Preliminary Chicken Ark Plans

Chicken ArkWhat’s a chicken ark?  It’s a moveable chicken coop that doesn’t have a floor.  Some people call them chicken tractors but the term “chicken ark” applies more to the “A-Frame” style pictured.

Here’s what I am looking for in a coop:

  • Small  –  I only want 3-4 hens
  • Portable  –  we’ll be renting a house and I can’t dedicate a set area for a coop and run and I don’t want to destroy the grass in any part of the yard.  The coop will need to be moved every couple of days or so.
  • Secure but still easily accessible for cleaning, food and water changing, and egg gathering.
  • Stylish  –  although last, this definitely isn’t least.  I don’t want to create an eyesore that neighbors might hate to look at.  I want something I can be proud of!

There were several types of coops that I fell in love with but the chicken ark was the design that met these requirements the best.  I looked around online for some plans to build my own chicken ark but I couldn’t find anything that matched the size I wanted or the style I wanted.  Then I found THE coop for sale at:  http://handcraftedcoops.com/small-portable-chicken-coopChicken Ark

Unfortunately, I don’t have the $400 + shipping to spend on this beautiful coop.  My husband is already unsure of the cost-effectiveness of owning chickens for the eggs.  Honey, think of them more as pets . . . with benefits.  So I knew that I needed to try to build my own.  Therefore, I have sketched a design based on (okay, okay exactly like) this lovely abode.

Luckily, a large part of an interior design degree consists of learning how to make technical drawings.  And I’m just old enough that we still were doing a bit of hand-drafting as CAD was just becoming more and more a part of the curriculum the last two years.  Couple this with a weekend with plenty of downtime in the camper at the Grand Canyon last weekend and I’ve got a very VERY preliminary set of sketches for this chicken ark.  I hope to do some CAD plans up once I have mine built and I know exactly what materials I use and cut lists and so forth.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Preliminary sketches for Chicken Ark
These are the A-frame ends for the coop. I’m thinking that the outer frame will be built with 1×3″s. The doors and wall slats will attach to the A framework.
Chicken Ark Prelim Plans #2
Side view and Upper floor layout. The ramp will be operated by a small chain connected to the un-hinged end that runs up through the floor and then through the side of one end. I’m still figuring out a way to best secure it to keep the girls safe. I’m also debating whether I want the side panel access door to completely lift off or be hinged.
Chicken Ark Prelim Plans #3
Okay – don’t laugh. This is my horribly dis-proportioned sketch of how I think it might best go together. (Remember, I did these in a camper with a credit card for a ruler.)  What I was thinking was to build out each frame separately. That will make it easy to put on screening, walls, and doors before putting it all together. The side panels will attach on top of the end “a-frames”.

There are many details that are yet to be filled in but I’m a creative sort so I’ll probably wing it a little and hope for the best and see what comes out!  One thing that I worry about are predators.  I’ve heard that if you put a hardware cloth “skirt” around the bottom outer edges of the coop it deters predators from digging to go underneath.  The skirt lays parallel to the ground for 6″-12″ since predators tend to dig right next to the walls and if they can’t get through there – they (supposedly) give up.  Have any of you tried this?

Do you have any thoughts or tips for me?  Although my mom raised chickens, I consider myself a newbie in this venture.  Let me know what has worked for you and your girls!

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