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Old Trailer Makes Nifty Chicken Coop
Steve and Chris Ault's chickens sleep in style inside an old travel trailer. About 200 of them fit on rows of 2 by 2-in. roosts along two walls of the 15-ft. trailer which Steve gutted.
  He purchased it for $200 from a neighbor. Ault happily took it to his Pamplin City, Virginia, 95-acre farm and spent a day with a cordless drill removing screws that secured most everything inside.
  "Ripping out the bathroom with all the molding and tub was probably the hardest part," he says. He repaired the sunroof, but other than that the roof was sound and the windows and screens all intact. He ripped 2 by 4-in. boards in half to build roosts that mount about a foot apart. He hinged them so they can be lifted up to the ceiling for cleanout.
  "The walls are made out of plastic-coated wallboard so it's waterproof," Ault says. About four times a year he thoroughly cleans the trailer with a pressure washer. The rest of the time he just adds fresh bedding.
  The trailer works as well - if not better - than a coop Ault built on a hay wagon, which cost him more than $1,000.
  "We try to keep everything as mobile as possible so we can move things around in the pastures," Ault says. He moves the trailer with a small pickup every couple months. The Aults raise chickens, pigs and lamb on pasture and sell eggs and meat to natural food stores and at farmers markets.
  Ault cut a small door in the side of the trailer and built an awning to protect the chickens from predator birds. The trailer is surrounded by electric net fencing, and the chickens can go in and out of the trailer when they choose. They lay eggs in 20 nesting boxes Ault built on the outside of the trailer.
  In Virginia's moderate climate, the trailer works well year round. There's a good cross ventilation by keeping the windows and door open during hot weather, Ault says, and the trailer is insulated to be warm enough in the winter.
  "We had a terrible wind storm that took off tree tops. The trailer was in the path, but it just knocked it off the blocks," Ault says.
  "It's perfect," he adds about the trailer coop. "When I'm driving around, I look for old trailers. I would love to have a couple more."
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Steve and Chris Ault, 14100 Thomas Jefferson Hwy., Pamplin, Virginia 23958 (ph 434 248-6050;aultsfamilyfarm@yahoo.com; www.aultsfamilyfarm.com).

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2007 - Volume #31, Issue #6