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Chicken Coop/Tractor/Paddock/runs Picture Round up!!

Posts: 114
Location: Ontario Canada, Zone 5b
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Okay, so I am in the process of setting up chickens for myself, and I am sure there are many people like me, or there are chicken veterens who are just looking for new ideas but don't want to sift through SEVEN awesome pages of chicken so I thought I would do a round up from this thread.

I hope all the original posters are okay with it - if not I can remove your pics of course. I credited everyone so no info is lost. If any are missing, I may have not seen them or it's because the "quote" function didn't carry over the picture.

Please feel free to add your coop/runs/paddocks/tractor pictures here - maybe this could just be a photo's thread - and the other thread could be a mix of photo's AND awesome info and discussion. Just an idea!

Also - there's another thread here that has pictures of winter coops!

Anyway, here we go! Enjoy!

Leah Sattler wrote:right now. I have four hens in a 5x10 dog run. it is a pain to move but I had to have something with a top because the laying hens were flying out and the wild chickens were flying in. I don't want to clip their wings so they at least have a chance at escape from a predator (like my dogs )as they do escape sometimes. I prefer the healthier eggs I felt I got when they free ranged and the greatly reduced feed bill! but I feel I have made the best of it for now.

here are some pics. as a stay at home mom on a very limited budget I only get to do this "homesteading thing" if I can do it on a shoestring.....like many other people. the dog run was aquired in trade for a stock tank. the gates that serve as a top were picked up off freecycle. the house is an old wheel barrow on 2x12's from an old waterbed with old sawed off broomsticks for perches inside. the laying box is a flower pot that I can't remember how I got or how long I've had it!

Bill Kearns wrote:Hi Paul,

Attached is a pic of my old immobile, fully enclosed chicken run. As you can see, there is no vegetation inside the run, but plenty outside! The coop was made with a handsaw and hammer. The run is fully enclosed, complete with makeshift rain fly over the chicken wire roof and the "walls" are buried about 18", with the chicken wire rolled around metal "T" posts then placed in the trench. Each section of chicken wire was "stitched" together at the seam with monel wire. It was a labor of love!

Only had one casualty in the 2+ years I was there, most likely involving a weasel. Did have a hawk come down and perch in the tree limbs immediately behind the run one day. There were lots of raccoons and coyotes in the area, so the fortress seemed to work ok. This was during a period I lived near Carnation (I'm in e. WA now and won't have any chooks till next spring).

Don't know if it fits the bill, but feel free to use it (or not) as you deem fit.

Great work on your article!!!

Bill (9anda1f)

Irene Kightley wrote:Totally agree Mr Hobbit !

One of the things I like to see is chickens running free in the house and garden and the old folk here do just that - they fence the garden and let the chicks run free and they almost feed themselves and they seem to thrive doing what chickens do. I hate to see them confined in small runs although it's much better that caging them. The chooks also keep down the mice, rat and snake population and throwing them leftovers from the kitchen door is so convenient and fun - especially spaghetti !

I know people think my ways are a bit strange but I use our chickens to help me in the garden and only fence off or cover the veg they eat such as lettuce, the cabbage family etc.

I protect the areas where they'll make dust baths if I don't want them to with sticks and I cover newly planted seedlings with grids or something similar to let the light in.

I have two or three cages - one made from an old tent frame and another from a hoop and the third which is just made from wooden posts with chicken wire round it. In there I grow all my self-seeders and very special plants which I daren't let the chickens get.

You need to have a big garden to be able to get away with this but I've 60 or so chickens and the garden flourishes despite that crowd.

I've made a set in flickr to show people how the chickens and the garden can be managed together. Think about it as an option.


paul wheaton wrote:Chris Wolf of Inspiration Farm in Bellingham, Washington tells us about a chicken paddock that is past due to be moved.  So we move it a little just to see if the chickens care.  And they do!  they jump on the dandelions.


milkwood. kirsten wrote:Hey folks, thought you might like to see and possibly have feedback on our new chicken house design:

RawBale Chicken House

seems like a good thing so far... best, k

aso26 Hatfield wrote:Here is my new paddock shift, feather net, open bottom, manure containment, egg mobile. It took two weekends of constant bickering, but the husband and I got 'er done-almost.

My requirements after much reading and head scratching:

portable (in this case movable with my tractor)

not ugly- my neighbors are not farmers and I wanted this thing to be nice looking and fit in with my garden.

inexpensive -well this turned out to be not a true as I hoped. But lots is scrounged and nothing terribly costly-the hardware cloth was by far the most money.

Totally predator proof - This is what took so long. I know of people in my area that have lost a whole flock to some weasel species that got in through the chicken wire holes. This meant no opening bigger than .5 inches ugh!

Chickens COULD be confined 24hrs - Although the plan, in general, was to let them out in the day to range, I wanted a coop that COULD contain them happily on grass without opening the door for at least a day.

Manure containment System- I didn't want to give all the manure to the grass-I wanted at least some for myself. So I added a "shelf" under the roosting area to collect all that nice poop and give them bedding to play in.

So here she is:

Jack Shawburn wrote:Found an interesting take on Chickens rotated in an enclosed garden.
By Aussie Chris Francis.

Mike Guillory wrote:Heres a few pics of my chicken tractor and chicken house.  I have bantams in the chicken tractor and they seem to love it in there.  I am getting more eggs from them since I moved them to the tractor.  It is a 4X10 ft tractor.  The other pic is of my chicken house.  It is designed to allow for rotation of the chickens between different areas. 

Yone' Ward wrote:I'm responsible for coming up with this Chicken Tractor.

It was 100% successful at keeping predators out even though my sisters chickens were nearly wiped out. The trouble is, I had trouble moving it without breaking something because it was so heavy. We are moving to a rotating chicken run option with irrigation this spring. I am raising Jersey Black giants and plan to selectively breed the ones that do best in the cold weather.

Cj Verde wrote:So my mobile coop is finally done! It's roughly based on the one from Geoff Lawton's Surviving the Crisis video but a bit smaller. That one was 6x4 and fit 35 chickens. This one is 6x3 so it would fit through the gates in my paddocks.

I did it with grid beam but mostly just drilled the ends. Lock nuts were a must but not until the design was ironed out!
Here's the frame (the cart is temporary support):

and finished:

and the cherry nesting box (left over from flooring):

Now I just have to wait for the grass to grow!
I'm going to make a 2nd one on old skis instead of wheels. Vermont - 8 month of winter & 4 months of poor sledding.

Clifford Reinke wrote:I've been using a chicken paddock system with a fixed coop for about two years now. As you can see I do not have a problem with the grass and other vegetation keeping up.

Before I went to this, I used two chicken tractors and moved them every day. I did this for a year until one night, weasels killed both flocks. Then I built this coop, in another location, and had a large/long permanent fence around it. Of course the chickens killed every piece of vegetation in it.

Then I read Paul's treaty on the paddock system. So, I drug the coop to a better suited location, the orchard area (slowly turning into a food forest). I bought a 164' electric poultry net and a solar powered charger. I also put the coop up on stilts, and installed a trap door in the bottom of the coop. This gives the chickens a covered area for dusting and a place to hide from when the eagles fly overhead. The coop will keep everything but a bear out. It was based on a 1900 open air design, so the entire front is just hardware cloth for windows. The windows on the other side are old salvaged glass plate windows mostly for looks.

I move the electric fence around once a week or so and it takes all of 20 minutes. In the picture above you can see the chickens on my kitchen compost pile. It is on a slope and the chickens love it when the paddock moves over the compost pile. They do all the turning for me, and I just harvest it when it is finished at the bottom of the hill.

Here are a few more pics of the system:

Cj Verde wrote:

Clifford Reinke wrote:I've been using a chicken paddock system with a fixed coop for about two years now. As you can see I do not have a problem with the grass and other vegetation keeping up.

I wonder if that system will work in an area with a shorter growing season?

I have 2 coops, 1 is strong enough to keep out a bear. A bear & cub tried to get in but failed. Don't keep your chicken food in a coop that can't keep out a bear!

Half of my chickens opted to brave the Vermont winter without a coop:

I built the mobile coop to contain those free range chickens and to follow the cows & sheep in a paddock shift setup.

Cj Verde wrote:It's working fairly well ATM:

I move it the length of the coop every morning so another area gets fertilized.
I'm getting eggs in the nesting box though some wind up in the coop.

This is a very new paddock (formerly woods) but even the established paddocks don't have much grass yet. My husband suggested I rake up the leaves and wood chips but I told him "no, that's the chickens' job." He asked if I was trying to be as lazy as Paul Wheaton and I told him, yes! He has finally listened to a few podcasts so we're a bit more on the same page.

Cj Verde wrote:Here's my new coop on skis.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/74339555@N02/8930925693/" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3762/8930925693_ee2e22be53_z.jpg" ></a>
I put the turkey in 1 day before her eggs hatched! She was not happy to be cooped up at all but 3 eggs hatched plus 1 a week later I had incubated. This was necessary because a raven had killed half the chicks last year and the other half wandered away through the fencing and disappeared. Plus, I'm off grid so it's much more efficient to let the turkey be the heat lamp.

Here you can see 2 of the poults.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/74339555@N02/8930939727/" rel="nofollow"><img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2891/8930939727_db1e35be53_z.jpg" ></a>

The coop slides along pretty good on the skis. I have to be careful not to run over the poults but they let me know if I've screwed up! The biggest drag is that as I push the coop forward it's hard to avoid stepping in poop!

Tom DeCoste wrote:I've got the plans for 4 and material list for 3 of these coops. http://seaberry-hippophaerhamnoides.blogspot.com/2015/03/sustainable-living-chickens.html
Photos -
Moveable Coop

Nice one with shade underneath

Barn looking one with good ventilation


Posts: 21
Location: NE Missouri
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I have not been a member of this forum long, but have had chickens a long time. Here are a couple of my PVC chicken tractors:

Posts: 11
Location: Canada
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Here's my coop.  It is mobile with an atv.  We've moved it to many locations but I find it doesn't need to be mobile as the chickens free range all day in the backyard.  We did put the wire mesh on all sides of the outer coop including the floor to keep predators out.
Posts: 2159
Location: Massachusetts, 5a, flat 4 acres; 40" year-round fairly even
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Thanks so much for collating these!

Any of these designs blow over in a big storm?  
Posts: 1496
Location: Central Maine (Zone 5a)
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Since Joshua was so kind to resurrect this post :), I thought I would share my pic. It is based on the Eliot Coleman Chickshaw with a home made wheelbarrow waterer and some electric fencing.
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:Any of these designs blow over in a big storm?  

I took a look and the wrong wind from the wrong direction could quite possibly topple every one - or at least shift them.  
We have two sizes of portable hoop houses for our chickens - 10'x12' by 7' high for Hubby's egg business, and 4'x8' by 4' high "mini-hoops" for broody chickens, ducks, rehab use etc. These are all bottom-less. The big ones have wheels in the corners. The big ones have bars that can be clipped to a bracket and giant 10" nails that we hammer through holes in the bars. We always have two bars on the "following" edge, but if there's a wind-storm forecast, we stake all four corners and sometimes add extra water buckets on the inside to block movement of the shelter, and pipes on the outside to block the wheels.

That said, we've learned from experience where the "high danger zones" are. Shelters that happen to be in those zones will get more attention than ones in more sheltered locations. All of the above shelters could be located on my land and be totally safe from the worst Mother Nature has thrown at us YET. With weather weirding, I feel we're going to have to up our gain. Many of the safer zones from wind, are at risk of a branch falling, or a whole tree, so having back-up housing/emergency housing is becoming more and more essential rather than optional.
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Location: Saegertown, PA, USA (zone 5b)
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Here’s my Polyface Designs “Harepen” chicken tractor…

And here’s my modified chickshaw that uses a sulky as an undercarriage.  I used Justin Rhodes’ free plans and put it on a sulky that I purchased at a local auction for $5.  Yes, $5!  

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