What a busy week this has been! What with gardens being put in, chicken tractors being built and of course the daily chores that just come with being alive. This past Tuesday I started building a mobile chicken coop that is referred to as a chicken tractor. With some lumber that I got for a really good deal at a fabulous estate sale I got building. I based the structure off of the model that Joel Salatin -a farmer from Virginia- uses. The idea is that it be light-weight and easily portable while also containing the chickens, protecting them from the elements and keeping the pesty little predators out. Mr. Salatin makes his to be 10’x12′ but since I did not have boards long enough for that size and I wanted to stick with what I had so I made mine to be 8’x8′ square. Because I am a visual learner and I have never made one of these before now I started by laying out four 1-1/2″ x 8′ boards in a square.
I then attached three 2″x4″x2′ boards onto the far and near side boards, screwing another 1-1/2″ x8′ board to the top of those, for the other two sides I put only one 2x4x2 in the middle. After I attached the support boards I screwed all four sides together, and added the top boards to the sides with only 2×4. The resulting frame looked like this. I did put the support boards on the other two sides as the whole structure would shift if they weren’t in place. I had some chicken fencing wire on hand so I enclosed about two-thirds of the coop in that, just covering the sides. My Dad and brothers are working on residing one of our sheds and so from the old siding that they pulled off I was able to make a wind break for the chickens on two sides. For part of the top I used some sheet metal that I got at Menards from the discount area and some of the siding. This provides a good roof and shelter from the wind, rain and sun.
For the other part of the top I used a panel from our old chicken-run that was made with thin boards and chicken wire. I fastened that down with pieces of wire and voila a good working “roof” with a part the can easily be taken off for when I am doing chores and handling the birds.
The next morning (Wednesday) I put the broilers out to pasture in their “new” tractor! I think they look happy don’t you?
On a vegetable note… the radishes are poking their adorable heads out of the ground! We did some planting last week and these are the first to come up besides the peas and lettuce that was planted a couple of weeks ago.
I love spring and all the happy things that go on, don’t you?! Have a good week!!