Reconfigurable range shelter

In May we built a reconfigurable chicken house to hold our new flock of chicks. Since we planned to build a moving rig for it, we located this mini-coop near our back porch for convenience. (Bad idea.) Unfortunately, the summer progressed and I hadn’t finished my moving rig, half the chickens (the “victims”) were relocated to a temporary pen in the garden where they could recover from the Lakenvelder attacks, and it became obvious that we needed to build another coop in the actual chicken pen.

The original reconfigurable house (the “mini-coop”) had a solid floor, fully enclosed walls with removable screen doors, and was designed as a multipurpose structure: chick brooding, deep-litter roosting house for layers, or (with the center panel removed) as goose housing.

This new reconfigurable house (the “range shelter”) is designed to hold the feed, water, and nesting boxes. If needed, it could also act as a feeding station for sheep. The range shelter was built to the same dimensions as the mini-coop, but features a bolted-together frame of posts and beams. The back panel is plywood, as are small sections on the ends and front to provide shear strength. In keeping with it’s “reconfigurable” design, there are a total of six separate C.R.A.P. rails on the structure: two at each end on the inside, two at each end on the outside, and two in the middle.

The range shelter was cheaper, lighter, and faster to build than the mini-coop. It has a metal roof just like the mini-coop, but to keep things simple it’s not removable. Temporarily, we attached scrap boards to the ends and some scrap fencing to the front so we could lock the “victim” chickens in it until they got used to their new view. We also added a small section of roosts so they could practice roosting. The roosts are held up by mounts that hang from the C.R.A.P. rails.

I’m writing this post about 6 weeks after the events described (it’s been busy around here lately). The “victims” chickens spent a few days locked in the range shelter, and then we opened it up and let them free range. The pen to the right of the range shelter in the next picture housed new victims of the Lakenvelders. We eventually had to squeeze all 7 female Lakenvelders in there, leaving the 8 violent males locked in the mini-coop. The Lakenvelder females have since been integrated into the “victims” flock and are also free ranging.

After all the turmoil, the original “victims” were the first to free range, so it didn’t turn out that bad for them. Despite their weeks and weeks in captivity due to our poor planning and busy summer, they quickly adapted to running through the tall grass, eating bugs and seeds.

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7 Responses to Reconfigurable range shelter

  1. looks better then your recovery area! I am sure the hens love it. Freedom!

    I may have to create an actual penned in area during the day as we let our chickens all run free over the property..it was all going fine until the chicks decided that our front steps were a perfect day roost…it is a poop minefield.

    • robin says:

      There is a house not far from us that lets their chickens free range. We will see chickens roosting on their reclining chair that is on their front porch. You may have a poop minefield but at least you don’t have poop chairs to sit in. 🙂

  2. Ann says:

    Thanks for once again reminding me why I DON’T have chickens (yet), LOL.

    “Farm Folly – The Lakenvelder Attacks”. That sounds like it could be a reality TV series. You should put up a chicken cam. To hell with bald eagles, we wanna see Lakenvelders!

    Hoping “busy” equates good, productive busy. Keep your loyal readers posted!

    • robin says:

      HAHAHAAAAA! That is a seriously good name for a post. We are thinking about doing a post some time in the future dedicated to the hellish experience of raising Lakenvelders.

      We definitely have been busy trying to get a few things done before winter comes. I’m typing this right now at 12:01 am, sitting by a propane burner which is canning salsa.

  3. Dan of Henbogle says:

    Robin and Lee,

    Greeting from Henbogle! Question… what do you use to cut the metal roofing? Do you have any suggestions that help the process of getting it done without losing any appendages or causing marital strife? Ali and I have one or two small, metal roof projects on the “list” and your insight would be most helpful! Thanks!

    • lee says:

      That’s a good question! When I built the first reconfigurable chicken house, I literally gave myself a headache from the frustration of trying to cut that delta ridge metal roofing using regular tin snips. I got up and walked around, it calmed a bit, went back to cutting and it was pounding again. It’s like a recipe for an aneurysm if you’ve got the wrong tools.

      Before I built the second coop, I got a pair of offset tin snips and it did work quite a bit better. It’s still a frustrating job of torquing the metal around to keep on your line, and good gloves are a good idea. A contractor friend once told me that the best way to cut a lot of metal roofing was to just put a circular saw blade in backwards and go at it. Tin snips leave a cleaner edge, but the saw might be best for your blood pressure.

      • Dan of Henbogle says:

        Thanks for getting back! I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds certain jobs a test of patience. I’m thinking I’ll go with the snips and gloves. I’m not afraid of using power tools, but I think in this case the “manual” approach will allow me to hang on to both my sanity and my fingers! – Dan

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