Portable chicken coops are handy for several reasons and may serve several purposes for the small flock owner. Below are pictures of just one type of yard ark, or portable coop. You are limited only by your available materials, building skills and imagination.
In my part of the country, a portable coop could only be practical in the warmer months. Winter storms and temperatures in the teens would make it unsuitable for poultry year round.
As you look at the pictures below, you'll notice that the roosting box is small. Roughly 27 cubic feet of interior space. The entire design is best suited to a small group of bantam chickens. The bottom is open to allow free grazing activities when the birds are not inside the roost. You simply lift the handles on the large door side and roll the coop to a new location every couple of days, depending on how many chickens are in it and how much you want them to do with your ground.
The side screens are 1x2 inch cage wire and the roof material is only 3/16 inch thick. The object is to construct a coop which is light enough to be rolled by one adult, yet heavy enough to remain stationary in heavy winds and summer storms. The framing is mostly 2x4 material and the entire thing is heavily coated with exterior grade premium stain. The framing joints have been glued with gorilla glue and reinforced with stainless screws.
The hen door is lockable and has a strong latch. As the bottom is open, predators may be able to gain access at night, so birds must have a safe lockable retreat in the roost. Raccoons have great abilities when it comes to fiddling with latches, assuming they are strong enough to get through the initial framing and cage wire. The beauty of a portable coop is, any tunneling animal doesn't have day after day to work on digging under and when and if they do get under, they still have the box to get through. So, it's pretty safe.
Portable coops may serve as a year round enclosure if you're in the south or in an area where snow loads are not a problem. Just remember to limit the number of birds so they are not crowded. This design would be fine for three hens and a rooster, of any of the bantam breeds.
There are ventilation slats at the top sides and interior facing wall of the roost. The roof keeps wind driven rain from coming into that space. The side panel opens on one side, allowing access for cleaning. Notice the perch slats are removable and only held in place by stops. The interior of the roost box has a lip around all edges so litter does not flow out or get scratched out through the hen door when open. Feeder and drinker are suspended from a 2x2 inch strut which runs the width of the roost floor. Holes were pre-drilled during construction for this purpose. One nest box is needed for every four hens, there is a nest box which is simply hung on the wire inside the pen area, beneath the ramp to the hen door. (not pictured)
This portable coop is featured in the housing section of the DVD Regarding Chickens, all aspects of it's use are described in detail there. Best of luck with your own portable projects!
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