by Julie Miles
My chicken coop is on wheels! I have a friend who is a woodworker and a jack-of-all-trades, so I commissioned him to build my chicken RV (a large chicken tractor!).
Most of the RV was built from scraps that we had lying around. I had a lot of leftover wood, a roll of chicken wire from up in our attic, some scrap metal roofing and a small window that I wanted to use. He had some very old wood, some old windows, and a pair of vented doors that he wanted to get rid of. I bought four tires and told him what I was looking for in a coop. He had raised chickens when he was younger, and had great ideas.
It is the perfect size for four to six chickens.
In the morning before I let them out, I roll the RV about 3 feet to provide fresh grass for them to forage around on. I open the doors and they jump down onto the grass and peck around for worms and vegetation.
To give them the most grass space I can, I have hung the waterer from the ceiling with a bungee cord. This way the chickens can walk underneath and sip water at beak level and it prevents dirt and seed from fouling the water too quickly. The bottom sides flip up so that I can let them out to free range, weather permitting.
The crank-out window in the back is right by the nest, so I can open it and conveniently reach in for the eggs. This also makes it easy to add pine shavings to their nesting boxes.
I close the chickens in the coop at night by latching the vented doors at the bottom. This provides safety for the chickens and prevents predators from attacking at night. The vented doors provide fresh air in the coop.
We had 114-degree temperatures this summer in Oklahoma, and when I closed them in, I hung a fan over the doors so it would move the air inside. In the winter I hang up a small heat lamp and it provides enough warmth for the chickens in freezing temperatures.
The one thing I would like to add to the RV is a few more roosts around the cage for the chickens.
The urban chicken experience is very rewarding. I originally started this venture for the eggs, but I have found that I love just watching the chickens and think of them as pets. The only drawback that I have found in this whole experience, is finding someone to watch the chickens when I travel!