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Calling all handy folk! How would you make this coop mobile?

 
Vida Norris
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Location: Ontario Canada, Zone 5b
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Hey friends,

My awesome brother decided to get even more awesome and surprised me with a chicken coop for Christmas! (yes, it was a green Christmas this year although we're buried in snow now!)

I wanted to get some of your advice on how to make it mobile. After careful consideration (mostly from reading Paul's Awesome chicken article and reading Joel Salatin's Poultry book) I do feel like the mobile paddock scenario with raising chickens is what I want to do.

The coop is unfinished so don't mind that - still need to shingle the roof etc. I am guestimating that it's about 8' x 4' roughly. I haven't measured it officially yet so forgive me on that. It's not that big, I am guessing it will only hold around 10 birds or so? (Yes I am new to the world of chicken raising too hehe)

So - I need to retrofit this coop to make it mobile. I am learning to be handy but don't know so much about tinkering with this kind of thing whereas I am sure some of you would look at it and say that I need this or that gadget or wheely thing. So help a sister out and give me your permie thoughts! Pretty please with sugar on top? Also any ideas for finishing it are welcome (I like pretty things!)

Thanks in advance!!



 
Miles Flansburg
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Looks pretty heavy so I am not sure if this will wor,k but I might try to find an old bike , mount the wheels on the bottom corners , left side of the picture) and then mount two more two by fours along the sides that stick out the other end, so it makes a sort of wheelbarrow. Might take two people to move it?
 
Tracy Kuykendall
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Go to u-tube look up texasprepper2, he has a video on how he rigged his mobil tractor, pretty handy and not to hard to do.
 
Vida Norris
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Miles Flansburg wrote:Looks pretty heavy so I am not sure if this will wor,k but I might try to find an old bike , mount the wheels on the bottom corners , left side of the picture) and then mount two more two by fours along the sides that stick out the other end, so it makes a sort of wheelbarrow. Might take two people to move it?


Yeah - I was thinking something similar except it is pretty heavy (correction - it is around 6' x 5', just asked my bro) so I think I would need tires that would be a bit more heavy duty than bike tires and I think I might need to put in 4 of em' so it isn't all slanty when stationary.

I'll probably have to get something to pull it around too, a small tractor etc. I guess the other option is to have fence systems set up that are movable and try to shimmy the chickens back to the coop every day before dark but that's less than ideal in the long run since it seems like it would be a big time suck.
 
Vida Norris
Posts: 114
Location: Ontario Canada, Zone 5b
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Tracy Kuykendall wrote:Go to u-tube look up texasprepper2, he has a video on how he rigged his mobil tractor, pretty handy and not to hard to do.


Awesome thanks Tracy! I will definitely check it out!
 
Tom Gauthier
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Location: U.P., Michigan
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I agree with Miles ... that looks pretty heavy. Do you have a tractor or truck to tow it with? Just putting some 4x4 skids underneath for towing would be the easiest.
I'm not sure the bicycle wheels will work ... it's not that the wheels can't take the weight, it's the axle/connection that might not take the torque.
Have you considered free-ranging your small flock? Or even a large movable pen that can be rotated round the coop (N-E-S-W)? It would mean less moving of the coop.
Good luck with your flock.
-Tom
 
Vida Norris
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Location: Ontario Canada, Zone 5b
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Tom Gauthier wrote:I agree with Miles ... that looks pretty heavy. Do you have a tractor or truck to tow it with? Just putting some 4x4 skids underneath for towing would be the easiest.
I'm not sure the bicycle wheels will work ... it's not that the wheels can't take the weight, it's the axle/connection that might not take the torque.
Have you considered free-ranging your small flock? Or even a large movable pen that can be rotated round the coop (N-E-S-W)? It would mean less moving of the coop.
Good luck with your flock.
-Tom


I don't have a tractor or truck yet but was considering it for sure.

I really like your suggestion about the NESW rotation. That might be the best thing in the short term for sure. Do you think the time frame for rotation would be about the same? I guess that depends on how big you make the fenced areas and how many birds?

Also, any suggestions for the best type of fencing for said movable pen?

Thanks a bunch Tom!
 
Peter Ellis
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Depending on things like how often and how far you need to move it, solutions run quite a gamut. PErsonally, I would not go with bicycle tires, I think the large diameter tires lead to problems on a variety of fronts.
A couple of garden cart wheels at the enclosed end a loop of rope at the bottom of the open end as your pulling handle would be one option. Appropriate sized bolts would work as axles for the cart wheels.

But it could also work to just get three lengths of one inch diameter black iron pipe that would reach side to side, and use them as rollers under the coop. More fiddling about each time you want to move, but no construction work.

As for fencing, electric poultry netting, solar powered or grid powered, makes for the easiest fences to move around.

 
Vida Norris
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Location: Ontario Canada, Zone 5b
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Peter Ellis wrote:Depending on things like how often and how far you need to move it, solutions run quite a gamut. PErsonally, I would not go with bicycle tires, I think the large diameter tires lead to problems on a variety of fronts.
A couple of garden cart wheels at the enclosed end a loop of rope at the bottom of the open end as your pulling handle would be one option. Appropriate sized bolts would work as axles for the cart wheels.

But it could also work to just get three lengths of one inch diameter black iron pipe that would reach side to side, and use them as rollers under the coop. More fiddling about each time you want to move, but no construction work.

As for fencing, electric poultry netting, solar powered or grid powered, makes for the easiest fences to move around.



Thanks Peter! I am intrigued by your pipe suggestion. So is it one of those scenarios where you'd keep replacing the pipes to the front as you roll along kinda deal?

Thanks for the poultry fence suggestion - do you (or anyone) have any favorite brands they go with for the electric fencing? Thanks so much everyone for your help!
 
Max Tanner
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Location: Ontario North and South - right now, moving North Permanently soon. Timmins Cochrane areas
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I am with Tom,
I would go with the 4x4 skids as well.

on the bottom grass side of the skids you could also mount some heavy plastic so it has less friction. Look up Metal Mart, they are all across Canada with a location in Oshawa/Whitby area. They have a website, deliver and are sometimes half the price of Home Depot !!

Check out kijiji for used lawn tractors as well as older farm tractors. There was a fellow near Bobcajun that had an older working tractor as well as lots of implements for only $ 2K
I have also seen lawn tractors go for about $ 2-3 hundred or so.

Cheers and good luck.
Max
 
Jack Edmondson
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I think the above advice is correct. You need more than a bicycle wheel. However, for $6 a piece your local tool store (harbor freight, northern tool, tractor supply), you can get 10" pneumatic tires. It looks like he did the right thing and provided good sturdy frame members on the corners. Some 1/2 diameter bar stock (or whatever size the wheel hubs you choice is) drilled and pressed through the corners frames at about 4" above the ground (10" wheel divided by half height and a little for the compression weight on the wheel) will leave you about a 1/2" gap under the frame. If that is too much lower it to 4.75, but expect it to drag on the ground when the tires are a little low. All 4 corners would be best for less than $30 all in. You could just do the back corners and lift the front end when pulling. Since the center of gravity is way to the back by the nesting boxes, obviously that would be the back.

link to tires

Anther idea would be to use a friction reducer and strong arm it. These are the teflon sliders you see on TV for moving your sofa and entertainment center. They should work on pasture, unless it is real muddy. For a $4 investment it is worth a shot to see if your ground is suitable. I think they would work better than you imagine.

sliders

Edited to add: Good on your brother! What a great gift, and a darn fine chicken coop.
 
Vida Norris
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Thanks soooo much Max and Jack! I'm really inspired to get this coop mobile now!

Just finished up the coop this weekend actually, getting the roof on and all the trimmings. I will definitely look into those tires - I think given the weight I'd want to go with all four tires to be safe. It's really heavy/sturdy.

Thanks again everyone - I'll post an update once I've managed to get her on wheels!!!
 
chad duncan
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I wouldn't shingle the roof. It will add a lot of weight while only adding a visual benefit. The last small coop like this that I built, I planned the dimensions so that the roof is one standard sheet of plywood and is super easy to replace. Even unprotected (no paint) you should get a couple years of life out of it. With the bottom of the plywood exposed to the air, it will have a chance to dry out between rainy periods. Not a good practice on an insulated attic situation but in a chicken coop without water holding insulation, you will be fine for a time. When that time is up, just go and replace the plywood with another sheet of 3/8". cheaper than shingles in the short term, and lighter. I suspect it will be many years before the shingles start to save money.
 
Dillon Nichols
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How often are you going to move it? I am assuming that the chickens will be ranging out of this enclosure in a larger pen in the day, right?

If you are going for the movable paddock setup, hopefully you can plan so that the coop can sit in one spot while the paddock shifts around it several times, and then move the coop once to access a second set of paddock areas. Or, as mentioned, rotating the coop in place, for the same effect, and then move it once all the adjacent area has been run through.

If your land works well for this, you might be only moving the coop every 4-6 weeks, or even less! In that case, perhaps 2 people with a rope on the front and a moving dolly under the back would be sufficient.

I agree that bike wheels are likely to be a pain, and if you must have permanently wheels the pneumatic tires are the way to go. However, I disliked permanently attached wheels myself because:

1) What sort of predators are you dealing with? In my experience, a very small gap under the edge of chicken tractors was, when combined with uneven ground, still too much; we needed to put a 'skirt' of wire sticking out ~6 inches from the base, which we then placed boards/branches on top of. Otherwise, even if we attempted to block any gaps with wood, racoons could reach underneath and pull a chicken out through an implausibly small gap; or occasionally fail but fatally injure it while trying to do so.

2) How flat is your land? When building chicken/turkey tractors with wheels at one end, in practice the pasture was rough enough that most of the time the frame was touching the ground, and it was a fair bit of work to move the tractor.

The solution seemed to be a mechanism to raise/lower the wheels... or, what we actually did, a moving dolly, with the rear of the pen made to hold it in the raised position without a human... in theory, on flat enough ground.


I've considered attaching split poly pipe to the bottom of the long sides of the next such thing I build, curved up at the front, like runners on a sled. Not sure how well it would work in practice. I'm pretty skeptical of the furniture sliders working for long.

If you do choose to forgo shingles, I think that even cheap paint carefully applied would greatly extend the life of that roof plywood.
 
Thomas Partridge
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I don't think it is as much an issue of the tires, as it is an issue of the softness of the ground versus the weight of the structure. How hard is the ground under them? Maybe it is just that spot but it looks kind of of soft/loose. For something of that weight, you are probably going to want wheels on both ends and wide ones at that. You can do it of course, but you are going to want to invest in a good set of wheels and axles for it.
 
chad Christopher
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Wheel barrow tires, just a small clamp and tire. With some folding/adjustable feet. About 70 bucks total, for never flats, or air.
If you want the coop to sit flat...
The wheels sit like this, http://cdn.backyardchickens.com/7/7a/7a2c33e7_109143_coop11.jpeg

And switch lever to move the coop like this, http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=chicken+tractor+wheels&FORM=HDRSC2&PC=SMSM#view=detail&id=ED805D0B1ED834231303A035D3E8872C94C53081&selectedIndex=0

Here's the thread: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/608390/best-wheels-for-chicken-tractor-where-to-look

And this is the mechanics...
http://www.avianaquamiser.com/posts/Wheel_lift_for_a_chicken_tractor/

Or this one, tractor chicken wheels

edited by moderator to shorten link
 
Dillon Nichols
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Chad's links look like a pretty ideal wheel setup to me, would really advise doing something like that if you want permanently attached wheels!
 
John Master
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Found pneumatic tires at tractor supply for $17 each, four would make it roll so well you would need to chock the tire if it was on a hill...or find old bicycles and get two pair of tires and bolt them to the four corners.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Many wheelbarrow tires are mounted on a flat wooden surface with pillow bearing to either side. Two would be sufficient. Three would be better. The single tire could be made steerable.
 
Adam Hoar
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My first moveable chicken coup I mad use wheel barrow tire and some handles on the back side, I could move it. My wife could not, design fail number 1.

The second coup I built was for a lot more chickens right around 50. This one I designed to drag, with the use of my vehicle becuase I didnt have a trailer laying around. I put a couple of wheels on it as well but the "axle" immediately bent when I went to drag it the first time.

For your coop I would try to mount it on a couple of wooden skids and use some sort of vehicle to drag it around. Maybe look around for a small garden trailer to put it on in the future to make it easier to drag around.
 
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