Roll Around Chicken Coop

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Introduction: Roll Around Chicken Coop

About: Retired software engineer. Like the outdoors, canoeing, camping, hunting and fishing. I’ve built 3 cedar strip canoes and 2 cedar strip kayaks and use all of them. I built 3 acoustic guitars and play all of th…

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.

Supplies:

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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    6 Discussions

    0
    shalnachywyt
    shalnachywyt

    1 year ago

    A neighbor of mine has one very similar, but of heavier, design. Raccoon got in and ate three of his chickens. Covering the tractor with chicken wire is inviting a raccoon to tear it open and get at your flock. Use hardware cloth which is harder for them to get their claws into. Also, made the frame heavier on the bottom so the raccoon can't lift it. (Yes they can do that.) That same neighbor had rabbits in a cage that was four feet off the ground. Raccoon got into the cage through a small crack and dragged the rabbit out of the cage to eat him.
    On the run I have attached to the coop I have, I made the bottom of the frame from composite lumber which helps prevent rotting from the lumber touching the ground. You also need to have some horizontal "perches" for them to roost on at night, and an enclosed space where the nest(s) will be. Otherwise, nice idea.

    1
    jimmar57
    jimmar57

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks for the advice. We have a lot of raccoons around here, I’m very aware of what they can do, lost more than a few chickens over the years. It has been in use for almost 2 months and no break-ins yet. Perhaps our raccoons are either lazy or well fed. It does have a roost and a box for laying, maybe not visible in the photo. The base is pressure treated wood an the whole contraption is too heavy for a critter to lift I’m sure, it takes a fair amount of effort to lift so the wheels can flip down. Thanks for reading.

    1
    DDW_OR
    DDW_OR

    1 year ago

    Blue tarps only stop rain, they do not stop UV
    I got sunburned while using one for shade

    use a silver tarp

    1
    skywayman
    skywayman

    Reply 1 year ago

    I was going to make the same comment. Good design, but use canvas or some other material. Those blue tarps don't provide shade from UV.

    2
    Errol1951
    Errol1951

    1 year ago

    these are also called chicken tractors ( in Australia that is) as they clean and rake your land for you

    3
    KEUrban
    KEUrban

    1 year ago

    A great solution to avoid what Shakespeare might have called, "Murder most fowl."