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Mobile Chicken Coop Build

 
James Freyr
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Posts: 4122
Location: West Tennessee
1620
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Day 15. I just about have this chicken coop wrapped up. I screwed a few blocks to the platform around the water tank to keep it from sliding around and tweaking any plumbing. I'm using an old galvanized trash can as a feed storage bin, and built a simple frame over the feed & water platform. The same repurposed roofing was cut to length and screwed in place, and a sheet plus a piece of plywood that had been laying by the driveway for a year and a half was cut to size and made the walls. Plenty of gap was left at the top of the walls for ventilation. Two pieces are on hinges so I can get to the feed bin and get to and remove the water tank for cleaning. I made a ramp out of two pieces of bead board that were outside with the plywood, and some cedar I had in the basement. I cut two eye bolts with my hacksaw and turned them into hooks, which are both used to attach the ramp to the chick coop door. I pretty much only lack installing the water fount and a little more yellow paint.
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water-and-chicken-feed-enclosure.jpg
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Eye-bolts-and-hooks.jpg
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Chicken-coop-ramp-hooked-to-coop.jpg
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Ashley Cottonwood
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James, are you going to filter the water at all? Just curious.
 
Tj Jefferson
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James I had an issue in my water collection barrel with algae. I have since installed a mylar windshield reflector. I think it has all but eliminated the algae. I had a rough filter on my tank (a broken colander actually!) but I took it off since there was never anything in there and it kept blowing off.

A cheapo tarp underneath the straps will eliminate algae and (I think) moderate the temperature. The water was getting too hot in the summer and freezing in the winter. I don't think this is a total solution as the water lines were freezing as well, but it has helped. My next tank will be in the coop and insulated since our average temperature is almost never below freezing for any length of time and the chix keep it a little warm in there.
 
James Freyr
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Location: West Tennessee
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Ashley Cottonwood wrote:James, are you going to filter the water at all? Just curious.



Sort of. Not like carbon filtering, but I want to tie four or five layers of cheese cloth to the elbow that dumps into the tank to collect the smaller particles that make it past the wire leaf guards.
 
James Freyr
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Location: West Tennessee
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Tj Jefferson wrote:James I had an issue in my water collection barrel with algae. I have since installed a mylar windshield reflector. I think it has all but eliminated the algae. I had a rough filter on my tank (a broken colander actually!) but I took it off since there was never anything in there and it kept blowing off.

A cheapo tarp underneath the straps will eliminate algae and (I think) moderate the temperature. The water was getting too hot in the summer and freezing in the winter. I don't think this is a total solution as the water lines were freezing as well, but it has helped. My next tank will be in the coop and insulated since our average temperature is almost never below freezing for any length of time and the chix keep it a little warm in there.



Part of my thinking for the enclosure around the water and feed was to block sunlight, and help keep the temperatures from getting hotter than I want it to be. I'm hoping that with the shade, and ventilation, the feed and water will be at or very near whatever the ambient air temperature is. I didn't consider wrapping the tank in something dark and I have some old tarps laying about and I could certainly use one for that. Thanks for the idea! I have in the past added apple cider vinegar to chicken waterers to help control algal growth, and I had some pretty good success with it, with the chickens also gaining the health benefits of the ACV too, and it is my plan to start doing that again.

I am planning to drain the tank and water lines, leave the valve open and disconnect the chicken fount (which is not pictured yet, coming soon) during periods of freezing weather, and just manually fill a heated waterer which I've been using with much success over the years.
 
James Freyr
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Location: West Tennessee
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It hasn't rained here really since sometime back in August, and last nights stormy cold front dumped 4 and a half inches of rain on me in 12 hours. My rainwater catchment works well, and no leaks!
Full-rainwater-tank.jpg
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James Freyr
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Location: West Tennessee
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I installed the water fount this morning. I thought it would be a good idea to put in a sediment trap on the way to the water fount, so I made one like the kind that would be in a gas line near an appliance. The threaded bottom to the trap also allows me to undo that if I want to rapidly drain the tank and lines. The little water fount is pretty neat, I think. Gravity feeds it, and the weight of the water in the dish turns off the flow. It comes apart easily for adjustment. The large spring tension is adjustable with a threaded collar for changing how much weight it takes before the valve on the bottom begins to close. That valve is the same kind as found in a valve stem for a tire on an automobile. That is easily removable for cleaning and replaceable, and the amount of force it takes to depress it can also be adjusted to some degree.
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Jay Angler
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Posts: 3218
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
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Was the little fuzzy guy supervising, or taste-testing? As long as she likes the font, that's all that matters.

More seriously, good idea to put some filters in the system, as my neighbor had a similar font and it tended to jam "open" when his hard water built up in it, or if some grit got through from his well. I admit, if it was me, I'd prefer to have a bucket of water for them also if it's really hot weather - birds can go longer without feed than without water. If there's lots of green grass, that's less of an issue, compared to eating dry food.
 
James Freyr
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Posts: 4122
Location: West Tennessee
1620
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The little one was helping and doing quality control! Today is also the first day that I've had the door open on the coop, and five of them got brave enough to venture out, and all drank from the fount. Since I got them, all their water sources have been red, so I figured that they wouldn't be confused as to what this thing did. I still need to make my cheese cloth particle filter, but there also is a fine mesh screen right inside the brass fittings.
 
Tj Jefferson
pollinator
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James do you think this will be frost tolerant? I’m annoyed at the nipple waterer setup. The actual water refs were fine but the pvc they are embedded in split. If this or a plaisson bell survive freeze/thaw it would be interesting.
 
James Freyr
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Posts: 4122
Location: West Tennessee
1620
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Tj Jefferson wrote:James do you think this will be frost tolerant? I’m annoyed at the nipple waterer setup. The actual water refs were fine but the pvc they are embedded in split. If this or a plaisson bell survive freeze/thaw it would be interesting.



I can confirm frost tolerance. Just this morning the low was 34 according to a weather app on my phone, and the farm was covered in frost. The water in the little bowl of the fount was unaffected, and I'll guess the rest of the water in the lines is unaffected too. I won't risk freezing weather and will drain everything before any arrives.
 
James Freyr
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I still have a few minor details to do, like a little paint and hang the feeder by the water under the coop, but I thought I would share a few pics of the coops happy new occupants.
chicks-eating.jpg
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chick-sleeping-in-afternoon-sun.jpg
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nap time in the late afternoon sun
 
Jay Angler
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Yeah, yeah, typical guy thing - posting pictures of cute chicks!

Seriously, it worries me when I see chicks in feeders. One, feed can act like quicksand and birds can get stuck. Two they poop in it which they may not care about but I do (I know, it's a girl thing.) Three, if too many all go in, they can squish someone at the bottom.

That said, making a cover for that style of feeder is harder than some that we have, due to the handle. At one point, I was given an old metal light fixture which is a much gaudier version of the picture I found on the web. I removed the electrical stuff, and it fits on the chain that holds the feeder. We use a clothespin to hold it up when filling the feeder. It's a bit rounder than the picture, so it fits down over the handle really well.

Before that, I cut up some old ice cream buckets and made a cone out of them using zip-ties, but they crack if exposed to sun for too long and weren't as nice as the light fixture.
 
Jay Angler
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It wasn't raining today, so I took a few pictures of feeder covers we've used:
repurposed-feeder-cover.jpg
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This is the one that fits the really large feeders. It's drip edge is past the feed base.
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This is made from two ice cream buckets and some zip ties. It's possible to make one large enough to cover a large feeder.
feeder-with-cover-provided.jpg
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This keeps birds out of the feed. We don't bother with the geese as they kept removing it!
 
Tj Jefferson
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James Freyr wrote:

Tj Jefferson wrote:James do you think this will be frost tolerant? I’m annoyed at the nipple waterer setup. The actual water refs were fine but the pvc they are embedded in split. If this or a plaisson bell survive freeze/thaw it would be interesting.



I can confirm frost tolerance. Just this morning the low was 34 according to a weather app on my phone, and the farm was covered in frost. The water in the little bowl of the fount was unaffected, and I'll guess the rest of the water in the lines is unaffected too. I won't risk freezing weather and will drain everything before any arrives.




I am trying a section of hose and the nipple waterers, which should be actually freeze tolerant. I am trying to figure out the connections, which can't be plastic or metal. The nipples weren't damaged last year and it got down to -5F so those should be good.  I am thinking basically sequentially larger tubes I scrounge from the feed line size to the hose size with a hose clamp on both ends. Inside the feed line will be a .22 cartridge with the rim cut off to keep it from getting crimped. The far side of the hose (and its a rubber feed hose with a leak, so I am assuming I can use another section when this one fails) will be a section of dowel.

I will take some pictures when I make it. It will still freeze but should be none the worse for wear when it thaws.
 
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