Chicks are six weeks old and are in the coop – I’m training them to be able to call them back to the coop, so right now, they are snuggled in pretty tight. I’ve been handling them pretty often to get them accustomed to humans, so not to be skittery. I’ve not read anything about trying to make chickens less scared of humans, and came up with my own methodology – try to hold each chick for as long and as often as I can!
My chicken coop has a 12 foot run where the chickens can be safe behind a poultry fence, and easily access their food, water and shelter. The problem that I foresaw was that my coop was so big and bulky, that I did not think that I would ever move it (certainly requires two people). I foresaw that after a few months of the chickens picking at the ground, it would soon turn the grass into dust, which would look as attractive as bald patches on Donald Trumps head. I needed to add wheels to the bottom of my coop so I could push it when I wanted to. The problem with adding wheels to a coop is that if the coop is off the ground, then predators, such as raccoons, foxes and wolves can easily get inside the coop. Good for wild animals, chickens, not so much.
Last week or so, “Everybody Needs a Felix” showed up at the house. We had planned a Peruvian Pachamanca party (which will probably be the subject of my next post), and I have to say, that I was perhaps the worst host in history. I delegated the wood gathering and the firepit master roles to various guests for the Pachamanca, while Felix and I discussed and worked on putting wheels on the coop.
After much discussion on how we were going to achieve this, I described my goals – I wanted something similar to a paramedic gurney. That is, I wanted to be able to lift the coop, and wheels would pop up to be able to be rolled. I think the way a paramedic gurney works is that when you lift the bed, legs that have been folded accordion style fall to the ground and lock it in the perfect height to be able to push the bed into an ambulance.
After much searching, we found a YouTube video that demonstrated an easy-to-make system that works fairly well and was very inexpensive. Because a picture is worth a thousand words and a video ten thousand, I’ll include a video of the working system here. The video is less than 20 seconds and I encourage you all to see it so that you understand exactly what we built.
You can see from the video that the wheels and axle should drop by themselves. I have to use my foot to push the axle because I added a poultry floor to my coop to prevent critters (read: foxes, raccons and wolves) from digging into the coop and this floor is creating friction between the wheels and the side of the coop.
Some additional photos here:
MATERIALS NEEDED and COSTS for two sets of wheels:
|1″ PVC pipe||Two 2′ sections||$4|
|1/2″ galvanized steel pipe||Two 3′ sections||$18|
|5/8″ bolt||Four 8″ bolts||$12|
|9″ diameter wheels with 5/8″ axle||Four||$24|
|5″ x 1/4″ bolts||Four||$1|
Assembly instructions are here. All-in-all, I’m very pleased with the wheel system. Its very easy to push the coop with a single hand when both sides are up on wheels. Actually, if you are on an extreme budget, you could halve the budget and only get half the number of items and put only a single wheel axel on one side of your coop and when you wanted to move it, you could pick up the side without wheels and push it a-la-wheelbarrow.
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