Time for more chicken updates!
I think we finally done with the great chicken experiment.
We ended up doing 4 coops. I was shooting for 5, but had to stay under budget.
The first I will talk about was a metal garbage bin. We purchased it from a school employee who had sold his house. It was the fastest to “finish” and used the least materials. We used old scrap tin to put on the roof and sides, and used a sawzall to cut a hole for a door. Later, we will add a ramp, but for now that was more or less it. I cannot estimate how many chickens it will hold- but it is really big! Also, it looks like it would leak water in the middle but it does not. It will have water stand on it, but it doesnt leak unless you open it with the water standing on it.
Time to complete- maybe 2 hours.
Pros: Fast, cheap, will last for YEARS
Cons: HEAVY, hard to move.
The next is the chicken ark. We finished it up last week and while it looks easy to build, with all the framing and hardware that went into it, it actually took awhile. It will be good for someone who wants to keep grass down or has a larger field to move there chickens around in where it has the larger base. It will hold probably 4 chickens.
Pros: Light, doesnt “look” big in yard, keeps rain off birds really good.
Cons: Doesnt hold a lot of chickens for the time/ cost, even with painted wood will not last long term
Next is the tractor version. It actually took a full 12 hour day to complete, and was like the ark with lots of framing and eventually painting. It is long, but less than 3 feet wide so can take it down the rows of a garden if wanted. It is not very light, but not really heavy either. The biggest fear I have for it is that a good gust of wind may knock it over.
Pros: Not terribly heavy, holds a good amount of fowl, even with its large size fits in most places.
Cons: Does handle unwieldy at times, wood may rot in future, if worried about looks it or the metal one is the “ugliest.”
The last is the PVC tractor. The guy I received the blueprints from on backyardchickens.com said 400-500 max. Things must be cheaper in Virginia. I almost balked at that price (before I got into the project), but he swore someone with 1 finger could push it. With my dad not supposed to lift 10 lbs, I was intrigued. It turned out awesome (pics soon!) but at the same time, there were special order parts, and so much more things I constantly had to be going to get, unless you were dead set on the looks or lightness of this design I would not do it.
Pros: The weight! It also will hold the most chickens, and if nothing else looks “cool.”
Cons: COST, need an expert to build (even more-so than the rest), special order parts.
We used a ton of salvage in this quest. My dad having tin and old wheels off lawnmowers and what not saved us hundreds. But we still needed clasps galore and other hardware to make the coops where racoons and other varmits could not get in. If you are buying wire for trellising, and have plenty left over, this will save you bundles as wire is expensive!
All in all it has been a lot of work- but worth it I think. I am anxious to get our first eggs from the birds in a few weeks, and they are all doing great it seems!