Project having to do with the outdoors, such as deck remodeling..
This post should probably be entitled “Chicken Tractor – Lack of Planning” instead, however it is sometimes fun to just start on a project and see where it leads. The results are generally a little off from what you originally intended, but that’s ok.
My sister and I worked the past few weekends on building my brother a mobile chicken coop (aka “chicken tractor”) for his birthday. The idea to do this for him was all my sister’s, but she enlisted my help and we built the unit together in my garage. Originally we had the plan roughed out on paper, but I tried to put some exact dimensions to it by creating the diagram in Sketchup. This was helpful for flushing out the material list, especially because it is easy to use the tape measure tool in Sketchup. For instance, just by clicking two times you can tell the distance of the lengths of a hypotenuse instead of getting out a calculator or using graph paper. In the end, I probably should have done more than just layout the skeleton of the coop as some of the details came into play at the end.
In actuality, I don’t think we ran into any major snags. One thing that we wouldn’t have easily figured out from Sketchup is the end weight of the finished unit. We were conscious of this when the unit was being constructed, but it definitely was more apparent when we had it completed and located in grass instead of on smooth concrete.
Here’s an end shot of the nesting box areas. The floor portions are removable for easier cleaning. Apparently there are dimensions that are more comfortable for chickens to help them feel cozy and safe. I’m not sure the angled roof makes it worse or better, but I’d say probably more cozy as chickens are somewhat triangular themselves.
Also chickens need to take a dirt bath now and then. Another fact I was not aware of before this project. You want to have a tray located away from their feed and water. This necessitated an access panel on the side in order to add or remove the tray.
The two items that really added to the weight are the chicken wire and the cedar shingles themselves. It was hard to tell how much cedar shingles to get in the first place. This all depend on the overlap and the amount of bad cedar shingles in the bundle. Lowes was ‘low’ on what they had on hand and we end up basically finishing off what they had which was pretty rough… and the Home Depot next door didn’t even stock them!
Rare earth magnets sound like a really neat idea for holding one of the hatches closed, however I found out that the strength required to pull them apart with your fingers doesn’t always translate directly to holding a door shut. Some form of secondary latch may be required (I’ll need to check with my brother on this to find out of any chickens we able to run into the door hard enough to jar it open.
The hardest part of the build was cutting the angular ridge boards out of treated stock. Sometimes it would be nice to have a table saw that could crank slightly past 45 degrees! We ended up adding an extra pair of wheels on each side as this balanced out the carriage bolt and kept it from trying to twist the bottom runner board.
I finally have 3 coats of stain on the deck. I ended up waiting a while – like half a year, as this seemed to be the stronger argument out there on the Internet for when or how soon to stain a deck. It seemed to really suck the stain up and so I’ve decided to try to quench it’s thirst and have gone over most of the horizontal surfaces 3 times using the Olympic brand of stain. I really like how the water beads up now after a rain…
Ohh.. and by the way, you may have noticed that the site is a different URL/domain name now instead of “junkwood.info”… I’m just being thrify as the renewal price isn’t as attractive the 2nd year, so I opted to get a different one. Hopefully this doesn’t mess you up too bad if you’re following along.. I tried to force the old site to automatically forward to the new “junkwood.info” name.
And to further prove how cheap I’ve become, I’m planning on posting next on the home-built lawn aerator that I “built” from junk I had mostly laying around in my garage and my brother’s. 😉
Ohhh.. one more thing.. here’s an update RSS Feed link as well..
Ok.. I know that this isn’t a real woodworking post, but I thought it might be interesting to see the Top Bar Beehive my brother and I built in some of the previous posts in action, so here’s a video of it for you to check out. My brother added some metal legs, a roof, […]
My brother and I tore into the beehives today and pretty much got them completed. That is all except for the legs and lids, which he is planning on taking care of himself. We ended up spending most of the morning and afternoon working on them and made a lot of sawdust in the […]
My brother is planning on doing some bee-keeping this year. He emailed me the plans for a hive someone had posted online and we thought we could make it out of some of the oak I had laying around. The plans mostly call for boards 12″ in width so we ended up doing some surface […]