Why Portable Chicken Coops Are Ideal
Portable chicken coops are ideal for
backyard farmers desiring the benefits of pastured eggs. You can keep a
small flock in a small amount of space
and then move them around. The mobility is helpful in
First, chickens can be messy. They can tear up a barnyard in a short period of time by eating the grass and scratching. They scratch with their feet to find the worms and other insects they prefer. Being able to move your chickens around will also help to ensure they have plenty to eat. While it will probably be necessary to supplement what they can dig out of the ground with a little poultry feed, the inclusion of worms and bugs in their diet increases their egg output and it increases the eggs nutritional value.
You may have read about the nutritional improvement gained by allowing chickens to range freely. But free-roaming is not always possible or advisable. By being able to move them around, you are creating a free-roaming effect. Eggs from free-roamers have a higher content of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and less omega- 6s. The eggs may contain less cholesterol too, according to a study by Mother Earth News. Taste is another big advantage -- once you've had bright orange-yolk eggs for free ranging hens, it's hard to go back to pale, tasteless grocery store eggs.
Portable chicken coops or tractors, as they are sometimes called, vary in design. One of the nicest designs makes it easy to gather eggs by including an upper and a lower section. The lower section is for feeding and grazing. The hens use the upper section for laying their eggs and for roosting at night. The upper section can be opened to make egg-gathering a breeze.
If you want to allow your hens to brood, which is the term used to describe hens that are sitting on their eggs in order to hatch them, you may want to invest in two tractors. Broody hens, as the name suggests, like to be left alone.
Portable chicken coops vary in size, as well. A 60x50 rectangular shape that is about 40 inches high will provide a good environment for 3-5 hens, depending on the size. Larger breeds may need a little more space. The large portable coop pictured to the right can fit 10 or more hens.
If you do want to incubate some of your eggs for hatching, you will need a rooster. One rooster for 3-5 hens works. Too many roosters cause problems for the hens. Roosters do provide a level of protection and leadership for the hens, in addition to the ability to produce fertile eggs.
Portable chicken coops and tractors are available ready-made for a reasonable price. If you are a handy do-it-yourself type, plans are available to make it easy to build your own.
Moveable coops are great for raising chickens in a healthy, safe environment. are uniquely designed to ensure the structures are long-lasting. Depending on the size you select, most are easily moved. The portability is sometimes a nice feature to have.
You can buy a ready- made coop, including the ones pictured on this page, or build one from plans available for download. If you do build it yourself, be careful to buy outdoor grade lumber, such as pressure-treated wood and other long-lasting materials.
How to Build a Chicken Coop - detailed plans and construction guide for making backyard coops.
These chicken coop plans and building guide are the best I've found, and purchased them myself to build our first coops. There are five different chicken coops included, beginning with the most basic double-story ark and culminating with the largest design, the Chicken Barn with attached screened-in chicken yard. I want to use their plans again for their largest chicken coop, the chicken barn, when we are ready to upsize our chicken flock's habitat. The coop pictured here is a medium-sized all-in-one design.
Recommended Chicken Books:
- Homemade Living - Keeping Chickens: All You Need to Know to Care for a Happy, Healthy Flock by Ashley English
- Storey's Guide - Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow
- Barnyard in Your Backyard - A Beginner's Guide to Raising Chickens, Ducks, Geese, Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, and Cattle
Favorite Chicken Quotes
“ A chicken you eat only once — eggs a hundred times." ~ Tajikistani Proverb
“ You cannot cook one half of the chicken and leave the other to lay eggs." ~ Sanskrit Proverb
“ You don’t have to kill the chicken to get eggs." ~ French Proverb