Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Guess What? Chicken BUTT! Coop is DONE! It's a Chicken Tractor!

UPDATE ~ If you scroll all the way to end, I added the finished product ~ so the tractor is done ~ now for the real coop........... ( better not mention this to Wood Genius just yet... best to let it lie for a day or three..... hehehehe... BWAAAHAHAHAHA... ;-D )

WOO HOO!! SO ~ we got the chicken coop done!! Well, ok, ALLLLLmost done ~ the kids & I still have to paint it. And I am thinking that good ol' Barn Red with white accents is just gonna be IT ~ what do you all think? Afterall, that WOULD tie in with the shed & the treehouse.

So ~ I know what you all are waiting for ~ PICTURES!
And we DO have pictures!

This is meant to be the portable chicken tractor, or also known as the chicken arc. It is based loosely ( ever so loosely) on the boughton forsham models that can be found online. Since we have 16 chickens right now, and will have 10 after the fair, we needed to make our tractor a little larger.

We decided to go with the A-frame style, as it made up for less mass in the long run to transport. And with Wood Genius making it, we knew it could get complicated fast. Here is a pic of the basic frame with supports in the corners, so that nothing wracks when it is being transported.

oops ~ lazy blogging, sorry ~ sideways pic. Just a close-up of the joinery ~ easy sqeazy so far.

Here is a pic of the feeders, on extending drawer guide arms. Wood Genius used a 3/8 drill to drill through 3 times in a line so that the arms could extend out, thus saving your back. That way, the feeder & waterer can just be hooked on and slid back, or slid forward to remove & re-fill.

These are heavy-duty drawer guides, and will easily hold the weight of the galvanized metal 2 gallon double walled waterer & the five gallon feeder.

(Had to move it back into the shop to work on it, as it was getting quite dark out.) Here you can see the flooring going in. It should be mentioned that the wood being used is 2x2's, & I believe 3/8 material.

Here you can see the chicken ramp on hinges, plus the framework for the ramp.

This shows the nest boxes & the flooring installed. There are 3 nest boxes, and we made them a little larger inside, but still a nice snug hole to crawl through & feel safe with.

Now you can see the roosts installed, as well as the back and top of the tractor. You can also see the vents at the apex. We used a very strong wire for this. Also visible is the 1 1/2" gap between the inner melamine wall and the outer 3/8" sheeting wall. This, & the back side, is where Wood Genius installed 1 1/2" styrofoam core insulation. The door is also insulated.

Vents are a bit more visible here. Also visible is the pulley system to raise & lower the chicken ramp. There is the rope & the nail to hold it when the ramp is closed.

Follow the rope over, and down it goes through a hole drilled in the flooring.

This is the pulley in the roof. These pulleys make sure that the rope doesn't get run ragged by snagging on the wood. The pulley is just hanging by a screw screwed through.

oops, another sideways pic. The rope is shown here heading through the vent above the nest boxes, to another pulley.

Voila! A close-up of the outside pulley above the nest boxes.

Ok, this is just showing the foamcore.

And what have we here? A BUTT shot! Can't say "Guess what? Chicken BUTT!" without a butt shot at least SOMEwhere. heheheh. Wouldn't he be so annoyed if he saw this? :-D

However, I actually have a better reason for the pic. It is showing the door fitting on.

I forgot to add that this is actually one of those ~green~ coops, because almost every single bit of wood on here was harvested from left-overs, the dump ( see that pile of 2x4's?), old fence parts, and various other places.

And here is the door on. The handles are close enough together for one person to lift if they are bigger, & far enough apart for two smaller kids to lift off together. (It's good for them, makes them work as a team.....) :-D

Hmmmmm... trying to remember why I uploaded this pic... Maybe just to show the ramp in closed position. Also, see the rungs are spaced so that even with a fair amount of snow or chicken goo, the ramp can still be closed completely. Also showing the roosts, which are positioned higher than the nest boxes to discourage pooey eggs. ( The chickens will choose to roost in the nest boxes if they are higher... I don't know why, it's a chicken thing..)

Here's the whole contraption, alMOST all the way finished. From the side/back.

From the side/front. Note the wooden latches to make sure the nest boxes are all the way shut. The little doors will make egg gathering easy.

Latches secure the door as well, just for predators' sake. (Little kids in the neighborhood can't reach that high... that's pretty much the main concern.) Also, the vents open and latch shut... We get winters down to -20F, so the chickens will need to be warm. While not shown, the heat lamp will be able to be dropped down through a hole drilled in the roof, and we will just use an extension cord ( heavy duty, shop type) to either light the heat lamp or, when they are older, to extend their perception of daylight so that egg-laying continues through the winter.

Last night & today, Wood Genius installed the hardware fabric around the base. ( which, by the way, isn't really fabric at all ~ what a cruel joke to play on a's really just metal wire with a whole bunch of little bitty square holes in it. ) And now he is off buying the wheel set-up, which will consist of large lawn mower wheels, connected & used in the same manner as the boughton forsham chicken arc/tractor. These will be installed on the nest box side, as it is the heaviest. He will also install a large bar on the end opposite the nest boxes, so that we can reposition the tractor once a week. (During the winter, this will obviously not be easily moved, so we will add additional run space, connected to the bottom of the tractor, via the removable screen end.)

And the last thing to do will be to paint it up, and add chickens! {:>)=

Well, I am going to keep adding pics here as he finishes it up ~ I keep running out there to take pics for each phase.

Ok, so here you can kind of see the removable screen door there on the end, with a latch to close it up tightly. You might also notice the dolly and the suspiciously wet ground.

Yup, it's true! Here in Idaho, it could be shining one minute and literally SNOWING the next!! Where is the justice in that?!? See that? Green grass with a snowy blanket ~ AAARRGGHHHHH !!!!

UPDATE!!! ~ YEAH! It stopped snowing and actually got sunny enough that Bek painted the tractor ~ Next post ~ the Garden project!!


Lawanda said...

Well isn't that a dandy chicken coop! I never heard of a chicken tractor before! Did you do it like that because you'll need to move it?

I loved the butt shot! LOL

And definitely the barn red. Very cool!!

Mrs. Organic said...

I'll have to send this link to my uncle, he's getting his chickens soon and wants a tractor too.

redhead83402 said...

hi lawanda!! :-D Yes, we will need to move it, just so that the chickens can get all the grubs in the grass for us, also so that they can poo fertilize patches of lawn, & eat the weeds. Also, I am intending to leave them in about 2 spots during the winter, so that they can tillup the ground for my garden for next year. I only wish they had already been going at it for this years garden.

ROFLLL about the butt shot! He won't be happy, lol,lol,lol. But I will laugh.... hehehehehe. :-D

redhead83402 said...

corrie ~ awesome! I hope this helps ~ if he needs dimensions or material sizes or anything, just ask, Wood Genius can send him an email with any of the particulars.

Pale Ophelia Floats said...

Hey the coop/tractor/thingy looks great! I'm sensing a backyard color theme which is really frightening since I'm the colorblind one, but meh. Looking forward to the meme. heheh

Tammy said...

Carol - that is one fine chicken coop. Wood Genius is correct.

You will need to charge the chickens rent, or maybe sell timeshares.

You need high rent chickens, for such an awesome coop.

love ya sis, Tammy

LillyZoo said...

How manh chickens have put in it and how many eggs do you get per day? Great Coop!

Christy said...

We found your blog while doing a search for chicken coop "ark" plans. Would you be willing to share the dimensions with us. Thank you!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
twinshiner said...

Hello, we were in the process of building our own chix arks when i found your blog. thanks for all the photos. the visuals sure helped me *see* and refine our arks. So, what about an update on the chix now that they're several months old. Is the ark still accomdating them? And design tenets you'd like to do differently? I've been watching your blog hoping for an update from you. Sure hope you've not stopped blogging as I enjoyed reading another homeschooling red-heads thoughts and humour. I added your site to my links on my blog. Hope you don't mind.
~the twinshiner

Pebel said...

This is a geat Coop! I too found it when looking for plans for our own coop. I am starting homeschooling this year and we have acquired 4 chicks that are soon to be in desparate need of a coop. Would you all be willing to share the dimensions? The pics were great, but I can't quite figure out how everythng fits at the apex. I would love any pointers you or "wood genius" have. I am definately not a wood genius but am trying. My email is Thanks! Patrick

redhead83402 said...

Well, whoaa ~ lol ~ sorry for the severe lack of communication ~ as it happens, my dorky computer had a little run-in with static electricity, and as a result, I am now on an older one, without all of the modern conveniences of my other one ~ eerrgghhh ~ all of my pictures, my word docs, EVERY THING~ AAAaarrgghhh ~ ok ~ frustration overflow there ~ at least they say that the hard drive can be saved, which is good, because all of our business docs are on there, not to mention the bazillion & one pics ( yes, I know I mentioned this already, I just had to re-hash it for ol' times sake ~ ).....

I will not obsess ~ I will NOT obsess, I WILL not obsess, I will not OBSESS.....

All right... deep breath.. now ~ to answer some of the awesome commentary left on here.... naah, you know what? I will just put this in a new post ~

Teddy said...

I have been researching chicken tractors for a couple of years, and I was impressed with your version. I will be building one early next year, so my question is:
Did you use plywood on the inside of the chicken tractor, in other words, did you sandwich the foam insulation sheathing between two sheets of plywood?
I would appreciate any comments you have.
Thanks, Teddy

Johnny Reb said...

Red, Wood Genius is a wood genius! I love his modified tractor. Is there any chance I could get some more technical details? We've decided to jump into the whole chicken thing and I've been surfing the web looking for a good tractor to build. I think this one is the best I've seen. Tell Wood Genius that imitation the the most sincere form of flattery and see if that will score me some details. :)

redhead83402 said...

Teddy ~ yes the insulation was sandwiched ~ otherwise those silly chickens will sit & peck at it when they are sitting there roosting, with apparently nothing better to do! ;-D We used masonite, though, not plywood, since it's so much thinner, & therefore would weigh less.

redhead83402 said...

Johnny Reb ~ here is what Wood Genius said ~ ( and you can tell he said it, lol, I'm still a little reluctant to pass it on... that stinker!!)

Hey John,

I'm willing to pass along tips learned from the trial and error of making this. Thing is I made a good many errors and didn't document the progress. I was too busy working it out and building the coup. My wife took all the photos and did the write up. I guess she figured that was the next best thing to helping with the actual wood part. In truth she also kept me fed, cheered on the progress, and gave her two and 1/2 cents opinion on height, width, ease of use, color, and a good many other details. Not to miss represent however. When I say details I mean feedback like, "Bigger, more, less, kind of about there. Can we have one of those thingies too." Numbers were only discussed as in, "I want something like 8 chickens. Or maybe 20. I'm not quite sure." If you've done the research, chickens need a certain amount of inside and outside space to survive. And an increase on those numbers to thrive. I forget the numbers now but I got to do the math. The inside and outside reflect those figures. Though at full capacity we'll need an extension on the run. Her feedback was invaluable, it just needed a bit of translation to be understood. I get better at that part every year it seems. Heh! Not sure if that should be a source of pride or something to feel a little unnerved about. Anyhow, My advice is to ask any questions you want. I'll try to answer if I can. For instance if you asked about joints I'd likely say, "All the joints are butt joints with one or two grabber screws, mostly 2 1/2" or so countersunk in one piece and sucked tight with a driver. A butt joint is two pieces next to each other. Not really a joint at all." Then just start. If you run into something and can't figure out a way to solve it, ask some more. Take comfort that chickens are fairly dumb and not at all critical of the carpenter. I think they have a brain like the size of a pea. Easy customer to satisfy. Remember this. Wisdom helps to avoid error. Wisdom comes through experience. And experience is the result of surviving errors. So have lots of fun, and dream about the future time when you can go out to feed them and, "STEAL THEIR EGGS!"

Take care,

PS. If it turns out really bad make your next project either a fence that no one can see over and smile anyway. Or a big bon fire, smile even bigger at your creative solution. Then start on coup two with the advantage of experience, I mean wisdom.

will said...

I've been poking around the internet for a month looking at chicken tractors and finally found what looks like the perfect tractor for our family - yours. I'm really jealous but you're probably very attached to yours so I'll have to build my own. :-(

Do you have any information on dimensions, materials, wheel mounting, etc. of your tractor? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Nice Job - Cluck cluck

Anonymous said...

This chicken tractor is great! I have been searching for a design that would work for us. Does the Wood Genius still have his plans? More importantly will he share?