Happy day to you all! I pray that you all are doing well and enjoying the beautiful beginning of June! I started the month up in northern Minnesota with my Dad. We were in Duluth for a republican state convention, endorsing candidates for the upcoming election. I tell ya, that was fun! After the convention we went for a drive along the shore of lake Superior. One of the most beautiful places in Minnesota! I took a couple of pictures of the shore and of the waves crashing up on the rocks. I thought that maybe you all would like to see them.
I promised last time that I would give you a tour of my hen house on wheels that next time I posted. So, here it is!
I made it out of our old trailer that was having a few structural problems. It was not safe for road use but it was perfect for chickens! I tore out the flooring and in it’s place put in thin boards and pieces of scrap trim to make a slatted floor. Over this I spread chicken wire to add some extra stability and safety from predators, in addition to ease of walking for the chickens. 🙂
The main reason I chose to make the floor like this is cleanliness. The slats are big enough to allow chicken droppings, wasted feed etc. to drop through and not cause a lot of build up. In the usual hen house you’ve got either a poured concrete floor or a raised wooden floor, upon which you spread wood shavings or straw to provide for moisture wicking and insulation. As time goes on the chickens poop and make a mess of their feed and waterers, making the dry carbonaceous (love that word!) matter all wet and loaded with feces that contain a very high amount of nitrogen. In a compost pile or green house this would be marvelous, but in an inclosed structure this is not so good because bacteria and diseases can easily grow in the wet and polluted matter, creating an unhealthy environment for both you and your animals. Once a typical hen house becomes soiled a few things can happen. Either the coop can be cleaned out completely and a brand new layer of carbon be layed down thus starting the whole process over again. New shavings could be added on top of the old stuff, building layers of shavings that will eventually need to be cleaned out. Or, as in a the case of a LOT of meat producing chicken operations the birds are allowed to just sit in their own mess until they are ready to be processed and a new batch gets brought in. All are very work intensive, and if not stayed on top of can be hazardous to the health of your birds and yourself. The slatted floor allows for all of that waste to be dropped out of the coop eliminating the need to clean out the coop all the time, it also allows for good air circulation, promoting a dry house which is a must for chickens. After the floor came the nesting boxes and the walls.
I built four nesting boxes to be approximately one foot square. I used the chicken wire for the bottoms of the nests with the same idea as the floor. For the walls I just used scrap wood that was lying around begging to be made into something. There were some gaps in the wood on the sides so I decided to side the whole structure (almost) to eliminate drafts with old siding that came off of a shed my Dad and brothers are working on. Looks pretty good eh? 😉 For the roof I made a wooden frame to which I attached pieces of steel siding/roofing that I got at Menards for a good price. The door to the coop was my biggest problem, there was no good way to attach a door of any kind to the existing structure so after a bit of mental finagling I decided to use the pre-existing trailer closure and mount an upside down sort of apparatus to one of the roof supports. After several attempts at mounting it didn’t turn out too bad.
The great thing about it is that I can use the bottom closure as a ramp during the day when the hens are let out to pasture, and the top can open up and be supported by 1-1/2 x1-1/2 in. board that serves as an extra roost at night. The completed inside looks like this!
The roosts are made out of scrap wood that was left over from building this and the chicken tractor. So there you have it! A hen house on wheels that was fun (and cheap) to make, and practical for the girls! If you have any questions or would like more detailed information on how I made this let me know! Also, is there anything else you would like me to write about? God bless you all!!