Category Archives: building

Cattle Panel Chicken Shelter: Part 1

This have been a bit crazy around here lately and I plan to update y’all soon. In the meantime I want to share how we’re building another great (hopefully) chicken shelter.

I used treated 2″x4″ lumber for the base. The two side boards are 10′ long and the three in the middle are 12′ long. Place the 10′ boards on the outside on the 12′ boards as shown.

You’ll need 3 sheets of 4’x8′ treated plywood to make the floor. There are plenty of good designs out there for shelters without floors. I have too much money and time invested in our broilers to risk losing them to predators or flooding, thus I want a floor.
With the 2″x4″s set up the way I have them the plywood will not fit perfectly. I did this on purpose to provide as much floor space as possible. Position the plywood in from the edges the width of the 2″x4″. There may still be a small gap but the sides angle in enough that I don’t think it will cause any problems. Or, if you’d prefer, you can frame it to fit exactly.

Here you can see the cattle panels on and the three braces. Put the panels on first. You’ll need 2 standard cattle panels 16′ long and you’ll need to overlap them a few inches. You may want the front panel to stick out a few inches in front of the floor to provide an overhang. Hammer in fence staples to hold it on the 2″x4″. Have someone help you pull up the other side or use a rope to hold the curve, then secure the other side. Repeat with the second panel. It helps to wire the two panels together in a couple places before securing both ends.
We added the braces later after measuring exactly how tall the panel was in the place we wanted. The two braces in front will provide a door way so make the gap as wide as you need. We screwed the two braces in from the side so they sit on top of the floor. The back single brace is attached to the back of the 2″x4″ for extra support.

Next, attach chicken wire around the sides and the back. I used some that I had, about 2′ tall I think. You can see the fence staples holding the cattle panel in place, along with the regular staples holding the chicken wire to the lumber.

Here you can see how I held up the top of the wire. Simply use more wire to pull it taught against the panel. I’ll have to get a better picture showing the wire from far away. As I said, I’m only putting a short piece around the 3 sides. The tarp covering should contain the birds from there.

Stay tuned for the next steps, especially if you can’t quite picture the final result. This project is more of an experiment than the eggmobile but I’ll share how it works for us and any changes we make. I did get a lot more accomplished on it today so expect an update soon.


The Lambs are Confused…

Apparently the lambs misunderstood how their feeder works. It is supposed to be a walk-thru feeder for people to walk-thru and dispense feed, not a walk-in feeder for little lambs to play in. They must have missed the memo about that.

Building An Eggmobile: Part 2

This is a follow up post to Building An Eggmobile: Part 1.

I apologize for not taking pictures of each step this time. We were both wore out and just wanted the thing done!

Tall side: We went with a chicken wire front here for ventilation with intentions of a roll down tarp to cover the front if needed. The door is split with a small door at the bottom. This was easier than making separate little doors for the chickens.

One end: You can see the black soot from the fire. We salvaged all the siding from the shed that burned.

The front end with the hitch. We’ll use the four wheeler to move it around and prop it up so it will sit level.

The rear aspect: This is our favorite part!! No more squatting down to reach for eggs while Mr. Rooster plans his attack on your hind end.

The egg door opens downward so you don’t have to hold it up while gathering eggs. I put a little straw in the boxes for now but would like to switch to washable mats.

Umm…a little privacy please!?

Here’s what is left to do:
Secure a board across the top of the nest box. The hens have already knocked out 2 of the top dividers.
Hang curtains in front of the boxes.
Install roosts. Along with the curtains this should deter roosting on the nest boxes
Paint the outside.
Build a ramp for the chickens.

The most important part to do yet is install a new fence charger and set up the poultry netting. I’ll share more about that when we get to it.

The total cost in $$$ for us was about $45. $40 for the trailer and $5 for screws. We salvaged all the boards, plywood, and siding material from the burned shed. The chicken wire and nails have been around for awhile. The caulk was free after rebate at Menard’s a long time ago. I did use some staples to secure the chicken wire to the front. Even if you purchased all new materials I think you could build this thing for around $500, based on prices in our area. I didn’t do that math, that is just a rough estimate.

Total time involved was probably around 10 hours. Things would have gone a lot faster with new lumber. There was a lot of cutting and measuring to make our boards fit were we wanted. Plus, we were tearing things off the old shed and pulling a lot of nails out of the boards as we went. If anyone would like more details or measurements just ask.

Any questions or comments? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions or help with ideas for your own eggmobile.

The Chickens Have Moved In!

The hens seem to love their new nest boxes!! As soon as I put straw in them they were all about it. There were 3 1/2 hens in one box at one point. Overall, we’re both thrilled with how it turned out, at least so far.

I’m not going to post many details tonight because I’m exhausted! Brian and I haven’t been in the house before 10 o’clock since Tuesday night, thus the lack of posts since then. We worked on the eggmobile Wednesday and Thursday nights. Tonight he worked ground while I mulched the garden and cleaned out the old coop. I’ll let it air out tonight and move the new chicks out there in the morning.

Have a good one! 🙂

Building An Eggmobile: Part 1

This weekend we began building our eggmobile. The intention is to use it for our laying flock during the warmer months, in conjunction with an electric poultry net. I told Brian to pretend it was a fun project. He was not convinced! 😉

I bought the trailer from my Dad for $40. It is made from the bed of an old S-10 pickup. The deck measures approx. 5′ x 8′. First, a little planning…

5×8= 40 sq. ft.
Approx 1 sq. ft. per bird = 40 bird maximum
1 nest box per 4 hens = 10 nest boxes minimum
I also calculated perch requirements but don’t have the figures in front of me…

We wanted a single sloping roof to make construction easier. I didn’t want to lose floor space so we added a 1′ overhang to the floor on one of the long sides, thus making a nice spot for the nest boxes.

First we put on a base made of 2×4’s. Brian drilled in to the metal frame and bolted the boards right to it. We salvaged the 2x4s from pieces that didn’t burn on our shed, so they didn’t cost us anything. That means I spent most of my time pulling old nails out of the boards while Brian did most of the actual construction.

Once the base was on we started to build up. The short side (with the overhang) needed to be at least 2′ tall to allow for 2 nest boxes stacked on top of each other, at 1′ tall each. The 8′ long x 2′ high area will hold 16 nest boxes total and they will each measures approx. 1’x1’x1′. Make sense?

We decided to make the other side 5′ tall so that a person can enter from that side to clean or dispense feed. We want the walk in door on the side so that we can climb in, even when the trailer is not hooked to something, without worrying about it tipping over. Picture a giant seesaw if we step on the bumper.

Then we added 2 angled pieces, one at each end. I hope the shadowing hides our gaps, neither one of us remembered much from geometry. We are not builders, and this is why!! We didn’t have a saw that would cut the angles we did finally figure, but things still came together fine.

Then we added the two cross pieces.

At this point we drug up some siding, also salvaged from the shed fire. I patched the old nail holes with indoor/outdoor painters’ caulk.

Then we attached 2 pieces of siding to make the roof. Brian used special screws with washers to hold on the siding. The pieces were the perfect width with only a slight overhang on each side. We left some overhang in the front. We also left the back long for now, figuring it will be easier to trim now that it is attached and held solidly.

That’s as far as we’ve gotten so far. I’m picturing the walk in door over that tire on the tall side, with a chicken access door to each side of that. Nest boxes along the back wall, perches where ever they will fit best. The birds will only be confined at night and during inclement weather so it should be comfortable for them. In the near future we will have about 32 birds (knock on wood), so that should be just right.

We’re planning to close the rest in with siding and possible add foam board to insulate the roof. I’d like to leave a gap open at the top to screen for ventilation but I’m not sure how much that will let in wind and rain. Plus, I don’t want the wind getting in and causing the whole thing to tip over.

Watch for part 2, whenever we get the time! 🙂