Lightweight portable chicken coop : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I read Salatin's chicken book. I like the egg-mobile thing he has there, but would like to find a way to do it without needing a tractor to pull it around. It seems I should be able to make a sled type of thing out of that aluminum tubing stuff that houses wires in homes.

Anybody done anything like this?

-- Paul Wheaton (, January 28, 2001


I currently have a book from the library called "Farmers's & Housekeeper's Cyclopedia 1888". It is a reprint BTW. I was surprised to find in it a movable poultry house. It was said to be designed from those used in England. How about that, chicken tractors before steam tractors were even common?

I've not seen aluminum electrical conduit, but it should work. The typical steel variety might rust out pretty fast from the manure exposure. Depending upon where you are at, would a lightweight coop blow over? In Kansas, I'd want at least a fair amount of weight to keep it in place. Good luck.

-- Notforprint (, January 28, 2001.

We have some wind sometimes, but we're in a forested valley, so not too much wind. I would rather stake the portable coop down at each site than have to fire up the tractor to move it.

-- Paul Wheaton (, January 28, 2001.

A lady I know made a portable chicken pen out of PVC pipe. She made a large rectangle for the base with T joints spaced along the sides. She used the T joints to arch more pipe from one side to the other to form top. She then covered this with chicken wire.

Hmmm.....not sure I explained that well enough. Can you picture it?

-- Mona in OK (, January 28, 2001.

We made portable chicken coops with 2x4's and chicken wire. We put in two tree limbs (about 1 inch diameter) inside for perches. We did it the simple way..using 8 foot 2x4 to make it simple for measuring. We had some sides from a greenhouse and use that on top (attached with hinges) for shading but letting in enough light for sun.

however, my husband liked the idea of using pvc...he had a question, tho. How big around was the pvc pipe? and what was used to attach the chicken wire? And how large was the coop?

-- Cher Rovang (, January 28, 2001.

We also have a pvc chicken tractor. Use cable ties to attach the chicken wire.The pvc pipe is 1 1/2" thick wall. It sags a little across the top, so DH added center supports, but that makes it harder to move because the chickens don't want to move out of the way and can get legs caught under the supports. I'd just let the top sag and have more ease in moving. I can drag the tractor by myself, but two people can move it easily on level ground. Word of warning, when the pullets were very small, racoons could reach in and pull the babies through, or at least get them close enough to the wire to eat them. Lost 5 that way. Dimensions are 8'x12'x18" tall.

-- melina b. (, January 28, 2001.

My portable chicken coop is a converted 2x4 bunkbed that was too wobbly to use for my children. It is lightweight enough that two of us grab an end and move it around the yard.

-- Laura (, January 28, 2001.

Scroll down for the pictures:

-- ~Rogo (, January 29, 2001.

Has anyone thought to make a slot going completly around the bottom of the portable coop? Through this slot you could put boards to make a temporary floor for when you move the coop, & the boards can make a shade from the sun when not used for the floor. Without the boards the slot could be covered with a different board (like a cabinet door). The purpose of the temporary floor for moving the coop is to keep the poultry from getting cought under the edge of the pen (ie. injuring their legs). You also don't have to move the coop slowly waiting for the poultry to walk with it.

Has anyone thought of doing this?


-- animalfarms (, January 31, 2001.

Somebody on another forum suggested going to the day-range system rather than the chicken tractors -- centrally locate a hoop house or whatever you are going to use for night-time and winter shelter, and rotate paddocks around it with portable electric net fencing. This helps with the predator problems, too. And the paddocks can also have other animals in them, like run some calves or sheep or dairy goats two or three days ahead of the hens, to get the benefit of the poultry scratching up and spreading the manure, and eating the fly and worm larvae. I think we are going to go this route, using the chicken tractor for a few hens on the garden beds to help till them and eat the weeds.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, February 01, 2001.

We use portable chicken coops -- chicken tractors as Salatin and Andy Lee call them -- to raise broilers, turkeys, geese and ducks. Ours are six feet wide and nine feet long. They are made of 1 by 2 pine pieces sandwiching 1 inch chicken wire. They are built in a form (blocks of wood screwed into a floor you don't care about) so the pieces can be mass produced and then the tractors are screwed together, or apart for storage. One end piece is on hinges with a gate. Hooks hold chicken waterers or feeders so they hang off the ground. The top is made up of the same pieces as the sides. The cover is a tarp stretched over small diameter PVC pipe bent over the top, conestoga wagon style. I built a small lightweight gizmo that is basically a board with some wheels to move the thing. You lift up on the end, kick the gizmo under it, go to the other end, say, move on chickens, and just push. We generally have two to four of these things moving up and down our pastures for a few weeks every summer. We try to move them twice daily so the poultry get new forage. They look spiffy and work well. There are probably a few innovations that could improve things. I don't pretend to have all the answers. If you're having trouble visualizing this, I can try to send you a digital picture.

-- Joe Rankin (, February 02, 2001.

I have had chicken tractors that rested on the ground, with no floor. These were difficult for me to move and I just found myself disliking the energy it took to deal with them.

My favorite portable pen is the first one I built. The interior is roughly 4 feet X 6 feet. It has a floor because it is off the ground 12 inches on 4 wheels (the kind that you mount individually, no axles involved). The roof slopes. On the lower end is an old wooden window that opens on right mounted hinges like a door for cleaning, filling the feeder, etc. On the high end are mounted the nest boxes that protrude from the building with a hinged lid to allow easy standing access to the eggs by humans. I have three panels made from pallets covered with chicken wire that I use to make their enclosed run. I can move these one at a time, or shift them while still connected depending on the distance of the move. There is a wire barrier on the run side on the bootom to keep the chickens from escaping by going under the house. I use cheap deer netting for a cover over the pen.

This contraption is easily moved by one person. I usually move it in the morning while the girls are still inside. Sometimes move it more than once a day. We have real winters here that include deep snow and cold. This arrangement with deep pine shavings keeps my girls comfortable and warm. I keep 8 birds in there now.

Being able to move this pen allows me to tuck it away in the shade when I want, turn it so the window faces the winter sun, move it out from underfoot, bring it close to the house when needed by me (like when I broke my leg). It has lasted about 5 years. I paint it as needed. Replace the tree perch inside now and again. I have never had a mouse or rat problem with this set-up. No predator has gotten into this house either. I close the chicken door at night.

We are only two people and until last year I had about 50 chickens. I realized I was paying for all that feed to basically give away eggs to clients--I wasn't interested in marketing/selling them. That's when I got rid of my stationary coop, which was also off the ground. I found it hard to keep the runs growing grass and not mud, and caring for the birds was losing its thrill. This little coop serves us perfectly and I still have eggs for my family and friends.

Hope all this helps you.

-- Anne (, February 03, 2001.

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