“I have heard of a light moveable coop fence for giving chickens some time to forage out in the yard. We have 10 chickens. Where could we find a plan to make such a fence?” ~ Elinore
Thanks for the question.
There are many options for movable chicken enclosures but if you don’t mind, I’d like to take a minute to explain the concept to new chicken keepers.
In it’s most basic form, a movable “coop” is an enclosed area that is portable, allowing you to move it around your property. It is similar to a run with the amenities of a hen house.
In some circumstances, having a movable “coop” is a real benefit.
If you have plenty of room for your chickens to roam but need to keep them confined for their safety, a movable coop is ideal.
You also might want to allow your chickens to roam but need to keep them out of the garden or some such thing. Confining them while they roam might be of benefit.
If your chickens happen to like ants, positioning the “coop” over an ant hill or in the middle of a grasshopper infestation provides excellent pest control.
It allows your flock to be on fresh ground as often as you move their “coop”.
These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about how having a movable “coop” might be of benefit to you.
You’ll notice that I have been writing coop in quotes. The fact is that this mobile home for your chickens does have all the niceties of home but it is not intended to be a permanent home for your flock.
In most cases a movable coop does not provide enough protection from the elements to be used exclusively and your flock will need a “real coop” as well.
There are many forms the mobile “coop” could take and you can find lots of information on the internet about their construction.
The most common type of construction is a frame built upon side rails. The rails are then raised on either end to attach wheels, allowing the coop to be easily moved.
Provide a door of some sort to allow you to place the chickens inside and gain access for yourself.
The frame is covered with chicken wire.
The shape could be rectangular, A-frame or round (picture a covered wagon).
The size will depend upon how many chickens you plan to keep inside. Allow at least 10 square feet per bird unless you’ll only run them in this structure for brief periods of time and move them to fresh ground often.
Too little space will likely produce bickering amongst the flock. The result will be a drop in egg production, potential wounding or mortality and possible stress induced molting.
A small henhouse is necessary within the enclosure. The chickens need nest boxes in which to lay their eggs. You definitely don’t want your chickens laying their eggs on the ground in a confined space, lots of breakage is almost a guarantee.
They’ll also need a place to roost if you’re keeping them out at night.
You’ll need to be able to close the chickens up into this space to move them because the bottom of the structure should be covered in a large gauge wire to allow the chickens ease of access to the ground.
If your frame is sturdy enough, you might want to consider not covering the bottom at all, unless burrowing or digging predators are a threat.
Of course your chickens will need constant access to fresh, clean water and feed. If you live in an area that is plentiful with insects, your flock will get a large portion of their diet from forage but that will not be complete so you must provide additional feed for them.
If you construct your miniature hen house at one end of the “coop”, you can make a drop down door to allow ease of egg collecting as well as sanitation.
This would allow you to make the structure shorter in height because you won’t have to really get inside other than to provide water and feed.