Saturday, June 18, 2011

Coop on the move

Earlier this week, when we had more help around, we moved the chicken coop.

"Chicken Tractors" have become popular with the rise of backyard flocks. They are small coops, usually with an attached open area where the chickens can get at pasture. These "Chicken Tractors" are great for a few chickens and one or two people can easily move them around a yard. We know several homesteaders that are having great luck with them. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, or just want to know more, there's some good information and photos here.

Our farm doesn't have a "Chicken Tractor". The coop we have takes a tractor to move it. It is big enough for 70 chickens to have space to roost and use the nesting boxes. We've never had that many chickens, the most we've ever had was about 35. But, Farmer John and "Uncle" John built the coop with the intention of adding more hens to the flock.

Several times a year the coop gets moved to a new location. The night before the big move we close them in the coop. If the coop moves without the chickens, they can't find it. (Chickens are not the brightest birds around.) Farmer John hooks it up to the tractor and drags it to the new spot. There are two Locust logs that the coop is built on and they act as skids to help the coop move.

This next picture was moments after Farmer John almost died on the tractor. The front end went way up in the air and almost tipped backwards. (Shh...don't tell our Moms.)

That was because the coop hit this post on the way through the cattle gate.

Farmer John and Farmhand Dad jacked up the coop and then managed to get it away from the post. Then it could be dragged to it's final spot.

The next step was to set up the fence. We use "electro-net" as fencing around the chickens. This electrified netting keeps the chickens in (most of the time) and predators out. It takes a little time to set up, and at least two sets of hands, but it's much easier than setting up any kind of permanent fencing. We like it because the fence is large enough to give the chickens room to move around, scratch and eat bugs, it also keeps the chickens safe. A couple years ago a fox found our chickens and reduced the flock by more than half. We haven't had any problems with predators as long as the flock is inside the fence. Next, the guys did some work on the coop. These are the nesting boxes. Our chickens seem to prefer the milk crates over the white buckets. I think they are just the right size, the buckets are just a little too small. So we got rid of all but one bucket and are going to replace them with more milk crates. I put this picture up before, but I love it. And because it's Father's Day, I'm posting it again. Here's my Dad taking down nesting boxes. Thanks Dad for climbing inside the coop, fixing gaps in the chicken wire, putting up the fence, herding chickens and helping with all the other farm projects!

Here's the coop's summer spot. It's not too far from the house so we can check on them easily. It's also close to the cattle water, which makes it easier for us to give them lots of fresh water throughout the summer (rather than haul it from the house). And, it has a nice view of the gardens and a hayfield.


  1. Did you ever catch that rogue chicken over by the barn?

  2. No, it's more jungle fowl than chicken! It flies away if you even look at it, and we haven't found where it roosts.

  3. I love reading about your chicken adventures. Pretty fun to see my little brother as a working farm hand.

    In one of the pictures I believe I spotted a new I right. Looks great and I'm sure it is much safer.

  4. If you have any trouble finding milk crates you should get in touch with Cathy D. next time the Rockford crowd comes out. She's always trying to get rid of them from the food bank.

  5. Aunt Louise - no, it's not the new bridge. See most recent post for more Old Bridge pictures.

    K - thanks for the milk crate offer. But, we've got a great resource for them in town. They are wonderful to have around the farm as I'm sure you are discovering also.


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