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Mobile Egg Laying Coop Photo Journal

 
pollinator
Posts: 131
Location: South Carolina 8a
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My chickens will generally be free range, but I want them to have a safe place to roost and lay eggs.

I wanted a structure that I could move around as I wanted to take advantage of the sun, and I don't really want to shovel chicken litter.

I decided to basically make a simple, classic, coop and run, but with some wheels.

I picked up some fixed caster wheels from harbor freight for 10 bucks apiece, and some 3/8 inch carriage bolts, nuts, washers. These were super simple to mount.

The project ended up costing me 400$ I have more lumber from this purchase to finish the roosting spots and the egg boxes.


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Posts: 4
Location: Colchester Vermont
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Very nice! About to build my mobile coop today. It’s going to be pretty small posting about five chickens, and carried by two people. I got the idea from the self-sufficient homestead book. By John Seymour. I’ll post photos later. It is also for egg layers, but since I have only a few chickens desired at this point I don’t need to be big.
 
Posts: 91
Location: Iron River MI
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Hamilton, how’s it going with your mobile coop? Im looking into getting 4-6 Orpingtons and debating on either a mobile coop and paddock system or possibly mobile coop and free range. We have a young texas heeler and I’m not sure how she will be with chickens free ranging around... she likes to chase. I’ve been reading a lot and it sounds like everyone’s situation is different and theres no “right” way to do this chicken thing. Just curious how this has been working for you so far.
 
Hamilton Betchman
pollinator
Posts: 131
Location: South Carolina 8a
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Brody Ekberg wrote:Hamilton, how’s it going with your mobile coop? Im looking into getting 4-6 Orpingtons and debating on either a mobile coop and paddock system or possibly mobile coop and free range. We have a young texas heeler and I’m not sure how she will be with chickens free ranging around... she likes to chase. I’ve been reading a lot and it sounds like everyone’s situation is different and theres no “right” way to do this chicken thing. Just curious how this has been working for you so far.




I am really enjoying my current setup and have had lots of positive comments from neighbors! I will be adding the nesting boxes soon, but I am in no rush since they are only 8 weeks old.

At their current size, I can leave them for 2 days, maybe 3, in one spot without too much visible damage to my pretty st. Augustine and weed pasture. I am thinking this will be just right when they are full grown. I currently have the coop on a 4 day rotation around a pecan tree, providing it with much needed nutrition. That is to say the coop makes a circle around the tree every 4 days, and I am repeating this for the next several weeks before I send it back into the yard.

Anyways, This design works for me, but I am much stronger than average, at 6'2", 250lbs. The design I went with lets me walk all in the coop, but this is absolutely not necessary. I think someone of smaller stature could easily get away with building access to the nest box i the back of the coop, and keeping the run low, in order to save weight and cost on materials. One could also make the frame of the run out of lighter material, but this design works great for me!
 
Brody Ekberg
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Location: Iron River MI
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Glad to hear its working out so far! I’m leaning towards a wagon style coop on wheels that i can roll around easily and just dividing our yard into 2-4 separate paddocks. I need to figure out how to make an open bottom in the coop that is also weasel proof, if such a thing exists. Also need to decide on fencing options. Possibly portable poultry netting and possibly some electric fencing since I already have an excess of that. I think if i make the coop safe and keep them inside at night, i wont need to worry too much about predators during the day, although there are quite a few bald eagles around here...
 
gardener
Posts: 3470
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
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That's a beautiful build Hamilton, and your evaluation in your last post is good too!

Things I like about it: 1. You used hardware cloth - modern "chicken wire" is too wimpy to keep many predators out - 1/2" hardware cloth is an excellent choice.
2. The coop is large enough to walk into - chickens are messy! At some point, a coop or coop/run combo is going to have to be cleaned, so being able to get into it and reach all areas without having to crawl through shit is an asset. Also, if a chicken gets hurt, think about how you're going to get to it when planning a coop.
3. The coop has a secure area with a good roof, and open areas for sun - if chickens are largely contained to an area, even if they're going to move daily, they need 8-10 square feet/chicken for quality of life - particularly if there's a squabble.

People need to heed your warning about weight! I'm only about 5'4" and 115 lbs and there's no way I could move your coop. I've seen too many plans get grounded because it took too many people or was just too hard to move. That can be affected by weather also! Is there a time of year when the wheels will just sink into soft, water-logged ground? Do you need to find a garden area where you can "plant" your mobile coop for the winter because it doesn't move through snow?

Personally, I recommend that perches are easy to remove (ours are held with bolts) and especially, that nest boxes are easy to remove. The latter is because it's much easier to clean a nest box if it can be removed, and cleaned out in the open with either the roof removable or the back removable. The nest boxes are a great place to get a mite infestation (which can pass to well-cared for chickens from wild birds) and they can get messy if for some reason a bird is laying weak-shelled eggs which break easily, or a bird starts roosting in a nest box. Cleaning chicken infrastructure is generally not on anyone's "I love to do this job" list, so I really encourage people to think about that as they're designing their coops. I *really* like Hamilton's attitude - he designed for *his* comfort as well as his birds!
 
Hamilton Betchman
pollinator
Posts: 131
Location: South Carolina 8a
60
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I just wanted to share this photo of how the chickens eat all the weeds and leave just my grass.

This is after 24 hours.

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Hamilton Betchman
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Posts: 131
Location: South Carolina 8a
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Jay Angler wrote:That's a beautiful build Hamilton, and your evaluation in your last post is good too!

Things I like about it: 1. You used hardware cloth - modern "chicken wire" is too wimpy to keep many predators out - 1/2" hardware cloth is an excellent choice.
2. The coop is large enough to walk into - chickens are messy! At some point, a coop or coop/run combo is going to have to be cleaned, so being able to get into it and reach all areas without having to crawl through shit is an asset. Also, if a chicken gets hurt, think about how you're going to get to it when planning a coop.
3. The coop has a secure area with a good roof, and open areas for sun - if chickens are largely contained to an area, even if they're going to move daily, they need 8-10 square feet/chicken for quality of life - particularly if there's a squabble.

People need to heed your warning about weight! I'm only about 5'4" and 115 lbs and there's no way I could move your coop. I've seen too many plans get grounded because it took too many people or was just too hard to move. That can be affected by weather also! Is there a time of year when the wheels will just sink into soft, water-logged ground? Do you need to find a garden area where you can "plant" your mobile coop for the winter because it doesn't move through snow?

Personally, I recommend that perches are easy to remove (ours are held with bolts) and especially, that nest boxes are easy to remove. The latter is because it's much easier to clean a nest box if it can be removed, and cleaned out in the open with either the roof removable or the back removable. The nest boxes are a great place to get a mite infestation (which can pass to well-cared for chickens from wild birds) and they can get messy if for some reason a bird is laying weak-shelled eggs which break easily, or a bird starts roosting in a nest box. Cleaning chicken infrastructure is generally not on anyone's "I love to do this job" list, so I really encourage people to think about that as they're designing their coops. I *really* like Hamilton's attitude - he designed for *his* comfort as well as his birds!







Thank you for your advice. I will certainly be sure to make my nest boxes removable.
 
Jay Angler
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Hamilton Betchman wrote:

I just wanted to share this photo of how the chickens eat all the weeds and leave just my grass.

I don't see any weeds - I only see chicken food!
Maybe your grass is too short or a variety they don't like as much because I assure you, my chickens mow my grass just fine. They don't tend to destroy it unless they're left in one spot too long, but they do like to dig dust baths (AKA chicken traps to those walking along). You may need to give them a portable bin with sand/a little ash/dirt to dust bath in if that becomes a problem.
 
Hamilton Betchman
pollinator
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I wanted to share a few more photos. One photo shows what they will do if left an entire week. They will eventually eat the grass too! It seems like they prefer the "weeds" to the grass.They also do make a dust bath everywhere I move the coop, but this spot regrows within a week.
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