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Barge Wagon Converted To Mobile Chicken Coop
Ian Noyes, a farmer from western Michigan, transformed an old barge wagon into a mobile chicken coop.
“I’d been looking for something to house my chickens, but I didn’t want to put up a brand-new building,” Noyes said. His first idea was to purchase a flatbed hay wagon and build side walls. But, while scouring for used wagons online, he came across a listing for a barge wagon.
“The barge wagon design immediately appealed to me,” says Noyes. “It already had 3-ft. walls and a tailgate that opens, plus a smaller door that could be used as an entry point.”
Noyes purchased the barge wagon from about 30 miles away, paying $750 for it. He then mounted three large cattle panels across the top in an arch for the roof, ensuring they overlapped to keep potential predators out of the interior. “I recommend using cattle panels instead of hog panels, as they are taller, so you need fewer for the whole wagon,” Noyes explains. He used large washers to secure the panels and added scrap lengths of woven field fencing over the two open ends for extra animal protection. Scrap wire ties keep these panels in place.
Noyes made some aesthetic decisions along the way, including using short stainless-steel screws for attaching the panels so they wouldn’t break through the sides of the wagon. “I loved the paint job on this antique wagon, so I didn’t want to mess with it,” he laughs.
Over the cattle panel roof, Noyes fashioned a 12 by 16-ft. heavy-duty tarp he purchased online. He attached the ends to 2 by 4’s to make it easy to roll up and adhere to the wagon’s side.
Overall costs for the mobile chicken coop came to about $900: $750 for the wagon, $100 for the cattle panels, and $50 for the hardware and tarp. It took Noyes about 6 hrs. to put together and currently houses 25 meat birds, although he thinks it could easily handle 50 to 75.
Each morning, Noyes manually opens the small door to let the birds roam the pasture space and then locks them in again at night. A small Deere B tractor can haul the wagon to new pasture when the birds need a refresh, although it’s light enough to push by hand when necessary. The birds climb into the wagon over the course of the day to get food and water, but they especially love hanging out under it to stay cool during the heat of the day.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ian Noyes, 4142 104th Ave., Allegan, Mich. 49010 (ph 269-430-3418; iancbnoyes@gmail.com).

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2022 - Volume #46, Issue #5