May 5, 2013

Chicken Wagon No.2

Ever since I made our first mobile chicken home I've been looking at our original chicken house and the house chooks and thinking, those chickens should be out working the pasture too. But for a long time I've let them stay there, probably because I was attached to using the structure after I took so much pride in building it. We were even thinking of getting a third flock so we could keep some chickens in the coop and still scale up our pasture regeneration. But the wobbly nature of our finances has put pay to that idea for now. Plus a friend gave me a whole heap of windows recently and I'm thinking the original chicken coop might make a good frame around which to build a glasshouse (a story for another day). One of the great things about making stuff for yourself is that it can be repurposed, try doing that with your new TV or Smart Phone :P

I can't think of a better way to celibate international Permaculture day than a bit of reusing old materials with the goal of some soil restoration.

So over the last couple of days I'm made a second mobile chicken home. My criteria after the last one was that it be a bit lighter and easier to move. Also I don't think these mobile homes need to be that big, even when they have a lot of space the chickens tend to all squish up together at night. I also would like this one to be a little easier to clean out. Simple is best I think

As with the first one it started upside down. Two 'found' pallets, some chicken wire and a few scraps of wood holding them together.

Next some wheels. Big ones at the back and two smaller ones at the front with a go cart style steering thingamajig.

Flip it over.

Next a beam across the centre and two old doors from the tip. 

The dark grey door is attached with hinges along the top so it can be opened up.

I covered the ends with wire and attached a pole (old tomato stake) with some rope to prop the open door up.

A coat of paint to help the doors cope with the weather and make it cooler on a hot day.

Inside I put a nesting box and a board as a perch for them to sleep on. The nesting box is made from an old bed side set of draws, actually the one I had in my room as a kid and have been dragging around the country with me ever since I left home some twenty five-ish years ago. Thanks Mum and Dad :)

 And she is ready for action. The whole thing cost less than twenty dollars!

I put it in the chickens yard and put some food and water in there so they would start checking it out. I'll leave it in there for a few days and keep feeding them in and around it. Then one night I'll close up the big coop before they go to bed so they will have no choice to sleep in the wagon. After a few nights it will be off to the pasture with them where they can help to build my topsoil.