thomas rubino wrote:Hi Shawn;
Looks really good already!
Here is what I have noticed.
I would put larger wheels on the back, it looks like it would skid instead of roll if the ground is sloped.
I would add a diagonal brace on each lower corner to stiffen them up.
I have heard you want 1/4" hardware cloth to keep out weasels.
james keller wrote:I echo the use of hardware cloth. In fact i recommend that it extend below the bottom boards to leave sharp edges to deter predators digging under the sides. If your tractor doesn't sit flat on the ground (and even if it does) predators will definitely go under.
Jeremiah Pedro wrote:Good evening, Sean.
For your wheels, how about a pivoting wheel?
Something like what the "crazy bavarian gardener" has on his chicken tractor.
Crazy Bavarian Gardener chicken tractor wheel design
Love the overall setup. I've been using a smaller chicken tractor in my backyard for 5 years now and it has worked quite well. Understand that you will need to park the structure in winter due to wet/snow/icy ground. I add clear plastic sheeting around most of the structure (particularly the windward sides) and hold it in place with furring strips. It is then easy to remove in the spring when you want to start moving again. Be sure to leave ventilation areas with the plastic- the idea is to protect against water/wind. Your chickens can handle dry cold conditions.
I live in North Central Ohio....Knox County the most southeast corner. I don't know about predators in your area,, but at my farm, the raccoons would be under you bottom frame of the coop in no time. I have had raccoons going after my chickens in broad daylight. But at night, they will go under the chicken tractor in no time.
I think its a pretty good build and most of the improvements you listed would be a good idea. I do worry about the translucent roof allowing it to get too hot in summer though. Definitely need more ventilation, and that can be tricky if you have winter to deal with, but I dont remember where you said you are at. Also, not sure if the ladder style roost is necessary. They will probably all just fight for a spot on the top rung anyway. I have 2 at the same level and they fight for a spot on the same one…
I'd probably ask local chicken keepers about the nest-boxes, though. Down here (Coastal Texas 9a) we have to worry about heat and chicken tolerances. Those offset nest-boxes tend to turn into mini-ovens in the summer heat, down here. I know right now you're probably dealing with hens who are sleeping and pooping in them, as hens are contrary critters.
Sean Kibler wrote:
I had the same concern about the semi-transparent roofing causing the interior to get too hot in the summer. I figured I would just use a tarp or fabricate a secondary roof that can be easily removed to block the sun out during the hottest months. I'm in Northeast Ohio so it gets warm here but not like in the south, I believe our average temps are mid to high 80s. Scorchers here are in the 90s. I have decent shade options as well.
What were the troubles with your mobile coop for winter use?
Thanks for your feedback!
Yea, a tarp would probably be good enough. I rig up a tarp like an awning off the side of the mobile coop when we get 90s here. They dont handle wind well but otherwise are very convenient.
The mobile coop would have been tolerable in winter if I build the roof to fit better (it opens like a clamshell), had a taller roof (more headspace for chicken and room for ventilation) and more ventilation. It is about 4’ tall (inside) in the back and 2’ tall in the front. The nest boxes are in the front and the roosts are in the back, only about 1’ off the ground so the chickens have some head space above them. The majority of windows are back by the roosts which is great for summertime. But in winter it makes for drafty roosts. They were getting frostbite in the coop our first winter so i blocked off the windows and it actually made it worse because then there was moisture buildup. So then I had to cut extra vents as high up above their heads as possible mid winter. That helped but there were still just too many things I had to “rig up” temporarily for winter that I decided, for me and the chickens, do dedicate that to warm weather use, brooding and/or quarantining and build a Woods Fresh Air coop as their more permanent winter housing.
It is nice in summer though to be able to push the coop around every month or two to get the chickens to fresh ground. Open yard in spring and under trees in the heat of summer. I use 4’ tall plastic snow fencing (can see in one of my previous pictures) to make paddocks for them and it works great.
Matt McSpadden wrote:Hi Sean,
One idea that I absolutely loved about my mobile coop was the floor. I did not make it solid. I made it out of 1/2" hardware cloth. I have seen some made from slats. I wish I had made it out of 1" hardware cloth because sometimes the poop and feathers would get stuck, but most of it just fell out on the ground. This means I did not have to clean the floor very often. I did not have to worry about water spilling as it went on the ground, and it added a lot of ventilation to the coop as well. When I moved the coop there was a well fertilized spot left behind. I moved my coop every couple of days.