Friday, 10 June 2016

Our Mobile Chicken Coop

Our coop, this morning.
My apologies for the shadow to the upper right corner of all my rubbish photos lately--I simply can't haul a camera around with me during the day so I snap the occasional picture with my phone and call it good enough. Now that I have a new phone I bought an actual case for it and of course it covers half the camera lens. And I have neither the time nor the inclination to haul the case off every time I manage to have a) the phone with me and b) hands clean enough to take a picture. I feel like the difficulty with pictures on the blog is part of why I considered letting the whole thing I'm trying to come up with a system where I can do better at this without adding more steps and work to my already overwhelming days.

But I digress! We got our chickens a couple weeks ago. 35 are meat birds that my mom kept in a brooder at the farm for us until they had feathers. Another 10-15 are a variety of breeds that hatched in my mom's incubator and are meant to be kept as layers (we will see how many roosters we end up with). Most likely the layers will return to the farm once fully grown and be added to my moms existing flock.

I only took the time to snap one photo this morning and it is hard to see but my dad built me this coop with the intention that it could be dragged onto fresh grass every few days. To the right of the main run you can see how the grass was eaten down to bare earth. The chickens were delighted and rushed around clucking and pecking when we moved the coop, and I felt good to allow them the most natural setting I can for their fairly short time on earth.

The coop is insulated with insulation that was leftover from when our garage was built, and also used up some vapor barrier that was laying around from various projects at the farm. The window was one that did not get used in my brother's shop, and the tin roof was also scrap. My dad would weld all day if he had the time, so it was his satisfaction to build the coop with attached, wired in run, on pipe so that it would slide along when pulled and also be quite predator proof. There are an additional 5 panels (not roofed in) that can be added as an extra grazing/foraging area for the birds.

The coop is wired for power--all I need to do is run an extension cord to it and it would have a working light and outlet. I won't have my own layers this winter so I won't need to worry about that, but the prospect is there should I ever need it.

If I could change one thing, okay three things, it is that the doorways into the mobile panels, the attached runway and the coop itself are all too narrow for a wheel barrow. This means if I keep the coop stationary for a winter with hens I would have to carry my forkfuls of bedding both in and out rather than just throwing it straight out the door into a wheel barrow. Really, not that big of a deal considering the coop was built mostly from materials on hand at the farm (although I think they bought the wire and chip board used).

As of now I am unsure whether we will process the meat birds ourselves right here or take them to the Hutterite colony as my mom has done in the past. It's not a job I look forward to but it is one that I want to learn and feel that my kids should also learn (when they are a bit older). Right now it feels like there hasn't been a minute's rest around here so I am leaning towards hiring this one job out. But we will see if that has changed by fall when they are fat and ready for butchering :)

The kids and I painted the coop red last year :)

Any interesting projects taking place in your neck o' the woods?


  1. This is very interesting! Hope you are all doing well!

    1. Thanks Pru! We are very tired, but doing well :) the kids got sick then I managed to catch it but we are "back to awesome" as my 6 year old likes to say ;)