Author Topic: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop  (Read 5281 times)

Offline JLMissouri

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The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« on: September 20, 2012, 11:32:56 PM »
 I have refined my original design, and finished my new coop. Every good idea I have had in the last six years of working with the original PVC chicken coop was incorporated into the new coop. A completely automatic chicken nipple watering system. Food bowls that are fenced of and elevated so that they come with the coop when it is moved, and keep the chickens from moving them to the back of the coop or crapping in them. Food bowl access doors on both sides. Nest boxes at standing height with egg basket hooks right there. Open bottom coop for using a deep litter system in the winter. Able to be electrified to stop even the most determined predator. Below is a link to the my youtube video, sorry if its not the best, still getting used to editing and it is windy here often.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxNfbjwO6YI
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Offline Nicodemus

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2012, 07:15:56 AM »
Cool chicken tractor, JL!


Offline heliotropicmoth

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2012, 07:34:22 AM »
I will be building mine out of wood but I am going to use some of his ideas. I really liked the fence you put in the coup to keep the chickens from standing in the feed. Good video.

Offline NWBowhunter

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2012, 07:34:58 AM »
Nice chicken tractor. Your watering system is very cool.
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Offline JLMissouri

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2012, 04:38:44 PM »
Thanks, it has cut the time needed for chicken care considerably. I used to hate crawling in there to get my food bowls that somehow always managed to get towards the back. I plan on using this one for awhile, then next year I will be building two more as I build up my flock to a small commercial level. I plan on rebuilding the old coop as a rabbit tractor, and as a chick pen. The pens are the same width as the raised beds are going to be in my garden, also the walkway between the raised beds will be this width as well.

This winter I am going to test using an aquarium heater in the waterer. Several years back we used the submersible style aquarium heater in the one gallon rubber water bowls. It worked, but they burned out pretty quick, probably why they were on clearance. This time I am putting a bracket in the bucket and using one of the standard style heaters.
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Offline cheryl1

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2012, 12:05:47 PM »
Do you anchor this to the ground in any way so it doesn't get blown away in a windstorm? (Sorry if you said this in your video, but I can only get a few still shots to load, not the whole video)
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Offline JLMissouri

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2012, 10:56:03 PM »
I don't anchor it in anyway, if it blew away it would be getting hairy. It is light for its size, but still plenty heavy to be blown away. I have had some heavy winds, one time it was so windy it lifted my 16' aluminum boat off its trailer and broke the old rope that held it down. Even with that wind we had no problems with the old style coop and this one is heavier. The wind doesn't have much to catch except the actual coop. The run is chicken wire so wind just goes through. The coop is 5' wide 4' long and 5'+ high.
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Offline JerryS

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2012, 09:31:27 PM »
On the aquarium heaters:

The idea is sound however the reason the aquarium heaters burned out is they are not designed for situations where they are constantly on.  They are designed for light duty just warm the water up a bit occasionally.  Not constantly running to keep the water from freezing.

To do what you want you will have to go with something more heavy duty.  Some quick searches turned up heated dog water bowls.  You should be able to repurpose them into something workable with your watering system.


Offline JLMissouri

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2012, 10:40:35 PM »
Thanks for the suggestion. The aquarium heaters might just be to wusy, I think I will look into using the element and thermostat out of a water heater. That should be heavy duty and have enough power to warm up the water so that the nipple waterers will not freeze over.
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Offline zackandjen2004

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2012, 08:59:02 AM »
Wouldn't the small supply line be more susceptible to freezing?  Or are you going to haul water in the winter?  I have a plastic fount that has a heater element in its base.   Nipples are great until they drip..drip..drip..  I tried a homemade nipple drinker in our brooder and had problems.
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Offline eph2

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2012, 01:23:09 AM »
Great ideas!

Offline JLMissouri

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2012, 12:12:04 AM »
I used the small line for multiple reasons, the small line is way cheaper, can be ran along the electric fence, and if it does break it will not leak as much as a garden hose. It is very easy to move the coop to another location and run the small line vs lugging around several hundred feet of garden hose. I can screw a garden hose right to the water bucket. I have not tested my theories on using this system in winter yet. The small line may freeze easier, but it will also thaw easier as well so I don't see a disadvantage. What would be ideal is to hook the small line to a timer which will run water for several minutes then flush the line with air. I don't have a great way of doing this automatically yet, but it is the best way I know. I am not sure if I will bother as I pull the coop close to the house and use a deep bedding system in the winter. The bucket of water lasts close to a week in the winter, so refilling it manually wouldn't be bad at all.
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Offline NassPrep

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2012, 06:27:22 PM »
If you put the water bucket inside the coop, then dont move it as much in the winter then the buildup of manure should warm it enough to keep it from freezing I'd bet. It doesnt matter if it freezes a bit on top so long as the water keeps flowing. I'd be more worried about the hose personally.

The coop really does look great though!
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Offline archer

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2012, 07:04:12 PM »
good design!


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Offline jaseemtp

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2012, 07:06:17 PM »
That is awesome!  I will have to try and make one for next seasons chicken experiment
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Offline NassPrep

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2012, 01:40:20 PM »
A great thing about chicken tractors is you can make them from just about anything! Take for instance the local junk pickup day in towns, all those chairs out there are filled with scrap wood just perfect in size for chicken tractors, wheels that can be popped off of broken strollers/furniture/bikes, and other goodies.
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Offline prepgal

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2012, 06:17:49 PM »
Genius!
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Offline IFixTeeth2000

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2012, 10:50:30 PM »
Hey... you've inspired me.  That is exactly what I have been looking for.

Before I watch your video deconstructing your design over and over again to write out a shopping list of supplies, do you happen to already have one made?

I'm in Missouri also (Kansas City area).  What do you during for heat / light during the winter?

The video was awesome - any more advice or design specs you have would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,

Mark

Offline jaseemtp

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2012, 12:54:54 PM »
I would love a parts list as I will be doing my best to build one this winter. 
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Offline JLMissouri

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2012, 09:06:41 PM »
I originally planned on having a parts list, but lost track of what was used during construction. I will try to post a rough list of what is needed soon. The hardest items to get are the special pvc fittings to make the coop. I ordered a large quantity from the factory to get a lower price. If you search online you can find them, several sites have them for PVC furniture. There are cheaper ways to build coops, but I like the longevity and the time saved with this design.

I don't heat during winter, it doesn't get that cold in Missouri. I am convinced in milder climates heating a coop is a bad idea. I have never lost a chicken to cold weather and only had a problem with cold one winter when I did use a heat lamp. I let my chickens rest in the winter, although in the future I plan on having several coops and will let one flock rest while the other flock will be kept laying with lights. Half way through winter I will switch which flock has lights and let the other rest.

Mark, if you ever make it up north you are welcome to take a look at the coop or anyone else for that matter. I live five miles from Macon. I actually go down to KC every month or so to hit the big scrap yards they have down there.

 One thing I am looking for is plastic sheats to use instead of the exterior wood siding. It would be lighter and stronger. I have seen them in food plants before, but cannot find any local. I am going to order some from online when I find the best source.
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Offline JLMissouri

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2012, 10:33:19 AM »
Okay here is a rough list of materials needed for building the tractor:

The frame is 2" conduit, I recomend conduit instead of sewer pipe as the conduit is treated to resist UV dergadation.

10x 10' 2" sticks of conduit
11x 2" Three ways

4x Three way corner, special order
6x Four way, special order

The hoops and doors are made from 1/2" conduit.

11x 10' 1/2" sticks of conduit
20x 1/2" elbows
3x 1/2" three ways
5x 1/2" four way crosses

2 sheets of 4x8 siding or preferably heavy plastic for the doors
3 sheets of 4x8 heavy vinyl
1 8' corrugated plastic window

I also used three handles, 13 hinges, 9 hook and eyes, 10 eyes and 6 carabiner clips. I also used an unknown amount of used baler twine that I braided into roped and used to keep the carabiner clips tied to the cage. I used a heavy pipe that had lawnmower wheel lugs welded to the end for the axle. I used a larger piece of roofing so that there was an overhand on the edges. I think that is everything, I may be off slightly but it will be close.
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Offline PreppingMom

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2012, 05:33:22 PM »
Love your tractor ideas.We make similar watering systems with a small bucket for our rabbits, except, instead of the toilet float we use an evaporative water cooler float that attaches through to side of the bucket at the top. Not sure the difference in price, but it would seem to be better to come through the side of the bucket and not the bottom.
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Offline jaseemtp

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2012, 05:36:49 PM »
Jl
Thanks for the parts list. This gives me a way to estimate cost as that's how I have to present it to the wife. You rock man
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Offline PreppingMom

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2012, 07:48:59 PM »
So, I took a few minutes to look up the two float valves at Home Depot.

The plastic Fluid Master toilet valve is $7.48, (#400ARP25).

The evaporative cooler valve is $7.98 (#4154) for the brass and $4.58 (#4102) for a plastic.

Another advantage of the cooler valve is it is already 1/4" so less parts to make it work with the 1/4" supply tubing.

Hope that is helpful!

« Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 07:54:06 PM by PreppingMom »
But the Little Red Hen said, "No, you won't. I will."

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Offline microdevil45

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #24 on: November 01, 2012, 07:26:03 PM »
Very Nice tractor.... :D  Props given




Offline Bonnieblue2A

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A few questions after watching the video........
« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2012, 08:38:44 PM »
If a person were to try to use this chicken tractor setup well beyond the reach of a hose, would adding another water bucket (2-5 gal.) be enough during the course of a day for the chickens?

How well are those round PVC perches working for you? Would something more squared or out of a different material make using the perch easier for the birds?

Is the design adaptable for being moved with an ATV or small farm tractor?

Thanks! The looks both awesome and doable. I really want chickens next spring.  ;D

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Offline JLMissouri

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2012, 08:52:55 PM »
 I tried to find a valve similiar to what you are describing when I built my bucket waterer, but they are not sold in my area. The closest thing is a float valve for a stock tank and it is more expensive. I like the idea of a side valve going straight to the poly line without the adapters, and I found a similar valve that I am going to try for $8. The toilet valve coming out the bottom doesn't cause any problems, but the advantage of going straight to the poly line is worth looking into. The toilet valve does have one advantage as the fluidmaster can adjust to vary the depth of the water. I searched Home Depot's website as well as Lowes with no luck in finding the valves, maybe because my home store doesn't have them. Would you post or send me a link PreppingMom?

I have a cross bar out of 1 1/2" pipe and a top perch out of 2". My chickens have no problems getting to the nest boxes, even the Bantams can get up easily. At night the chockens roost on the perches and in the nest bpxes.

I drag my chicken tractor around myself, and have moved it pretty far before. As long as you are going across level ground its not bad at all. My wife can drag it too, so it can't be too bad. I see no reason why it couldn't be moved with an ATV or a tractor, but I wouldn't bother with using one.

I have 16 chickens in my coop currently and the bucket has enough water for atleast two days in late summer weather as I didn't have the water on at one time. The good thing with the bucket waterer is there is no waste or evaporation. I am going to run some tubing to the outside of my coop from the bucket waterer and connect it to the bottom of a length of 3" PVC in order to fill the bucket waterer manually without having to climb into the coop and take the lid off just for situations in the future where I don't want to run the line, or winter filling.
www.JLMissouri.com      Lewis Family Farm

Offline NorIDhunter

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2012, 08:37:25 AM »
Thanks for some great inspiration! I've just gotten back into chickens after a long absence and am looking to do things more sustainably than the old "coop & run". Your nesting buckets/access and the food bowl restriction fence will definitely be going in my project.
Kudos for sharing!!  8)
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Offline Ashaldaron

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Re: The Ultimate PVC Pipe Chicken Tractor/Coop
« Reply #29 on: November 27, 2012, 05:36:56 PM »
Awesome tractor man.   I can't wait to build one once I move.