For the last seven months I have been obsessed with building the perfect chicken coop. Most of the designs I have seen had features I loved and others I could live without. From my experience at the internship, I learned I wanted an open floor, a roll-away system so the eggs stay clean, and a rain collection system.
I’ve done a lot of research during the cold winter months being stuck inside the barn. Without a doubt, the company Chicken Caravan (based in Australia) makes the most perfect chicken coop known to man. Not only does it have all the features I want, it has a fully welded metal structure with beautiful aluminum siding. However, at $10,000 it is way out of reach for us.
Inspired by the Chicken Caravan, the chicken coops we used at North Plain Farm, and other designs in the book Chicken Coops by Judy Pangman, I came up with a design that used a utility or boat trailer, 2×4 framing, and metal siding and roofing.
Through countless searching on Craigslist, I happened upon an old boat trailer that had been converted into a snowmobile carrier. The owner welded metal bars over it to create an 8′ x 12′ platform. After I saw the listing on Craigslist, I drove an hour to see the trailer, paid cash, and drove home with it that same day.
The mistakes I made building the Guinea shelter helped me along the way with constructing our chicken coop. One side is 5 feet tall, the other three are 4 feet tall. We used PVC covered 16 gauge metal wire with 1 inch holes for the floor. This seemed like a good compromise between protection from predators and allowing droppings to fall below.
For the nesting boxes, we installed a Kuhl 10-hole rear roll-out system. This allows the eggs to roll away from the chickens to ensure they stay clean. A gutter at the bottom of the roof with PVC piping directs all rainwater into a 30 gallon barrel that feeds a Kane automatic waterer.
Overall, I am thrilled with how the coop came out. Let’s hope the chickens are too!