I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
- infecting brains with permaculture
- convincing folks that you are not crazy
- gift giving obligations
- stocking stuffer
- gambling distraction
- an hour or two of reading
- find the needle
- find the 26 hidden names

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Finally, a mobile chicken coop one person can (easily) move.  RSS feed

 
Justin Rhodes
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Having a flock of 2-4 dozen chickens (depending on the season) on my small family homestead has been crucial.

Moving my chickens on a regular basis has been a must.

However, Chicken tractors aren't big enough, Pastured Poultry Pen's are too heavy (and limiting) and I don't want to involve a machine to move something as large as an "eggmobile".

Not hacking on those chicken coops, just saying, I needed something that I could move a fair amount of chickens by myself (without machines).

Over the winter I sat down and came up with some rough plans for a DIY "ChickShaw".

The rickshaw concept is brilliant and the homestead chicken housing options were ripe for change.

Paul posted a great article about getting Chickens out of the Coop and Run and into a mobile Paddock System here.

I think my ChickShaw would be great for that system.

I mean... the large wheels and light weight allow you to move over all kinds of crazy terrain and travel reasonable distances (if you want to).

I posted Step by Step instructions (with photos) HERE.

Plus, I'm even offering downloadable/printable plans for FREE in the above article.

I'm also open for suggestions. I'd like this to be an "open source" type of thing. If you see any errors or have any (reasonable) suggestions send them my way:

justin rhodes - justin@abundantpermaculture.com


 
Bill Erickson
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Location: Northwest Montana from Zone 3a to 4b (multiple properties)
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I've downloaded this very easily from your email link to your site. Very nice setup.

The only improvement that struck me was to lengthen the axle bolt so it goes to your outside guards, pipe clamping both ends. This gives you two points of support rather than just the bolt and clamp on the one side. I've seen more than a couple of that type of axle arrangement fail over time and use. Interested to see how yours holds up over the season.
 
Justin Rhodes
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Hey Bill,

Thanks for the suggestion. Actually, it does go through to the other side. I can see how that's not clear in the description and picture. I'll see if I can clear it up a bit and add a picture where you can see that's it's attached on both sides of each wheel.

Thanks!
 
Bill Erickson
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Location: Northwest Montana from Zone 3a to 4b (multiple properties)
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Excellent. I am happy.
 
Lorenzo Costa
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Location: Italy, Siena, Gaiole in Chianti zone 9
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Great to see your ideas in action. Have you ever had problems with predators that manage to pull out the nest boxes? I saw they don't have something that stops them from being pulled out. Thought maybe a small hatch could be ok. I've seen predators manage to unbolt doors.
 
matt hogan
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Location: Tennesse, an hour west of Nashville, zone 7
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This looks great. And timely, as I need to build a mobile coop for the chicks we just bought.

Any idea on what this cost you to build? And if you have an estimate, was that with cedar or something else?
 
john mcginnis
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How does this design balance out? Visually it would look like the wheels would favor being a little more forward but hard to tell.

Nice design though.
 
john mcginnis
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matt hogan wrote:This looks great. And timely, as I need to build a mobile coop for the chicks we just bought.

Any idea on what this cost you to build? And if you have an estimate, was that with cedar or something else?


Look on CraigsList. At least in my area there are people wanting cedar posts and horizontals from fencing taken down all the time. Some not more than a year or so old. Can't be the price.
 
J Hampshire
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Justin (GREAT first name by the way) - Not sure if you have already, but I would seriously considering posting this piece of genius on FarmHack.org if I were you.
 
Bernard Welm
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Location: Minnesota
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Really neat idea. I may have to make one with some modifications for the materials I have on hand.

One thing I am wondering do you think it would work to make the bottom 2 boards 2"x4"x12’ and use them as the handles as well? I guess it would raise the front of the coop a bit more as you are moving it but it could make for an easier and more sturdy build.
 
Dawn Hoff
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Location: Andalucía, Spain
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Great idea! I was thinking of building something like it - but for more chickens and have a donkey pull it (it live on a mountain). I'm thinking I can find an old donkey carridge and put a house on top... Or something ;-)
 
Jessica Hill
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Location: Schoharie County, NY
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This is marvelous. Simple, well designed, the attention to the details - wonderful. I heartily applaud your work!

The questions that I have are these
- How long have you been using the Chicksaw?
- Any predation problems?
- Any advice for adapting it to a zone 5b Central NY winter? My first instict is to just store it away until the green grows again.

Again - Bravo! (and THANK YOU!)
~Jess
 
Lorenzo Costa
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Justin Rhodes launched a contest
the first person to build this chicken coop will win ..... read to know and ready steady go....
 
Therin Bradshaw
Posts: 5
Location: Central Illinois zone5b
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I cannot say how happy I am with my Chicksaw I built using the free plans Justin Rhodes created! I do have to agree with Justin's first post that this chicken coop design is a great way to practice the paddock shift system Paul Wheaton describes in his Chicken Article.

Attached is a picture of my Chicksaw. So the story behind it...

After buying all of the materials (well most of them) almost entirely from hardware/lumber stores the cost for me was close to $300. I did cut some corners and worked with materials I had on hand/available for me for free. However, I was pressed for time and was willing to pay the extra buck for convenience rather than going out of my way to find cheap materials. In my opinion, it is definitely possible to find cheap/free lumber, paneling and even hardware. Where the majority of the cost came from was the wheels (almost half the cost), then the lumber and hardware combined was the other half.

So after I had my materials laid out, it took me two full (8hr) days to build. I am not an expert carpenter, but with Justin's step by step instructions it was very easy!

Now for my Chicksaw specifically....
I have 16 chickens. My first concern was "is this coop big enough?" the answer is YES! when all of the chickens are in for the night they take up less than half of the space in the coop. Next I was concerned that three nest boxes weren't enough so I put four nest boxes in mine. Turns out my hens only use 2 or 3 of the boxes so again... I should have just trusted Justin haha.

Next, the reasoning why my roof is metal is I had metal sheeting on hand. The same reason why I used wooden boards to enclose the back half on the coop, because it was on hand. Now, I live in the 5b grow zone so I added removable panels for the sides and the front that I plan on taking off when the weather gets warmer but during the winter it is very helpful to get the chickens out of the wind (I also live in the corn desert of the Midwest so wind never stops... and no Paul Wheaton fans I cannot build a berm!!). I do have a heat lamp and water heater available for the chickens... do they NEED the heaters, probably not, but I sleep easier knowing they are warm.

As for the weight of the Chicksaw, it is surprisingly easy to move around! Even with my bulky wood board paneling! It is a blessing and a curse but I live on very flat land so there is no where that me and my Chicksaw cant go. I can't imagine how light the whole coop would be if I followed Justin's plans and used the suggested paneling, just pure Genius!

For the questions from other readers on Justin's post:

Predation Problems- I have not had any yet (knock on wood). I followed Justin's suggestion on getting portable electric fence which does a great job at teaching my dog to stay away from the chickens haha. As for the coop itself, if your chickens are closed up for the night I can't imagine anything (foxes, raccoons, coyotes, etc.) being able to harm them. What I am worried about are hawks. I would like to think that the chickens could find refuge underneath the coop or in the coop but all I can do is hope that I am right.

5b zone- I went ahead and placed removable panels for the winter months to hold in the heat and I am fairly confident that it was sufficient. Also I put straw bales around the bottom also hoping to block the wind from entering the coop.

Donkey- Justin's coop is so light he really means it when he says it is easy for one person to move around... I don't live in the mountains but I still think it could work

Balance- It is designed to be front heavy so that when it is resting it stays resting! I could imagine it getting tipped over by wind or if hens are laying eggs that just their weight could tip it. So again, trust Justin, he knows what he is talking about.

Nesting boxes- I personally decided to add a hatch door that can be latched shut and it works great for me! I would have to agree with Bill Erickson, if there was anything I would change about Justin's plans it would be to add a door to access the milk crates.

I would like to conclude that when I have any questions on chickens I go straight to Justin's articles and videos. I think they are great and would encourage him to keep pumping more material out!! Thanks Permies!!

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Tim Southwell
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Location: Hamilton, MT
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Nice design... with that undulating terrain your design hits the spot. We are on flatter ground, which allows for a larger, heavier coop to be one-man handled.

Check it out:



 
Chadwick Holmes
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Location: Volant, PA
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Oh, Mr Brown was so small! He's a gem!
 
steve bossie
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Location: Northern Maine (zone 3b-4a)
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i made a mobile coop 10'by12'. its bottomless so i move it around on the lawn once the chickens have trimmed and fertilized the grass. their water and food dishes are screwed to the frame so when i move the pen, their food and water goes too. i put 4 small rollers on in the back so its easier to move but low enough they can't get out. the back section has a pitched roof covered w/ a tarp for protection. and a roost is set underneath. these are just seasonal meat chickens so they don't need nest boxes. raised 6 turkeys in it last year. only drawback is they like to dust bathe on my lawn so i have to patch holes occasionally. i move it to new pasture every 3 days or so. no problems with predators yet. sometimes i let them out to forage the yard but they go back to roost a night. i just close their door.
 
Rachel Gooker
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I'm about to build one of these! I love the concept. Just what I was looking for! No tractor required. Up to 36 bird capacity. Baby-in-Ergo compatible. I have a few points on which I'd value input from anyone here so inclined...
The 26" wheels (rated for 300lbs) are back-ordered, will the 24" ones (rated for 250lbs) work? I bought cedar lumber directly from a sawmill, so it's almost true to dimension and heavy.
This is designed to be used with electric poultry netting paddocks, right? So could I use chicken wire instead of hardware cloth? I wouldn't try to cut that corner except that someone gave me chicken wire and I'd have to buy hardware cloth. This thing is going to cost me $500 if I'm not careful. I'm also not an early riser. I've tried. I'm just not. So I'm hoping not to have to close them in every night bc. then I would have to get up early to let them out.
I've got four bourbon red turkeys I'm growing out for Thanksgiving... I'm hoping they will be comfortable sharing this with the chickens.
Why the white roofing stuff instead of tin? Is it lighter weight?
I do not want to have to buy a hole saw just at the moment, so I'm going to experiment with some other ways to attach the pipe handle. Maybe pipe straps. Maybe using a scroll saw to cut a hook into the 2x4s...
I want ducks somewhere down the road too, so I'm thinking about how the rickshaw design might be adapted to their needs too.
 
Rachel Gooker
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I'm almost done building my chickshaw now. WARNING!: The cut list is full of errors! I had originally planned to rewrite it for you but the quantities of lumber to buy aren't even right and it just got really complicated... And then I remembered reading Pastured Poultry Profits and Salatin refusing to create plans for his broiler tractors. He's a wise dude. It would really be better in a lot of ways if I had just figured out the cut list and supplies list myself. The pictures are very helpful though. And I'm still very excited about the design concept.

Cost does seem to be a problem with it though. I've cut some corners (in a good way, I hope) and am still somewhere between $400 and $500 for this project. Plus $400+ for the Electric poultry net fence. Ufdah! I'm afraid it will be a long time before my "dinos" can recoup that.
A few ideas I've had along the way so far...
You could save a whole sheet of roofing if you reduced the side to side overhang of the roof and/or made the body of the coop even 2" narrower. You only need 18" of one of the sheets, so buy a 10' instead of one of the 8's and save yourself another $10. I'm SSSOOO glad I discovered this roofing stuff btw. Wish I had known about it when I built my broiler pens. I'm going to cover my roof with a $5 tarp and see how that goes though bc. it was getting too expensive.
I used the 1x1 fencing on the sides too and saved myself some $ on hardware cloth.
When I went to attach the wheel wells I realized the whole business would have fewer stress points if the bottom 2x4 on the back of the coop extended into the wheel well/took the place of the back-most 2"x4"x6" bit. Would save you buying two brackets too.
It's definitely worth hunting for the narrower screws! I did not have to drill pilot holes, which saved me a lot of time.
I bought my milk crates, mostly bc. I hate asking for stuff from people I don't know. "Farmplast" was a good place to get them. If you get them at target or something they are not "farm grade." very flimsy.
 
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Permaculture Playing Cards by Paul Wheaton and Alexander Ojeda
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