Nov 23, 2012

The Chicken Wagon

Its looking like there will be a string of chicken related posts. This one is about the creation of my first mobile chicken coop, I've been working on it for about 3 weeks between other things.. It will most likely contain chooks for eating, but the main thing I'm after is that I'll be able to set them to work revitalizing my pasture.

I started with 3 old desk frames from the tip shop. I think they were from a preschool or something because they were low and had different coloured paint splattered on them. 

I bolted them together, flipped them over and bolted on some slatted cupboard doors also from the tip shop.

Next I made some forks out of old palate wood and fixed a couple of old bike wheels in place, again from the tip shop.

Still more work to do on the underside, but I couldn't resist turning it over for a look.

So back on the underside I attached another door on hinges and covered the remaining space with fencing wire left over from the chicken enclosure. 

Back the right way up I covered the fencing wire with fine chicken wire and screwed in some boards for the chooks to sit on. The mesh floor will hopefully allow plenty of their poo and wee to drop through to the pasture below. I'll also keep some straw in there for them.

Next I put on old door (tip shop again) on top as an openable lid. Actually that door didn't turn out to be weather proof so I had to replace it with another after I took the photos. (2 extra bucks!) 

So there is a piece of rope that runs down through the top and connects to the hinged door on the bottom of the coop. I can use the rope to lower the door down like a draw bridge. So at night the chooks should go up into the coop using it as a ramp and I can close it so they are safe and sound from wild dogs and the like.

Some iron for the remainder of the roof.

And finally some chicken wire hanging down from the edge like a skirt so I can contain the chooks to the space immediately under the coop, focusing all that scratching pooing goodness where I want it. I can open it at one end to let them out for some free ranging too, I'm thinking after most of the day I might let them out a few hours before dark so they can stretch their legs, then they should return to the coop at dusk and I can drop by to tuck them in.

There are parts of the whole thing that wont last forever out in the weather or subjected to chicken attack. But the steal frame at its core is solid and I can replace bits as needed. I already have a spare one of those slatted doors put aside to replace the ramp. The whole thing cost less than $50, now all I need is some chooks to put in there.

One day if I have the money it might be nice to get some electric fence netting I could use to make a larger enclosure around the coop, then I could remove the chicken wire skirt and keep the coop in one place for longer. But I would need a spare $300 for that :P

Its interesting to see that way back in November last year before we moved here I was musing about a mobile chicken coop. While it turned out looking quite different, it has many of the same features.

This coop will follow the mobile sheep enclosure around the property so the chooks can scratch around breaking down their manure (and their own) into the soil.


farmer_liz said...

looks good Ian!

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