This project is about how to assemble the best chicken coop in the world (seriously not exaggerating), from scratch. This chicken tractor came from https://eggcartn.com.
A few years into homesteading, we know exactly what to look for in a chicken coop and believe it or not, we found all the features rolled into one awesome coop.
What to consider while selecting a coop:
1. Durability- We had a bunch of problems with the previous chicken coops, from goats eating up the roof shingles to the floor rotting twice. This chalet from EggCartN.com is made from materials that will not rot or get eaten- aluminum, metal roof and perforated plastic floor.
2. Space- It can hold between 8-12 chickens. It is just right for our 10 chickens.
3. Ease of use- The user friendly design makes it so convenient. The eggs can be accessed comfortably. The ramp lets the chicken enjoy the grass without the fear of predators.
4. Portability- It can easily be moved from one spot to another. So the chickens can clean up the insects while enjoying different areas of the turf. Complete win-win situation!
5. Ease of cleaning- Since the floor is perforated plastic, all it needs is a power wash. You don't have to kill yourself over getting all the mess onto a tarp and then manually cleaning out the coop like we had to with the previous ones. Also, simply drag the coop to the washer or better still, to the compost area and give it a good spray. You'll have a clean coop and natural fertilizers for the soil.
The chicken coop set up was complete in about 2 hours. Everything is extremely well organized, from clear instructions to labelled hardware packets and even pre-drilled holes. My daughter, Alyssa and I had a lot of fun setting it up. Watch the entire video of the project here. If you need to check a particular step, we have included links for each step within the step instructions.
Things you will need:
1. A tarp- so you have a clean surface to work on (optional)
2. A table- to arrange all your pieces of hardware and tools on (optional, but recommended)
4. A helper :)
Here are a few things that we need to do before we can get started:
1. Remove the packing of the custom package that we received from EggCartN.com.
2. Take out the large pieces one by one and lay them out on a tarp. The smaller packets of hardware and all your tools go on the table. Read through the instruction manual and arrange the hardware accordingly. It is a quick one time effort and will save you a lot of time later. (In the rare case that your manual is missing or has been eaten up by your goat, simply go to their website and you'll find the instructions there as well.)
Step 1: Lay Out the 2 Front and Rear Pieces of the Chalet.
Stand them up with the tops to the outside. It is pretty straightforward. Just read the labels on the panels.
Step 2: Fasten the Rear End Pieces to the Right Panel.
Fasten the panels together using two 3/8" *1" bolts. For now, only finger tighten them.
Step 3: Do the Same for the Left Panel.
Step 4: Get the Front Piece in Position.
Fasten the front piece to the ends using four 3/8" * 1" bolts.
Step 5: Tighten the Bolts.
Align the corners. Then , use a 9/16" socket wrench to tighten the bolts.
Step 6: Lower the Floor Into Place.
You will need an extra pair of hands for this step.
Step 7: Cut the Plastic Zip Tie to Get the Ramp in Position.
Cut the tie to release the ramp. The ramp is a really cool feature in this coop. You can easily move it up and down to let the chicken get to the ground. And all this without actually having to enter the coop! That's awesome ease of operation.
Step 8: Install the Lock.
Use a phillips head screwdriver.
Step 9: Connect the T-handle Which Overlaps the Central Doorstop.
Use the 1/8 " Allen wrench.
Step 10: Get the Front Frame in Place.
Slide the lift frame under the left end of the EggCartN and fasten it to the main frame. Use 2 3/8" * 1 " bolts.Do the same for the right side as well. Once secured, slide the front wheel assembly onto the shaft. Lift the frame and insert the large cotter pin below the axle.
Step 11: Fasten the Rear Axle.
Use the 2 'U' brackets and four 3/8" * 1" bolts.
Step 12: Install the Lift Cable Under the Rear Wheel Assembly.
Use 5/16" *1 1/2" carriage bolts.
Next, use 5/16" * 3/4" bolts to install the cables on the levers of the front frame.
Step 13: Slide the Wheels Onto the Axles and Secure Them.
Slide 2 wheels onto the front axle ad 2 onto the rear axle. Secure the wheels with the 4 axle caps provided.Tap lightly with a mallet.
Step 14: Install the Lift Cylinder.
You will need to push the handle down and then slide the free end of the cylinder onto the bolt. Then lock it in place with a 5/16" lock nut.
Step 15: Install the Ceiling Hooks.
There are three ceiling hooks to be installed. Two in the left part of the roof and one in the right part. The holes for the hooks are already there. Also, you'll see labels (saying Ceiling Hooks) right next to the hole. That really makes it easy to spot the holes.
Step 16: Fix the Temporary Roof Support on the Front Frame.
Take a C-clamp from the packet marked 'Roof'. Use the clamp to fix the temporary roof support to the front frame.
Step 17: Place the Roof Sections on the Temporary Roof Support.
You'll need some help picking up the roof sections. Place the left roof section on the temporary roof support.
Remember it is the section with two ceiling hooks.
Next place the right roof section (with one ceiling hook) on the temporary support as well.
Step 18: Fasten the Roof With Screws.
Use 2" wood screws. The screws go in on the outer side of the chalet.
Step 19: Install the Gable Panel on the Rear Side.
Use 1 1/2" washered screws.The holes are already drilled for easy assembly.
Step 20: Install an Aluminum Gusset.
Use six 1 1/2" washered screws.
Step 21: Secure the Gable Panels.
Look for two pre-drilled holes on the bottom gable. Then using a 5/32" drill bit, drill through the aluminum panel.
Next using a 1/4" nut driver, screw in some 1" washered screws and hand tighten them.
Step 22: Remove the Temporary Roof Support and Put in the Roost.
You might need to rotate the ends a bit to make sure the roost fits well.
Step 23: Install the Front Gable (with the Window on It) and Secure It.
Look for pre-drilled holes along the top slope. Screw 1 1/2" washered screws through them.
Step 24: Install a White Aluminum Gusset.
Use four 1 1/2" washered screws.
Step 25: Fasten the Bottom of the Gable Panel.
There are 2 pre-drilled holes at the bottom of the panel. Take the 5/32" drill bit provided and drill through. Use a 1/4" nut driver and then hand tighten the 1" washered screws.
Step 26: Fix the Gable Trims.
Place the gable trim on the right hand side of the roof. Align it with the bolt spaces in the roof. Next put in the 2 black 1/4" * 3/4" bolts through the trim and the roof. Hand tighten them.
Step 27: Fix the Left Trim the Same Way.
Once both the trims are fixed, align them right at the peak. Then tighten all the 4 nuts on the roof trim.
Step 28: Fix the Trims at the Back.
Don't worry if you see any gap between the two trims after hand tightening them. As with the front, align the trims and then tighten them. It will easily fall into place.
Step 29: Fix the Bottom Trims.
There will be pre-drilled holes towards the bottom of the roof. Drill through them. Next, use 1" washered screws to fix the bottom trims to the edges of the roof.
Step 30: Fix the Trim at the Top of the Roof.
Get a ladder to comfortably reach the roof. We stood on our Argo :)
Then look for the pre-drilled holes near the top most edge of the roof (on the left and the right sides). Drill through them.Use 1" washered screws to fix the trim to the roof and tighten well.
Step 31: And That's How It Looks!
All that is left is putting the chickens in their new home.
All in all, a recommended product!
Some features that we really appreciate:
1. The mesh floor of the coop. Extremely low maintenance. Super easy to clean with a power washer.
2. The ramp to let the chickens have fun.
3. The ease of moving the chalet.
4. The sweet little flower bed. :)
Step 32: How to Raise the Chalet
To raise the chalet, lower the handle until it is 6 inches off the ground. Then, move the handle 3 inches to the left. You will see a latch pop and the chalet will rise above the ground. You can easily move it to another spot.
Step 33: How to Lower the Chalet
To lower the chalet, simply lower the lever and then raise it back into an upright position. The chalet will be lowered to the ground completely.