If you’ve been following along, you know we have just one chicken coop (8×10) that we built last year. As you can imagine, with over 100 chicken, we have a chicken housing shortage.
Enter the hoop coop…
This 7×8 structure is light weight. It has a wooden frame covered in chicken wire. The roof is a tarp. There are skids on the bottom that make dragging it a breeze. We (Mr. Awesome mostly) built this in a few hours (let me know if you’d like a tutorial as we’re planning to build another). We moved the Middles into it last week. After keeping them confined for a couple days, we let them out into a paddock created by electrified chicken netting this past weekend. We lost 6 before we put up the netting, but since then they seem to be doing great. We added the Littles this week. Everyone seems to be happy and enjoying the freedom.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you we built another hoop coop first. We used livestock panels mostly following wise instructions from Robert Plamondon. If you’ve never heard of him check out his Practical Poultry Tips blog. Its full of great information he’s gleaned over many years of pastured chicken farming. While instructing Mr. Awesome how to build it, I missed on key instruction “If the front and rear walls drag on the ground, the house is very difficult to move…”. While we wondered why it was so difficult to move, Mr. Awesome decided to build a lighter one. Which is the one we are using now.
The “heavy” one will be modified shortly to correct the rear wall dragging issue and add nest boxes, then Bigs will be moved in (no more chicken poop on the porch and my tomato plants will be safe). Ultimately, we’ll build one more this season which will incorporate the good parts of both of the hoop coops we’ve built thus far.
All three will be enclosed by the same electric netting. That is approximately 110 chickens in 10,000 square feet. Based on a stocking density of 50 chickens per acre, we should be moving the chickens to a new 10,000 square foot paddock once per week. Within the paddock we’ll move the coops a few feet each day to spread the evening poop over the whole of the paddock. That’s the plan. I’ll keep you updated as we adjust.