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Mobile Chicken Coop Build

 
Sam Dodson
Posts: 32
Location: East Texas
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I'm putting together a mobile chicken coop and I plan to post progress of the build here. I'm not in a hurry and have plenty of other projects, so progress may be slow for a while.

I have a question - Does anyone have experience with nesting boxes being at an angle? Say if 4 of them were in a row, and one end is tilted up about 30 deg? What if they were tilted slightly, say 15deg back to front? Will the hens object? I'm planning to tilt the trailer back so the end sits on the ground and I can create an effective barrier without having to block off under the trailer every time I move it. This would require tipping it back, thus the question about leaning nesting boxes.


Here's where I'm at so far.

I got the trailer squared away. My uncle built this to spray chemicals (boooo!) on the fields. It held 4 55gal drums, and then it was converted to hold 2 centered over the wheels.

I'm sorting out how to set everything up now. I'm going to pull 1/2 of the floor supports and put down some mesh screening so the poop will fall through. Any size/material recommendations for this? I plan to put a fold up ramp on the back, and attach poultry net to each back corner.

I'm thinking the nesting boxes will be on the front so I can tilt it back, setting the butt end of the trailer on the ground. That will give me a contained yard for the chickens. Otherwise I'll always have to do something to block predators from getting in from under the trailer at the corners of the net/trailer connection.

When finished it will be a mobile setup with solar power, a 15gal water tank w/ poultry nipples for clean water, LED lighting to increase laying in the winter, motion activated exterior predictor lights, and even an 110 outlet to run small pumps, tools or country music (apparently they like it).

I would love to hear any ideas or suggestions you may have.
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John Elliott
pollinator
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Why don't you put a skirt around the base, leaving the tires outside? That way it can be fairly level all the time and you don't have to do any tilting (which can startle the birds). At times, my chicken tractor has a gap at the bottom of 4" because of uneven terrain, but I've never had any problems from predators using that to breach security.

The chickens may also like multiple levels in the coop, spending the day down on the ground, and jumping up to perch, roost, and lay.
 
Sam Dodson
Posts: 32
Location: East Texas
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I thought about a skirt, but I don't want it getting caught on the ground and torn off when moving. I think a 4" gap here would be detrimental. We have skunks (dog still smells from last week), 6' chicken snakes (one in my freezer), and coyotes that dug under my neighbors turkey pen, took 2 turkeys and dug another tunnel out.The sandy soil makes it easy. Plus this coop will be up to 1/4 mile from the house in the bottom pastures. I thought about flaps that fold down to block the sides, but that seems like a PITA to manage. I'm thinking about a wedge shaped ramp to minimize tilting while still blocking the sides and back. That would at least minimize the tilting.

I'm considering using a photocell tided to a 12v linear actuator to open and close the door at dawn/dusk. That would offer the absolute best protection at night. Then I only need to make sure the coop is solid and the batteries hold.
 
Sam Dodson
Posts: 32
Location: East Texas
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An Update on the Coop
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We straightened out the bent top rail, and cut some of the base supports so the chicken shit will fall through to the ground. The sides are on, and on the ground you can see one of the nesting boxes coming together.
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cutting, cutting, lots of cutting. The wood is all rough cut from the sawmill.
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Uummm . . . yea. That's a really nice pair of cut marks she's got there
 
Sam Dodson
Posts: 32
Location: East Texas
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Another Update
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Here's the back and you can see the framing of the upper portion of the coop. The roof is going to house two 175w solar panels that will power the electronics on the back and the front will hold two 15-gallon water barrels for the chickens to drink from.
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Here's the base almost done, both nesting boxes are on, and Rebecca is adding hinges
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Two 15gal water tanks will be filled from a single hose connection, but are otherwise independent. They will go to 2 separate sets of water nipples - one inside and one outside. That way if one leaks or gets stuck open there's still a second set.
 
Sam Dodson
Posts: 32
Location: East Texas
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This forum software sucks. I just uploaded 3 pics and added descriptions. Because one was too long it dumped everything and I had to start over. . . tisk tisk. . .

Here's the full power panel description = Here's the power panel on the left side. The top plug/switch will turn on the inverter and give about 300W of AC power (enough to run a drill, water pump, radio, etc.)

Below that are the 12v switches to turn on everything form the fence to the lights (for winter egg production) to the 12v accessories below.

Under that are two 12v terminal posts and below that are two 12v car cigarette lighter plugs.
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Have the solar panels mounted for the roof. You can see the canvas tarp on the bottom left there. That
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Here
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Here
 
Travis Charlie
Posts: 21
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OK. Mine was waaaaay less technologically advanced but this is working great for me. And the tilted nest boxes don't bother them a bit.
This pic is of it before I sheeted it in.
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Sam Dodson
Posts: 32
Location: East Texas
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Thanks Travis! I figured it would be okay. I'm curious, how many chickens fit in your (guessing) 6'x8' trailer?

I spent the day banging my head against the wall working out the relays, pulse timers, liner actuators, wiring, and so on. It's going to be fantastic when it's all done, but it's a major pain in the ass to get sorted out.
 
Travis Charlie
Posts: 21
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I use this as mostly a laying house. My birds are free range and they tend to roost in the bushes and small trees in their pasture. The flock consists of about 40 layers and another 90 ready to lay pullets. I am about to open up the other side wall and build another set of 18 nest boxes for the up and coming layers.
I only closed in 3 sides and they come and go as they please. I have burlap hanging from the ceiling to cover up the nest boxes at night to keep them clean.
if they were going to be closed up in there at night I would limit to 2-2 1/2sq ft per bird.
 
Tyler Flaumitsch
Posts: 23
Location: Vancouver, BC
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My chicken tractor is almost constantly at an angle and the hens don't seem to mind a bit. The just love fresh straw. Fresh straw=lots of eggs.
 
It's in the permaculture playing cards. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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