I'm really pleased with my lately creation.
I set myself a design brief on a good movable chicken coop, that's easy to construct and costs under £120 if you buy everything.
I'd been seeing a lot of chicken tractors in the states (on Justin Rhoydes YouTube channel) and I've always like the idea of having movable chicken tractors. The trouble is I end up leaving a pen in one place too long otherwise.
One pen really caught my eye and that was one moved by a sack truck, why I'd never thought of moving them in this way before was beyond me. Suddenly I could move a much bigger coop easily and make it so it could fit a reasonable amount of birds in (the video that inspired me is here)
The trouble is they built it out of cattle panels, which are really popular in the states but not over here.
That got me thinking about what we could use as an alternative, it was only when a friend came round and he suggested Heras panels, that the solution had been right in front of me the whole time (and was evening forming the pen for the chickens at the time!).
Also they're cheap, strong(ish) and readily available.
So I set about making the rest of the pen in the easiest way possible.
Here are some key points:-
- Easily houses ten birds.
- The roof is just a tarp (nowhere for red mites to hide) also easy and cheap to replace.
- Wheels on the back make it easy to move.
- Small access door on the front means you can get in if you need to.
- Food suspended with a spring feeder so no wasted food or grain left out overnight.
- Anti predator netting as a skirt around the outside so no need to shut the chickens in at night.
- no floor to the coop means no cleaning out and pastures are improved as it's moved along.
- Nest boxes easy to construct as they're made from builders buckets.
- Perches are just cable tied to the heras, making adjustment easy if you need to.
- Chickens are moved each day so the risk of picking up parasites is minimal, food consumption is reduced and pasture is improved.
- Nest boxes are easily accessible from the back - my children now collect the eggs each day.
I've been using this coop for over a month now and it's been great. You can see where it's been over that time and see the grass coming back at different rates, it's great that the hens are moved from their dropping each day.
Moving it is easy (although I need to improve how it turns), so much so I've made up three of these coops, two for laying hens and a third for meat birds.
Watch the video above to see it in action and let me know what you think.
I'll draw up some plans and share them for free on here as well at a later date (when I get time) as well as doing a video on how I made it if people are interested.