Things You'll Need
24-inch 2-by-2s, 4 pieces
48-inch 2-by-2s, 4 pieces
Variable speed drill
Philips head screw tip
2 1/2-inch drywall screws
36-inch 2-by-2s, 4 pieces
54-inch 2-by-2s, 4 pieces
72-inch 1-by-4s, 4 pieces
1/16-inch drill bit
1 1/2-inch drywall screws
24-by-36-by-1/2-inch plywood, 1 piece
1-inch drywall screws
24-by-24-by-1/2-inch plywood, 1 piece
24-by-54-by-1/2-inch plywood, 1 piece
24-inch piano hinge with screws
48-by-114-inch chicken wire, 1 piece
36-by-48-inch chicken wire, 2 pieces
The average do-it-yourselfer can build a portable chicken coop, called a chicken tractor, in one afternoon. The advantage of a chicken tractor is you can use it to fertilize your garden with chicken manure without moving it from a different location. Set the chicken tractor in the garden, put a couple of chickens inside and let nature take its course. Constructing the chicken tractor from 2-by-2-inch lumber makes it light and movable.
Secure the 24-inch 2-by-2s on one end of the 48-inch 2-by-2s with the drywall screws to form an L-shape with the 24-inch piece standing upright. Secure the 36-inch 2-by-2s to the other end of the 48-inch pieces in the same manner.
Place the 54-inch 2-by-2s on top of the 24 and 36-inch pieces. Secure them with the drywall screws. These are the frames for the chicken tractor.
Put the four 72-inch 1-by-4s on a worktable so the wide side is facing up. Measure from one end and make marks at 23 1/4, 24 3/4, 47 1/4 and 48 3/4-inches. Put the combination square on the marks and draw lines across the wide side of the wood. Drill two 1/16-inch pilot holes between the lines and 3/4-inch from the ends. These are the runners for the chicken tractor.
Stand the frames up so the 24- and 36-inch pieces are vertical. Fasten the runners to the top and bottom of the vertical pieces through the pilot holes with the 1 1/2-inch drywall screws.
Attach the 24-by-36-by-1/2-inch plywood to the runners on one end of the chicken tractor with the 1-inch drywall screws. Repeat this on the opposite side with the 24-by-24-by-1/2-inch plywood.
Lay the 24-by-54-by-1/2-inch plywood on top of the same end of the chicken tractor. Secure it to the runner on the 36-inch side of the frames with the piano hinge.
Fasten the 48-by-114-inch chicken wire to the sides and top of the chicken tractor with the 1/2-inch staples. Staple the two 36-by-48-inch pieces of chicken wire to the ends and trim off the excess with the tin snips.
Drill pilot holes through the 2-by-2s for the screws if desired.
Do not leave power tools within the reach of small children.
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Michael Straessle has written professionally about the construction industry since 1988. He authored “What a Strange Little Man,” among other books, and his work has appeared in various online publications. Straessle earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in professional/technical writing.