Our chickens used to roam free until one summer all of them disappeared one by one. We suspect the became lunch for coyotes or raccoons. So our next flock stayed protected in a chicken coop all year long. They needed to get out of their confined, but fairly large space to peck fresh dirt and eat some grass. In addition the smell from accumulated chicken poop was getting stronger.
The solution was to build a coop or large cage that could be moved around the pasture. It needed to be large since we have about 22 chickens. I needed to be large enough to walk into in order to feed and water the chickens and collect eggs. A coop that big would be difficult to drag so we put wheels on it....but the wheels needed to retract so the bottom of the coop would rest flat on the ground to keep out predators.
Following is a summary.
4 - 8 inch solid wheels from Harbor Freight
4 - 5/8"x6" carriage bolts for axles
4 - 1/2"x6" carriage bolts for swing up axle arms
8 - 5/8" washers
4 - 5/8" nuts
4 - 1/2" nuts
16 -1/2" washers
2 -16 ft. 2x4 PT
2 - 8 ft. 2x4 PT
1 - 16 ft 2x4
9 - 8 ft. 2x4
1 - 50 ft. roll of chicken wire
1 box 2-1/2 drywall screws
staples and stapler
2 - 6x8 blue tarp
Step 1: Build the Frame
The base is made with pressure treated lumber with scrap 4x4 pieces at each corner. A 2x4 is attached in the center across the long sides of the base. The standard 2x4x16 forms the ridge rafter along the peak. Three tent shaped sections are cut and attached between the ridge rafter and the base with screws so that the peak is about 6 ft. tall. A 2x4 is attached between each short section of the base and the ridge rafter to add support. Scrap wood was used as a brace between this board and the ridge rafter.
Step 2: Make the Swing Up Wheels Arms
A cardboard template was made to establish the proper dimensions and test the concept. Each arm is about 8 inches long, made from PT 2x4, and attached to the base frame about 3 feet from each corner with 1/2" carriage bolts and washers. Double up on the washers between the arm and frame to reduce friction. The other end of the arm has a hole for the 5/8" carriage bolts which are axles for the wheels.
A scrap piece of 2x4 is attached to the frame next to the wheel arm so that when the wheel arm is swung down it rests against it at about a 45 degree angle.
The idea is to lift the base of the coop and swing the wheels down one at a time so it possible to roll around.
Step 3: Results
A door was made on one side at the end from scrap wood and attached on hinges. The chicken wire was stapled on in with several 7/16" staples. One row was bent over the peak since 6 ft wire will not completely cover the sides. The tarps were tied on to provide shade.
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