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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Diversion into Chickens

A week ago one of my daughters asked what she should do with her extra chickens.  Her municipality allows a family to keep eight chickens.  She had expected some die off of the chicks she raised, but all of them survived, leaving her with twelve chickens.  I volunteered to adopt the four excess chickens.  Some family members suggested that I look into the idea of a 'chicken tractors'.  This is essentially a portable chicken coop that can be moved around the yard, providing many of the benefits of free range chickens without the need for lining the entire yard with chicken wire and setting up a video surveillance and slingshots to keep 'varmints' like dogs, cats, and coyotes from disturbing the hens.  I had some 1" mesh vinyl fencing on hand and after browsing the internet I came up with the design that resulted in the structure shown above.  The roof is made of 1/2" corrugated plastic sheet which can be bent at a nice angle when the inside surface is cut through several cells.  I used 2" wide poplar planks coated with polyacrylic for the structure other than the floor beams which are in contact with the ground.  I had some square aluminum tubing on hand and used that for the floor beams.  Nesting boxes and roosting poles are hidden under the roof.  I had planned to put in ramps but the chickens quickly demonstrated a willingness to jump the less than 30" distance to the upper story of their cozy new home.

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