Adkhunter1590

Chicken addition

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What’s up guys. Just wanted to share a new project I’m working on the last couple weeks.

We’ve been raising chickens for about 4 years now and love having them. Family and friends are always looking for eggs from us and we usually can’t keep them in stock for long. So we decided to up our game this year and added 100 new chicks to the family.

As of right now I’ve got all these chicks in big wooden shipping crates in our house as it’s been too dang cold to keep them in the garage or our coop. Hopefully with warmer weather coming I can move them into the garage for a week or two before I get their new coop finished up. b1f791cba87daf6b5466faad86e54d3b.jpg

 

When trying to figure out how to house all these new birds I went back and forth between expanding our current coop and run and making a whole new setup. We wanted them to free range but I didn’t want them to be all around the house pooping all over the driveway and deck like our current older ones do when allowed to roam free. Not to mention they tear up flower gardens like no body’s business. So I came across mobile pasture coops and I was sold on the idea right away. I can move them around my back field and my neighbors pastures, giving them fresh ground every couple days. This will help fertilize the ground as well.

I spent most of this winter researching different designs of how I should build this thing. In other words, I looked at so many pictures and read so many blogs my eyes were about to bleed. I enlisted the help of my neighbor who’s a full time farmer and raised chickens in the past. He helped me come up with a design and locating a decent set of used hay wagon running gear.

 

I picked up a older used set of running gear from a tractor dealer in schoharie and we went to work on breathing some new life into it. It needed a little tweaking to straighten it out and some grinding to take off the worn paint and surface rust. Greased all points and added grease zerks to the hubs as well

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Gave the running gear a fresh coat of paint and slapped some 4x6x16ft boards on to be the new main frame rails. Then bolted 4x4s on top of those to complete the frame work.

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Also cleaned up the wheels and painted those and found some used tires to replace the worn out ones that came with it when I bought it. I was going to put tubes in the tires but so far they are holding air. I’ll most likely replace all 4 tires with brand new ones later this summer or over next winter. But these will do for now.

 

Now that I had the running gear freshly rebuilt and the frame bolted all together it was time to start the floor. I wanted to have a partial open floor so that the chicken poop could fall down onto the ground to fertilize the fields and make cleaning easier. My neighbor had a heavy gauge expanded metal panel laying around that we decided to put in the center of the floor. Whatever droppings don’t fall through can be easily swept through with a stiff bristle broom and I can sweep the droppings from around the edges on to the grate every day or two. It’s also heavy enough that people can walk all over it and not worry about falling through. I jumped up and down on it and it doesn’t even budge. 62c32d6c41df168cb1b4d1dd5201d5ad.jpg

 

All the lumber besides the frame rails are rough cut, making this thing sturdy as all can be. Not to mention working with true to size lumber is so much easier when doing measurements. Although finding 4 inch nails wasn’t as easy as I thought. Lowe’s doesn’t sell anything in 4 inch in anything bigger than a 1lb box. Had to hit up TSC and a local lumber yard for bigger boxes of nails of that size.

 

So far we have the two side walls up. One wall is 6ft the other is 7ft. The 7ft side will have two windows and a full size steel exterior door with window recycled from my neighbors barn. On the 6ft side I’m going to put a portion of the siding on hinges to open up for ventilation along with vents on each end wall once those get put together.

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Roofing will be your standard metal roofing for ease of installation and long lasting durability. Off the back side we are making a small deck that will hold a 55gal barrel to feed a pvc water nipple system that I’ll route underneath the coop and strap against the main frame rails so it’s out of the way and doesn’t interfere with anything when I move it around. Planning on using another tank on my atv with a small pump to refill this barrel every couple days when needed.

 

The coolest part I think will be the chicken door. I’ve decided to go all out and invest in a fully automatic solar powered pop door. No more rushing out in the AM to let the chickens out or rushing over at night to close them up so predators don’t get at them. I can’t wait to see it in action. I’ve been wanting one for awhile but with our current coop being so close to the house I could never justify it. Since this coop could be a couple miles from home at any given time, I figure it was a necessity this time around. 38130cdb56ce8dab108afabd304e709a.jpg

 

To make life even easier we decide to forgo the traditional style nest boxes and go with these cool rollaway community next boxes. My older laying hens make a mess of their eggs in the normal style nest boxes and sometimes eat their eggs which makes a bigger mess. Cleaning a dozen eggs a day isn’t so bad but with 100 chickens laying each day, egg washing will get old real fast. This will also enable us to sell unwashed eggs as some people prefer to buy them that way. fd84deb06ee0942e3cfebe5501ce9ea5.jpg

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Well that’s what I’ve been working on for the last few weeks with a few more weeks of construction ahead of me. So far I think everything is coming out really well and everyone who’s seen it in person is really impressed. Hoping it will last us a long time and provide some good fun and learning experiences for my kids along the way. It’s also been a great way to bond with my neighbor and learn a lot from him along the way. He’s a great guy and I can’t begin to think how crappy this would have turned out without his help and guidance. Hope I didn’t bore anyone with my long winded post, and I’ll keep this updated with new pics as we continue the build. Should be done within the next few weeks.

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wow!  your serious for sure. Quite an impressive build !  nice job .   Hell I want to live there! 


Thank you! Haha. Most of the people who stop in to my neighbors have caught a glimpse of this thing from the road and had to swing in to see what the hell he was up to. He keeps telling people it’s his new house for when his wife kicks him out! Lol. I’m pretty sure it’s built sturdier than my own house that’s for sure Haha.

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Thats very cool, very impressive build for those chicks.  May the chicken Gods bless you with a trailer load of eggs....lol.. Enjoy!!! When im up at my cabin we always wipe out our local chicken farmer, we buy 10 to 20 doz. from him. Theres no comparison when it comes to fresh eggs, they are way superior to store bought.

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A 100 new chicks....holy crap.   When u decide to go big, you weren't kidding. 

Love fresh eggs.  So much better than store bought. 

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Thanks guys. I actually misspoke, I forgot about the 40 more Easter egger chicks we have coming soon from my wife’s friend. A yet to be determined number of those 40 will be roosters and will be culled but I’m gonna say at least 20-25 will be hens. So that will put us up to around 120ish. Gotta have those colored eggs! Haha. Go big or go home right?

 

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I am impressed. I loved having chickens, most I had was 30 and wanted to go bigger. I bought a 10x12 shed and set that up for them. I sure miss the eggs

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Forgot to mention that if anyone in my area wants eggs I do have layers right now already laying. Granted it’s a smaller flock doing about a dozen a day but I usually have some on hand. Just message me and we can meet up or you can stop by whatever works best. In a few months once these new ones start laying I’ll have lots of eggs! Haha

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I've been wanting chickens but don't want to do free range is it tougher to not do free range? I won't be to the scale of you but still want farm fresh eggs. I was looking at getting 10 RH reds to start then adding as time went on. Any pointers for a newb? My plan was to keep them a little ways from the house to cut down on the smell and poop right next to my garage. We used to have chickens on our farm when it was a working farm but I was young and don't remember much other than getting the eggs and butchering them.

Edited by chas0218
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I've been wanting chickens but don't want to do free range is it tougher to not do free range? I won't be to the scale of you but still want farm fresh eggs. I was looking at getting 10 RH reds to start then adding as time went on. Any pointers for a newb? My plan was to keep them a little ways from the house to cut down on the smell and poop right next to my garage. We used to have chickens on our farm when it was a working farm but I was young and don't remember much other than getting the eggs and butchering them.



You don’t have to free range at all if you don’t want. You just need to build a big enough run that will give them enough room to spread out and be happy. If I remember correctly the rule of thumb is like 10sqft per bird for the run and 4sqft of coop space per bird. Of course going bigger is always better. Chickens are hard on the ground so any vegetation in the run will be mowed down to bare dirt in no time. Do yourself a favor and make sure wherever you put the coop and run that it has good drainage. The poop smell is only noticeable if there’s a lot of moisture on the ground. My current coop is literally 6 ft away from my bedroom on the backside of the house and we don’t have any problem with smell. If there was a problem my wife would be the first one complaining! I would suggest not going too far away from your house as you have to remember you’ll be out there on a daily basis feeding, watering and collecting eggs. There’s a guy down the road from me who moved in last summer and built a coop some 250ft from his house down a hill. When he was building it I almost stopped to offer some advice. Now I watch him shovel a path through all the snow just to get down there and watch him struggle carrying water and supplies all the way down there. I’m betting he regrets going that far away now!
There’s a million ways to build a coop and run and the only wrong way is if it’s too small, other than that you can’t really do it wrong. There’s a forum called backyardchickens.com that has thousands of pages of good info to browse through on coop/run construction to feeding and raising chickens. It’s a good resource to check out. Hope this helps you out, if you have any other questions let me know, I’ve made just about every mistake you can make at least once so I like to think I’ve got a good handle of this stuff! Haha
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What are you going to do with 60 dozen eggs a week?

We can sell @8-10 dz a week here, lots of folks have hens nowadays. 

We have plenty of interest from folks in buying meat birds and turkeys, I think we are going to sell a few meaties this year and have sold turkeys before. It helps off set cost of food and bedding and egg cartons. 

You might want to order a case or two of the cartons by the way if you haven’t already.  

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What are you going to do with 60 dozen eggs a week?
We can sell @8-10 dz a week here, lots of folks have hens nowadays. 
We have plenty of interest from folks in buying meat birds and turkeys, I think we are going to sell a few meaties this year and have sold turkeys before. It helps off set cost of food and bedding and egg cartons. 
You might want to order a case or two of the cartons by the way if you haven’t already.  


Shouldn’t have too much of an issue selling them all. I’ve got a lot of guys at work who will/are buying off me already. My wife’s family is large and will take a bunch. A small corner store diner down the road from me has said they’d like to buy eggs off me once we are up and going. Ya a lot of people have hens but most don’t keep them for more than a year or two before they get tired of it. Not to mention I can advertise as true pasture raised organic non-gmo. There’s a few very affluent towns on my way to work where people will pay a premium for organic/non-gmo stuff.

I was going to do meaties and turkeys this year but decided to do one thing at a time so I didn’t overwhelm myself. Next winter I’m going to build some pasture pens for meat birds and invest in butchering equipment to do it the right way. I don’t like to half ass stuff so I didn’t want to jump into this year.

Yep we will be ordering a bunch of plain cartons pretty soon, once I get done dumping all my extra cash into the coop build. Wife is working on designing a custom logo for stickers for the cartons as well.

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Have you ever thought about adding some ducks? I was told by someone that he found it easier to keep ducks than it was to keep chickens. Eggs were bigger too and supposedly had a more rich flavor. Looks awesome though! I wish I had some chickens, but they become a pain to keep down here. I always get eggs from my aunt when I go back to where my family comes from. Can't compare the taste


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47 minutes ago, Adkhunter1590 said:

 

 


You don’t have to free range at all if you don’t want. You just need to build a big enough run that will give them enough room to spread out and be happy. If I remember correctly the rule of thumb is like 10sqft per bird for the run and 4sqft of coop space per bird. Of course going bigger is always better. Chickens are hard on the ground so any vegetation in the run will be mowed down to bare dirt in no time. Do yourself a favor and make sure wherever you put the coop and run that it has good drainage. The poop smell is only noticeable if there’s a lot of moisture on the ground. My current coop is literally 6 ft away from my bedroom on the backside of the house and we don’t have any problem with smell. If there was a problem my wife would be the first one complaining! I would suggest not going too far away from your house as you have to remember you’ll be out there on a daily basis feeding, watering and collecting eggs. There’s a guy down the road from me who moved in last summer and built a coop some 250ft from his house down a hill. When he was building it I almost stopped to offer some advice. Now I watch him shovel a path through all the snow just to get down there and watch him struggle carrying water and supplies all the way down there. I’m betting he regrets going that far away now!
There’s a million ways to build a coop and run and the only wrong way is if it’s too small, other than that you can’t really do it wrong. There’s a forum called backyardchickens.com that has thousands of pages of good info to browse through on coop/run construction to feeding and raising chickens. It’s a good resource to check out. Hope this helps you out, if you have any other questions let me know, I’ve made just about every mistake you can make at least once so I like to think I’ve got a good handle of this stuff! Haha

 

 

Just my family alone goes through 4 doz eggs a week. I was thinking of doing a portable unit so I could move them around but my biggest fear are the fox, yotes and birds of prey. Those were my main reasons for not allowing free range. It shouldn't be too bad where I want to put them, I want to put them at the end of my driveway on a cement pad. Would a pad be a bad idea?

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Have you ever thought about adding some ducks? I was told by someone that he found it easier to keep ducks than it was to keep chickens. Eggs were bigger too and supposedly had a more rich flavor. Looks awesome though! I wish I had some chickens, but they become a pain to keep down here. I always get eggs from my aunt when I go back to where my family comes from. Can't compare the taste


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Ducks are also on my to do list! Lol. My other neighbor has 2 or 3 that basically just live in his pond that me and the kids use to fish for bluegill and bass during the summer. He tells me the eggs are great for baking but they prefer chicken eggs for eating as a normal egg meal. That wasn’t the first time I heard that so I’m guessing it’s true. I’ve looked into coop designs for raising ducks and it seems like they have some different requirements so I plan on building a separate coop just for them that I’ll place on my property line so it’s close to my neighbors pond for them to have access to water. Just another project for another day! Haha. The plan is to slowly grow this place into a fully functional diverse farm. With me working a full time job already it’s going to take me a little time but I keep telling myself I’ll get there! I’ve got 2 young boys that I hope as they get older over the next few years will play a big part in helping us grow and accomplish our goals. We are about to pay off almost all our debt in the next few weeks which will help us buy a new tractor this summer so we can really start getting some work done. It’s a lot of work but one thing at a time my wife keeps telling me!
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24 minutes ago, ATbuckhunter said:

Have you ever thought about adding some ducks? I was told by someone that he found it easier to keep ducks than it was to keep chickens. Eggs were bigger too and supposedly had a more rich flavor. Looks awesome though! I wish I had some chickens, but they become a pain to keep down here. I always get eggs from my aunt when I go back to where my family comes from. Can't compare the taste


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Ducks are messy, we decided to harvest ours and the coop, run is so much better now. They root around with their bills and make things extra muddy. We are happy they are gone.

The eggs are higher in protein, have a different taste but it’s not as noticeable when scrambled. And they are loved by some bakers. 

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Just my family alone goes through 4 doz eggs a week. I was thinking of doing a portable unit so I could move them around but my biggest fear are the fox, yotes and birds of prey. Those were my main reasons for not allowing free range. It shouldn't be too bad where I want to put them, I want to put them at the end of my driveway on a cement pad. Would a pad be a bad idea?



Moveable “chicken tractors” as they call them are pretty popular. That’s basically what my coop is but on a larger scale with free range thrown in. I’ll have 48in tall electric netting to use as a predator barrier that will keep out yotes and fox. So they will be semi limited to how far they can range but I’ll have a lot of netting so basically still free range. You can build a chicken tractor pretty easy for a smaller size flock that is full contained to keep all predators out. There’s a million different designs but here’s an idea of what one can look like. ec726d23d1e7dc1e231dfcb7f56d052e.jpg

Most tractors like that won’t House more than 6-12 birds at a time though so you’ll have to keep the flock size to a smaller size. You can always build bigger but it will get heavy real quick and become harder to move. But a design like that will let you move around a small flock to fresh grass everyday pretty easy.

Concrete pads and chickens don’t really mix all that well. By nature they are foragers and instinctively scratch the ground to search for food. I’ve read that prolonged exposure to concrete can cause feet problems on them as well. Unless you were using the concrete to raise it up due to wet ground and then added a bunch of dirt on top it’s not really the best idea. Of course you can always make a concrete pad just to set the coop on top of for stability and levelness concerns but then leaving the run as bare ground.
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22 minutes ago, chas0218 said:

Just my family alone goes through 4 doz eggs a week. I was thinking of doing a portable unit so I could move them around but my biggest fear are the fox, yotes and birds of prey. Those were my main reasons for not allowing free range. It shouldn't be too bad where I want to put them, I want to put them at the end of my driveway on a cement pad. Would a pad be a bad idea?

If you get a rooster he will control the flock (stop hens from fighting) and protect them from predators. Mostly by always being on the lookout and sounding the alarm at the sight of danger.

We have plastic netting over all our runs but let the birds free range in the afternoon after they are done laying. That’s my Jake in my avatar from yesterday out strutting his stuff. The turkeys also provide protection, not much wants to mess with a big ole turkey. 

The main threat is the night time predators, keep them closed in a night and safe from break ins and they will be fine.  Rats love to kill by biting the neck and licking the blood, bastards. 

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5 minutes ago, Adkhunter1590 said:

Concrete pads and chickens don’t really mix all that well. By nature they are foragers and instinctively scratch the ground to search for food. I’ve read that prolonged exposure to concrete can cause feet problems on them as well. Unless you were using the concrete to raise it up due to wet ground and then a

Bingo, we put hay down in our run to help keep it dry this time of year plus the birds love scratching around in it. 

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Adkhunter have you looked into adding a poo funnel under where the roosts will be? 

That way you could direct the nasty towards the metal floor, we use a tarp under the main roost and it helps keep it contained and makes clean up easy. With 100 birds you might need something strong like metal. 

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Bingo, we put hay down in our run to help keep it dry this time of year plus the birds love scratching around in it. 


Gotta love hay! Had to do the same thing this winter to keep the run dry. With all the freeze/thaw this winter I had a river running through the run at once point. Had to dig a trench to divert some water plus lay down a few bales. Works like a charm!
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Adkhunter have you looked into adding a poo funnel under where the roosts will be? 
That way you could direct the nasty towards the metal floor, we use a tarp under the main roost and it helps keep it contained and makes clean up easy. With 100 birds you might need something strong like metal. 



That’s a really good idea! I think I’ll take that idea and run with it. I’ll see if I can’t find some scrap tin panels and figure out a way to mount them to help divert the poo. Thanks for the tip!
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