So a couple of days ago Jenn and I finally buckled down and built the road coop for our girls.  It was one of the last things that we had to complete, in terms of time-consuming manual labor.  So now we are pretty much ready to go.  We can now move our date around if we have to, and nothing will be affected.  I have to say, I am pretty darn proud of how it turned out.

I don’t exactly have a ton of money just lying around, so I made it my mission to up-cycle and re-use as many materials as I possibly could.  I have run into at least a few people on our Facebook page who are also moving with poultry, so I figured I would share our building project, in case anyone else wants to copy it.  This is probably my best contribution to the poultry field since our homemade chicken food, so I wanted to share it for everyone.

So some things to keep in mind as you are building a road coop.  First, you do want plenty of ventilation for the girls, but you DON’T want too much wind blowing in on them.  Chicken’s can catch a chill.  So we have all of the ventilation facing rearward, so that as we are driving down the road, they aren’t getting blown.  Second, birds sleep when it’s dark.  So keeping it somewhat shady allows your birds to nap, thus reducing stress.  Lastly, birds don’t mind being in tight spaces.  You want to give them room, but don’t feel the need to build an entire complex for them.

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So the basic framework for the coop is a regular tow trailer, in this case a 5X8 trailer, and an hold leftover raised garden bed from one of my many aborted business attempts.  Since I know my dad read’s this, thanks Dad for the trailer.  It wouldn’t have been possible without you.

coop2We checked to make sure that a next box would fit under the rim of the frame with enough space to allow a chicken inside.  This was important because we wanted to add a second shelf, to give them a place to get up off of the floor at night, since they like to sleep up off of the ground.  So yeah, plenty of space.

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I screwed some small 2X4 brace pieces on the inside, to allow us to have a spot to mount the shelf.  The 2X4 was leftover in my tool closet.  I never throw wood away, and this is why.

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Here is the shelf for the girls.  It is actually a leftover portion of my old desk.  That desk was a pain in the ass to move, so we ripped it up, but I kept the top part since it didn’t fit in the trash can.  I’m glad I kept it.  It covers most of the bottom, but gives plenty of hopping space, basically doubling the square footage of the road coop.

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With the nice solid raised bed as a platform, I was able simply screw some plywood sheets to the back and the sides.  The plywood was reclaimed from fort goat, back when I had a few little goats.  The raised bed was 16 1/2″ high, and the plywood took the height up to about 36″.  It didn’t have to be exact.  In the corners I added 4X4 pieces to both cement the plywood shell together, and to give me a place to attatch the roof.  I also made the front poles just slightly higher than the back, to allow any possible rain a way to run off.

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Here is Miss Tonto acting as quality control.  She appeared to give it a grudging thumbs up given the cute clucking that was happening.

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Next I added on the roof.  Just an extra sheet of plywood, also from fort goat.  Again, the roof is slightly angled to offer some protection from the rain.  If I end up using this as a chicken tractor, I will shingle this bad boy up, and it will be rain proof.

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Laslty, I just needed a door.  Coincidently enough, the old goat bed I had was the exact right size.  So I popped the plywood top off, and added some braces in the center to give it strength.

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Here is the door attatched to the coop.  I used some scrap hardware cloth to cover the openings.  This is plenty secure, but allows lots of are through.  For hinges I just used some 4″ wide flat door hinges from lowes, one of the few things I had to buy.  At this point just add the latch of your choosing, and some handles for the door, and you are done.  This coop is fairly heavy, so I don’t think it would go anywhere anyway, but to ease my mind, I am using some 4″ L brackets to bolt the whole coop to the frame of the trailer.  It won’t go anywhere unless the whole thing goes.

 

So that’s my road coop.  Feel free to copy the ideas if you like.  I didn’t include many measurements because it didn’t matter.  I wasn’t measuring to be precise, I just needed it to work.  Since I was frecycling, I was much less precise than I would have been with new materials.  If you make one, send me a picture of it.  I would love to see how it turns out.

 

 

 

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