Build a Movable Chicken Coop

Designed for super-convenient cleanup, this customizable, portable chicken coop comfortably houses up to 15 birds.

| September 15, 2011

The following is an excerpt from Art of the Chicken Coop by Chris Gleason (Fox Chapel Publishing, 2011). Whether you have an acre of land or an itty-bitty backyard, plenty of money to spend or hardly any, Art of the Chicken Coop will show you how to construct the perfect coop for your flock and space. This practical, playful and inspirational handbook includes hundreds of step-by-step photos to guide you in building seven beautiful coops, each of which can be adapted to the style of your choice — even made to match or complement the exterior of your home. Author Chris Gleason gives priority to building with salvaged materials, and also includes instructions for making a chicken run and a chicken tractor. This excerpt is from Chapter 10, “Coop #7: How the Chicken Crossed the Road.” 

The inspiration behind this coop was functionality — what kinds of features could be added to make the most practical, easy-to-use coop possible? I worked with a great client to brainstorm on this theme, and we came up with a couple of priorities:

  • The coop needed to be mobile
  • We wanted to streamline the cleanup process

Adding wheels to one end of the coop worked out as a way of providing mobility. One or two people can easily wheel it around, and this type of structure fits into the category of “chicken rickshaws,” which are a nifty coop subgenre I’ve heard about but never seen. Figuring out how best to install and support the wheels took some head-scratching, but I came up with a simple solution that works great.

To simplify the cleanup process, we came up with a couple of ideas. I put a large set of doors on the end walls of the coop to provide great access to the coop’s spacious interior, and this paved the way for what I think is a pretty novel concept: the poop tray. My client mentioned this to me, and it made a lot of sense. If we situated the roosts directly above a pair of removable trays, the trays would collect the majority of the chicken droppings, which could then be disposed of quite easily and with minimal fuss. We reasoned that the trays could slide in a set of tracks so they wouldn’t get moved around, and the roosts could simply be moved out for hosing off. We also hoped to prompt the birds to use the roosts by modifying the tops of the nest boxes — they’re popular places to perch most of the time, but the angled design here prevents this.

Movable Chicken Coop Materials

(Item: material, dimensions, quantity)

Long side floor framing: 2-by-4, 7 feet, 2
Short side floor framing: 2-by-4, 41 inches, 2
Side wall panels: 3/8-inch plywood, 7 feet by 2 1/2 feet, 2
End wall panels: 3/8-inch plywood, 3 1/2 feet by 4 feet, 2
Interior corner bracing: 2-by-4, 28 inches, 4
Front legs: 2-by-4, 51 inches, 2
Rear legs: 2-by-4, 45 inches, 2
Wheels: bicycle rims with wheels, 16 inches, 2
Axles: 1/2-inch bolts with lock nuts, 7 inches, 2
Window trim: scrap cedar 1-by-2, 14 inches, 8
Platform (floor): 1/2-inch plywood, 7 feet by 4 feet, 1
Rafters/roof cleats: 2-by-4, 7 feet, 3
Roof panels: 3/4-inch plywood, 35 inches by 30 inches, 6
End panel flap doors: 3/4-inch plywood, 14 inches by 20 inches, 2
Main side doors: 3/4-inch plywood, 26 inches by 22 1/2 inches, 2
Tracks for poop tray: 2-by-4, 82 inches, 2
Poop trays: 3/8-inch plywood, 40 inches by 18 inches, 2
Wheel supports: 2-by-4, 1 foot, 2
Handles: 2-by-2, 40 inches, 2
Roll roofing: 48 square feet
Felt paper: 48 square feet
Miscellaneous strips for trim: 3/4-inch pine or similar, 15 feet total
Nest box sides: 3/4-inch plywood, 15 inches by 12 inches, 5
Nest box top: 3/4-inch plywood, 52 inches by 13 inches, 1
Roosting bars: 3/4-inch pine, 78 inches by 1 inch, 2
Roost supports: 2-by-4, 16 inches, 3
End panel window covers: 3/4-inch plywood, 11 inches by 11 inches, 2
Galvanized angle brackets
Chicken wire
Brass handle

7/11/2013 4:17:58 PM

Thanks for your interest in the images and coop descriptions! We are currently in transition with our image display. If you click through the images on the first page, which is where each image link currently directs you, you will find the images being referenced by clicking through the thumbnail images beneath the larger lead image. Enjoy!

4/30/2013 12:02:41 PM

Mother's new Image function on their article pages isn't impressive either. I much preferred the old way of opening the images in another page.

I think I'm finished complaining now. Thanks!

4/30/2013 11:51:51 AM

Why do all the links in this article -- the ones to take you to different pages -- all take me back to the original page? Very frustrating.

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