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Country Discussion Topics
To add your comments to this topic, click on one of the 'Reply' links below.

Reformed yuppie building a chicken coop
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Greg    Posted 08-20-2002 at 10:41:47       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Me and my wife recently bought 6 baby chicks for egg laying. They are an assortment of black australorps, rhode island reds, and arauconas.

I want to be able to free-range them in our yard, but am at a loss as to how to build a light, portable chicken coop.

For example, the floor... I'd much rather move the coop once a week and have them fertilize the lawn by pooping right through a mesh floor. But having a mesh floor seems like it would make them too cold. It only snows here once a year, and doesn't stick for more than a day or two--do I need to worry about them freezing at all, or can I have a complete mesh enclosure? Can the walls be poultry mesh, too?

And where do they sleep? Do they need individual nests, or do they perch?

I am desperate to figure out how to build this before the chicks can be free-ranged in a few weeks. I would be incredibly grateful for any help you can offer.

Sincerely,

Greg


kuchickidee    Posted 04-06-2004 at 09:13:43       [Reply]  [Send Email]
It has been a couple of years since you posted this... How are you and your chicks doing? Just found this site and my son/10 and I are starting the chick/egg thing. HomeSchooling provides us with lots of opprotunities to branch out. Did you find/build/use the Chicken tractors? jen


Katrina    Posted 08-20-2002 at 12:36:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
Greg - There is some good information if you look up chicken tractors on the net. Sounds funny but the original idea was to have a portable coop to move between the rows in your garden. Sounds like it may be just what you are looking for. You may need to adjust the measurements to suit you but I think it's worth looking into. There us also a lot of good info on poultryhelp.com. Good luck and let us know if we can help you any more.


JoeK    Posted 08-20-2002 at 12:30:44       [Reply]  [No Email]
Movable coops such as you describe are called "chicken tractors".If you do a search for chicken tractor you should find lots of info.


Promise Land Ranch    Posted 08-20-2002 at 12:15:06       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hello,

I would suggest that you build a 4ft by 4ft by 4 ft frame and put a roof on it (plywood or metal roofing) and cover three sides with plywood so they have a place to get out of the wind and weather. The remaining wall can be open or can be chicken mesh with a door cut in it(make sure you have access inside for cleaning, getting eggs and watering). They will need a perch (a 2 by 2 or large dowel)across the back wall about 2-1/2 feet from the floor. I think the mesh floor will be hard on there feet so I would do a solid floor because they will be spending most of there time outside anyway. In the winter I would move the pen to a sheltered area and put a light in it (40 or 60 watt). I would close them in it for a few days before I let them in the yard so they know that it is home, otherwise the first time you let them out they will roost outside the pen and start laying outside the pen.

Have fun with your new chickens!!

Shelby


Brad    Posted 08-21-2002 at 05:51:57       [Reply]  [No Email]
Make it atleast 8" long and do not use a solid floor. That would take away from the whole idea of the chicken tractor. Then you can cover 1 end with 4' pieces of plywood for protection and you have a 4' section open with just poultry wire. full coverage on top. You can make it in an hour easy.


Brad    Posted 08-21-2002 at 05:51:55       [Reply]  [No Email]
Make it atleast 8" long and do not use a solid floor. That would take away from the whole idea of the chicken tractor. Then you can cover 1 end with 4' pieces of plywood for protection and you have a 4' section open with just poultry wire. full coverage on top. You can make it in an hour easy.


F14....What you said, except    Posted 08-20-2002 at 15:10:47       [Reply]  [No Email]
Don't worry about the heat. They'll huddle up and stay warm just fine all by themselves. I don't put any heat in my coop (other than a bird bath heater to keep the water thawed) and my birds make it through Maine winters just fine.

A little extra corn in their diet for energy is all they need.


Jim    Posted 08-20-2002 at 12:13:50       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Greg,
Try the URL below! Found this on Google when I typed in "chicken coops" It could be a start for you!


Candace    Posted 10-16-2002 at 11:13:38       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I guess I fall into your reformed yuppie category. I recently bought a bunch of birds and built a coop. My birds are quinea hens, chuckors,
golden laced wydadotte (sp?), speckled sussex, delaware, jersy black giants, silver laced wydadotte, and buff oppingtons. A total of 50 birds. I built a coop out of OSB and fiberglass panels. 8x4x4' and raised 3'from the ground. The fiberglass panels are windows (a 2x4 in front wedged between two hinged doors, and two 1x2 windows on each upper end). The bottom is good grade wire mesh covered with 8 inches of pine needles, leaves, and tree limbs and bark for fun and a perch that the guinea hens have claimed. I've hung a 250 watt heating lamp and have water and feed dispensers. What I don't know how to do is make a way for the hens to get in and out of the coop as they please and encourage them to lay their eggs in the coop. I thought of cutting a circular hole near the bottom and building a ladder or ramp, and anchoring asparagus boxes on the inside walls for nesting. I plan on setting the guinea hens (8 wks) and chuckors (4 wks) free when the are old enough and have no idea if they will hang around or not. I suppose if I keep their favorite foods scattered near the coop they might (cooked rice, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, apples, and their grain stuff). I,m kind of out in the boonies here, just above the timber line and will have snow occasionally. But I still think I should build a yard for the birds, surrounding the coop. At what age to chickens start laying. Anyway, any one want to say boo!


agent 99    Posted 08-20-2002 at 10:48:51       [Reply]  [No Email]
can,t help you as im an old unreformed hippie, but im sure others on here sure can just hold on


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