This month’s “Cool Coop” features a movable structure which allows the chicken keeper the ability to relocate the coop to different areas of their property. This feature takes advantage of the flock’s nutrient rich manure from being accumulated in a specific location. Their “fertilizer” can be deposited in different sections of the property by simply moving the coop / run setup. Continue reading as Gail, from Southern Maine, describes the construction of her functional – and attractive – coop on wheels she refers to as “The Egg Roll”…
We live on 13 acres in the Berwicks of Southern Maine not far from the NH border. I’ve always wanted a chicken tractor to put the birds where I want them to be and not where they want to go. I have a couple of my gardens fenced in from them, but not my perennial gardens in the front of my home. I’ve had to train them to stay out back with a blast of water from the garden hose if they got too close to where I didn’t want them. But mostly I wanted to keep them safe from fox that have frequented our property from time to time and wiped out my guinea hens a few years ago.
For the “Egg-Roll” we started with a 4X8 trailer that we purchased for $300. My husband had originally thought he’d use it for dump runs, but the wheels were not sufficient enough for road travel, so he nixed that idea.
Hubby is a master carpenter and I felt he was getting a bit carried away with all the heavy framing and thicker sheathing. He used 2X4 construction and the siding was some old ship lap we had laying around. Most all materials were extra stock from other carpentry jobs.
The roof sheathing was three 4×8 pieces of 1/2 inch plywood. We left substantial overhangs.
We then added the ice and water shield over the plywood, with conventional metal drip edge prior to roofing.
Roofing was some scavenged shingles that we’d had laying around also.
Roofing is complete. Windows installed, one on either side that have little turnbuckles that keep them shut, or allow them to open easily. The nest box holds 3 compartments and eggs can be gathered from outside.
Detail of the nest boxes.
Finishing the interior fell to me now that the structure was built and my husband could put away his tools. I purchased a remnant piece of linoleum for $40 dollars and pieced and rolled it up the back of the coop prior to putting in the roost of course.
The two metal arms on either side of the nest boxes are to accommodate a 2×6 length of wood which will make it easier to lift up and out for cleaning the boxes. I also put down some cut pieces of thin rubber matting in the boxes. They love to rearrange the nesting material until there is nothing but hard wood beneath. I was getting tired of finding cracked eggs from them hitting the wood after dropping from the business end of the hen. The mats under the straw helped solved this problem.
Detail of the back with the doors open. Cleaning out is pretty easy and mostly done with a long handled push broom. (or pull broom in this case) However it is tall enough at the peak to stand up in.
The pop-door opening.- It flips up and stays put with a piece of wood with a screw in the middle.
At night it is secured down with two hook and eye catches with a spring latch to keep out any prying fingers of raccoons.
This is the opposite side. We were originally going to put in another nest box, but didn’t feel the need as there were not going to be that many chickens in the 4X8 space. So we left it open. I liked the extra light in there. In the winter the hardware cloth will come off and we will cover it with a piece of Plexiglass to give the hens some solar gain.
I had this powder coated cast iron sun ornament around for a few years and I knew I wanted to put it on a chicken coop. I finally found the perfect home for it! The hole in the gable here is for ventilation and there are two in the hitch end of the gable also.
Moving the Egg-Roll is easy with the lawn tractor. With all the weight that went into building the coop, I wasn’t sure it would even budge. We did purchase larger, heavier duty wheels for it though.
In this photo the 9 newbies are now moved into the coop. Prior to this I had been keeping them in a large galvanized trough with a hardware cloth covering over the top. Daily I would take them in and out, carrying them to an outdoor fenced enclosure that we have on the back of an existing larger coop which houses older hens and a rooster.
Outside the nest box looking in. The gals are not laying yet. I always put in ceramic eggs so that they will get the idea of what the boxes are all about.
Lastly we did purchase some poultry netting that can be electrified, but so far we haven’t had the need to do that. We move the Egg-Roll every couple of weeks after they’ve eaten the bugs, weeds and grasses in an area and added their fertilizer. Start to finish, with taking down the fence, moving the tractor, and re-setting the fencing only takes us about an hour or so.
If you have a movable coop or chicken tractor, share your setup in a comment below and post photos on our Facebook page! Community Chickens – Facebook
If you have a “Cool Coop” you would like to share with the Community, email me at RNickols@communitychickens.com
Click on the link below for previous entries in the “Cool Coops!” series…
To view what else is happening at our Southwest Missouri property visit: the garden-roof coop
If you enjoy bird-watching (in addition to chicken-watching), I invite you to follow my Facebook page: Rebecca’s Bird Gardens