On Facebook, there was a picture of a chicken tractor made out of an old trampoline! The bottom frame was covered in chicken wire and a hole was cut in the middle of the trampoline with the ramp coming up to a large nesting house built onto the top.
Will you need a coop and a protected run (outside area) for them, or can they free range during the day? All they really need is protection from predators, mostly at night. It doesn't have to be fancy.
wsmoak - I love that one on FB! That's probably more like what we'll end up doing - mine are free ranging during the day, but they do get locked up at night in their ghetto coop, and I DO want something they can stay in for a few days to a week at a time when necessary due to weather and vacation.
______________________________ The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET
We built ours last summer with some scrap wood and a couple of material purchases off of craigslist. I think the total price was less than $100. The window glass was the biggest expense and we still have a couple of windows to finish.
we've never spent much at all for a coop-we've used pallets as a frame on three or four of them, just stood them up and nailed them together. Free pallets, of course. Then I think we've always had free siding, either from the free ads or a package deal on a lot of damaged stuff from the lumber yard or the neighbor's yard sale... always something. A few sheets of T1-11 aren't too expensive...
We put a concrete floor in one after the fact b/c a skunk kept tunneling in... but other than that, they've been shacks cobbled together. And the hens were happy, healthy and layed all winter long (extension cord + 60W bulb). They've been about 16 by 8, 12 by 12... all in 4 foot increments ya know... easy easy.
Spray in or roll-out insulation works great if you want it. We used metal roofing with at least one strip of clear/translucent roofing so in the winter they get light and warmth... gaps you could throw a cat through between the roof and walls but we called it ventilation.
We are getting ready to turn our older 2-horse bumper pull trailer into a chicken coop - it's a Circle M Supreme and has the manger thing inside - it worked well for our pony going to Pony Club activities, etc. but is too small for our big horses.
I was sitting in the barnyard one day thinking about building a chicken coop when I noticed the trailer and thought about how easy it would be to add some chicken wire to the open areas to make it predator-proof for nighttime - and how the mangers could be nesting boxes (even have windows I can use to get the eggs from outside!) - and how nice it would be to be able to hose it out, etc.
We can move it with the truck to different parts of the property, etc.
And now I don't have to try to sell it.
We only want a few chickens - just enough for our own eggs and for them to eat as many bugs as possible (and kitchen scraps).
I haven't actually got this project going yet, but so far I can't figure out a reason not to use it this way.