2011 - Volume #35, Issue #4, Page #10[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Skid-Mounted Chicken Coop Easy To Move
The 4-piece mobile pen measures 12 ft. long by 6 ft. wide with a 4 by 6-ft. wood coop that's elevated about 2 ft. off the ground. The heated coop is insulated with 1 1/2-in. thick foam, is heated, and has windows and programmable lights to keep hens laying during the winter. An extension cord runs to a junction box and operates a 300-watt electric heater and the thermostat-controlled lights.
"I use a timer to keep the lights going on a 14-hour cycle. There's a thermostatically-controlled exhaust fan on the ceiling to keep the building cool during the summer," says Houston.
A pair of ramps lead up to two small doors for the chickens to get in and out of the coop. The roof is made from a rubber roofing material.
The coop walls and floor are lined with 1/8-in. thick, grooved fiberglass tileboard, and the seams are caulked, making the inside of the coop water resistant. "The tileboard has a slick surface for easy sweeping and washing. I can hose it down quickly to clean," says Houston.
The coop floor is hinged on both sides, allowing Houston to drop down both sides while the chickens are in the pen area for easy clean-out. "A 2 by 3-ft. screen closes up on the bottom so I can put litter in there. To change the litter I open up and dump the wood shavings on the ground."
To move the unit he simply inserts the skid loader's forks into slots in the tubular frame.
The unit is built heavy, with 2 by 4's on edge held together with 7-in. screws. Yet it's fairly lightweight, says Houston. "Whenever I want to move the unit I lock the chickens in the coop and then use my Bobcat to pick it up. Once I'm at the new site I open up the access hatches to the coop to let the chickens come down into the pen. I didn't like the wheeled chicken coops on the market because they have small wheels and are built flimsy and look like they'll fall apart after a while.
"I spent about $1,600 to build it, which was more than I had planned on spending. But I wanted it to look nice and last a long time."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Houston, 3821 Patuxent River Rd., Davidsonville, Md. 21035 (ph 301 370-4890; firstname.lastname@example.org).
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