better than tv.)

    Things I would do different:

    - 2x2 or 1x4 construction for weight
    - double wheels and use steel wheels from the get-go (plastic ones lasted two days)
    - not buy two types/lengths of chicken wire - the 36" stuff was really all I needed
    - a number of stupid cut/measure/plan mistakes, where I did something that seemed to make sense at the time, but really only make the project harder.

    All told, it took 2-3 hours a day every weekend for about a month, plus one afternoon getting the wire on.

    If people have comments (including pointing and laughing!) I'd be glad to hear them!
     
  2. That is just too cool! I am working on a recycled tractor myself, alot of my material i had on hand including all the power tool [​IMG]...

    Other stuff I have used the local radio's "Want Ad's" as they are called and then freecycle as well as luck of seeing someone doing their roof the other day and I stopped and asked about what roofing they were using and told them about my project that is taking forever because of busy life and all the fricking rain!!!! SO I got a call today to come pick up 2 sheets of brand new plyboard they didn't need, and some flashing they had left over. whoot!!! I paid oh a whopping 10$!!!!!!

    SO...I've spent 40 on my coop thus far and I shouldn't need to spend anymore because I have a roof (my neighbor bought 1 piece too many of PVC paneling stuff) and so gave me the extra sheet (which happens to be white again - [​IMG]

    But yes your coop is awesome and I love it. I'm having same issue mine will be heavy, its not nearly as big as yours but its going to be heavy will all the plyboard on it and I need to find some good wheels for it, a set for each end is going to be best, I have about 1-2 inches of extra wire on the bottom of the run and plan to tack up some more on the bottom of the coop part of tractor once i get tires so that that space will be covered up (will keep wheels permanantly 1" below bottom level of coop should be sufficient on my mainly flat area of yard it will stay at.

    Keep up the good work [​IMG]
     
  3. hossfeathers

    hossfeathers Songster

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    Oct 24, 2009
    >>>i get tires so that that space will be covered up (will keep wheels permanantly 1" below bottom level of coop should be sufficient on my mainly flat area of yard it will stay at.

    My issue with the tires is that once it started raining, the tires sank in the mud! The plastic ones deformed as well. (Also, I measured for 7" plastic tires, and tried to replace them with 8" metal ones. No go.)

    I do understand some people's hesitation to use recycled/waste lumber (you never know what those boards were painted with!) but to me, it was better to pull stuff out of the waste stream.

    >>>alot of my material i had on hand including all the power tool

    Heh. I had a drill/screwdriver - everything else was a hand tool, including the saw. (That's why my neighbors think I'm nuts - cutting plywood the long way with a hand saw on some old logs! [​IMG]

    Good luck with your coop!
     

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