Friday, June 04, 2010

Building a Chicken RV

We have kept chickens for several years now. Not only do they produce an almost endless supply of eggs for our consumption, but they also make some of the best garden fertilizer you can get.

But we are surrounded not just by country on all sides, but Forested country. This means our poor flock of chickens have a larger assortment of predators than your average bird, and this last year was the worst we have experienced. Between the coyotes, a bobcat or two, racoons, and even the neighbor's dog, we lost 25 of our 26 laying hens over the course of about 6 months. Our one remaining hen, who still faithfully gifts us with a single egg a day must have the Gift of Escape.

Obviously it is time to do something about the play-yard on the forest side of the barn. And no longer can I harbor visions of a chicken utopia, letting my little flock roam free.

Our solution? A so-called Chicken RV, also known as a Chicken Tractor... a play-yard with attached house that can be pulled about with a tractor, allowing for the chickens to browse and graze on grass and bugs and worms, with a fresh patch of ground every few days. The result will hopefully be happy "free-ranging" chickens that will also be kept safe on all sides from wild and not-so-wild predators.

Matt has spent quite some time browsing online for ideas, and of course has come up with his own design (Innovators-R-Us), which will house our new and quickly-growing flock of chicks (easily doubled in size since these photos were taken)...


In between rain showers last weekend, the framework was built...

the nesting/sleeping-house-on-stilts was begun...

and a tin roof was put in place...

We are hopeful that our forecasted sunny weekend will allow for the completion, and that my next post will be all about move-in day!

7 comments:

carol fun said...

I can't wait to see the Chicken RV in all its glory. Such a crafty husband. I enjoy reading your blog and seeing your animals. I'd love to have chickens of my own but I'm too suburban and the homeowner's association has rule about having them, so I live vicariously through other's chickens. Thanks for a letting me see a little slice of my idea of chicken utopia --

ps you can tell from my blog title that I love chickens too!

Marie said...

Sounds like a good idea! I look forward to seeing the finished product and how it works.

joann renee said...

I love the pic of the kids looking at the chics. Adorable.

Terri(TerriBoog) said...

I love what I see so far and can't wait to see the finished product. I hope it protects all those sweet chickens!

rebecca said...

What a wonderful design. The RV part makes me think of my neighbors(we live in a city setting) that built a pigeon coop for their show fantail pigeons out of an old rather beat up camper from about the late 60's early 70's model. Kind of thought they were a little crazy at first but it really looks rather nice if I say so myself.
I think your idea is great. You may be on to something with your design. Looking forward to seeing it finished.

mainely stitching said...

Oh that's gorgeous! You will have the happiest, healthiest (liveliest!) chickens on the entire West coast!!! :D :D :D

Alice said...

Super idea. I am tempted to start having chickens again myself. Cannot wait for the flock to move in.
Alice