Brody Ekberg wrote:Hamilton, how’s it going with your mobile coop? Im looking into getting 4-6 Orpingtons and debating on either a mobile coop and paddock system or possibly mobile coop and free range. We have a young texas heeler and I’m not sure how she will be with chickens free ranging around... she likes to chase. I’ve been reading a lot and it sounds like everyone’s situation is different and theres no “right” way to do this chicken thing. Just curious how this has been working for you so far.
Jay Angler wrote:That's a beautiful build Hamilton, and your evaluation in your last post is good too!
Things I like about it: 1. You used hardware cloth - modern "chicken wire" is too wimpy to keep many predators out - 1/2" hardware cloth is an excellent choice.
2. The coop is large enough to walk into - chickens are messy! At some point, a coop or coop/run combo is going to have to be cleaned, so being able to get into it and reach all areas without having to crawl through shit is an asset. Also, if a chicken gets hurt, think about how you're going to get to it when planning a coop.
3. The coop has a secure area with a good roof, and open areas for sun - if chickens are largely contained to an area, even if they're going to move daily, they need 8-10 square feet/chicken for quality of life - particularly if there's a squabble.
People need to heed your warning about weight! I'm only about 5'4" and 115 lbs and there's no way I could move your coop. I've seen too many plans get grounded because it took too many people or was just too hard to move. That can be affected by weather also! Is there a time of year when the wheels will just sink into soft, water-logged ground? Do you need to find a garden area where you can "plant" your mobile coop for the winter because it doesn't move through snow?
Personally, I recommend that perches are easy to remove (ours are held with bolts) and especially, that nest boxes are easy to remove. The latter is because it's much easier to clean a nest box if it can be removed, and cleaned out in the open with either the roof removable or the back removable. The nest boxes are a great place to get a mite infestation (which can pass to well-cared for chickens from wild birds) and they can get messy if for some reason a bird is laying weak-shelled eggs which break easily, or a bird starts roosting in a nest box. Cleaning chicken infrastructure is generally not on anyone's "I love to do this job" list, so I really encourage people to think about that as they're designing their coops. I *really* like Hamilton's attitude - he designed for *his* comfort as well as his birds!
I don't see any weeds - I only see chicken food!
I just wanted to share this photo of how the chickens eat all the weeds and leave just my grass.