Posts tagged ‘farm projects’

June 2, 2013

Milk stand

This stand has a wide platform. I have several friends who like to sit on the stand along side the doe or behind the doe to milk. I personally like sitting square to the doe on a separate stool but made the platform wide enough to give a little extra space for those who like to sit.

This stand will accommodate smaller breeds, even 5 month old (goat) kids of mine can easily use the grain bucket at this height. However, the head stall is tall enough to accommodate bucks. Having a stable stand for bucks to be secure for health inspections, hoof trimming, etc. is essential!

June 1, 2013

Roving Coop/Chicken Tractor

yearlings kids, briolers 050Finished tractor dimensions: 8′ x 12′ Cost: about $200 This one is built to LAST!

**Update** There was a comment made in the comments section about tin roofing & space…tin roofing will get hot. We used this roving coop several different ways. We house our broilers in here at night only once they were big enough not to be picked off by aerial predators OR it was moved several times a day for new ground if the chickens stayed in here and covered by a white tarp to reflect the sun’s rays OR moved under a tree, as you can see we have many. Generally speaking, once they come out of the brooder, they are nearly big enough to free range and only need protection at night.

How many will it house? That really depends on what you are using it for. A suggested space per chicken is 4 square foot providing they have run space, otherwise 10 square feet is suggested . This coop is 8×12 (96 square feet). As this is a roving coop, it is intended to be moved and moved often. As I said, 2-3 times a day, sometimes up to 4 depending on vegetation and how quickly the birds eat it down/how many are housed. Which is not to say they were also not supplemented with food, they are, and lots of it! We have housed as many as 75 very young birds in here but generally speaking given our use, about 25 butcher ready size would be appropriate if they are not allowed to range outside of this coop and it is moved often during the day.

Please take into consideration your intended use, climate, weather, etc. Use materials suited for your application and take into consideration intended use in determining the number of birds it will accommodate. The photo is a bit deceiving as they are all plastered up against one side waiting to be let out and there looks to be more than this coop should accommodate.

We added a hinged door on the front of the coop when we raised out the second batch which allows us to let them our when they are about 4+ weeks old to free range. Moving this coop several times a day to 100% fresh pasture when they are confined it’s never in one spot long enough to do damage to the grasses/plants and the birds aren’t in dirty conditions. Moving it once to twice a day when they use it as shelter/night protection only kept them bedded on clean ground.

Materials list:

(1-2) roll(s) of 36″ x 25′ hardware cloth (for top + door) – about $26 a roll at Lowes – 1 roll if you will be putting at least 3′ of roofing on, 2 rolls if you will not be using roofing material.  You could use chicken wire instead of hardware cloth . Hardware cloth really holds up much better, keeps predators out netter and overall is a more suitable material in our opinions. (1-2) roll(s) of 24″ x 25′ hardware cloth (for sides)- about $25 a roll at Lowes- 1 roll if you will be adding sides under the roof, 2 rolls if not.

Frame (All treated lumber)

(2) 2x6x12 (ripped down to 2x3x12 to create bottom and top frame long sides) (2) 2x6x8 (ripped down to 2x3x8 to create bottom frame short sides) (2) 2x4x8’s (cut to 2′ lengths for vertical supports. We made our tractor 2′ tall.) (2) 2x4x8’s (ripped in half to create “2×2’s” and cut to length for diagonal bracing) (1) 2x4x12 (ridge pole) (1) 2x6x8 (ripped to make 2x3x8 for horizontal support of ridge support. If you’re going with diagonal braces, you could probably get away with a 2x4x8) “Left over” lumber will create a hinged door/lid & misc. needs


large box of 2 1/2″ screws large box of 1.5″ screws 4 boxes of  washers with 1/8th” hole (to aide in holding hardware cloth on), we used “fender” washers. ($6 each) handle of some sort for lid ($2) 2-3 hinges (for lid) ($2-$3) 2 wheels (We used the back wheels off of a lawnmower that was junked) 2-3 panels of corrugated roofing (more if you intend to put it on the back and sides as well) ($12 each at Lowes) Some boards will require ripping. If you do not have the capabilities, you will need to buy boards in the ripped dimensions above or larger width boards to accommodate. 2×3’s are plenty sturdy enough for this applications, 2×2’s are taking a chance it will not be sturdy enough (depending on your weather) and you could easily go with 2×4’s but the added size will change the weight quite a bit. Our goal here is to have a tractor sturdy enough to stand up to the daily strain of movement but be heavy enough to stay put on the ground during our high Kansas winds. Additionally, we took into consideration our goats may take a jump or two on top and added supports specific for that where as some other tractors similar to this design employ diagonal supports to the roof beam. A 200 lb. person can walk across the center ridge with these supports, with diagonal supports I am not so sure. Every piece we used is integral in this tractor for our specific application.

We used treated lumber as we do not intend to add a finish it. You can use un-treated lumber, however expect to either stain/paint it or expect that it will rot sooner. Having a flat surface to work on is essential. Think: shop floor, concrete pad, driveway, etc. This can be made with one person and some ingenuity but it’s really better as a 2 person job for most of it with help putting on the top frame with 3-4 unless it is constructed differently.

First we started by ripping down (2) 2x6x12’s down to 2x3x12 and (2) 2x6x8’s down to 2x3x8 which gave us (4) 2x3x12’s and (4) 2x3x8’s. We mitered all the corners at a 45 degree angle with the miter saw. We made 2 boxes with all 8 pieces (a “top” and a “bottom”  both 8’x12′. In hindsight, we should have made them about 7’10” or so by 12 foot and I’ll tell you why… If you plan to use 8′ long pieces of roofing and you plan to have siding, you’ll want to cut your frame down by at least 1″ to accommodate putting  siding on. If you do not cut it down by an inch or more (depending on how thick your siding is) to something like 7′ 11″ (give or take) x 12′ as opposed to 8′ x 12′, your roofing will not cover your siding that is applied at the end.

We had originally planned to use 9′ long tin roofing, but in the end, went with lighter weight panels that were 8′ and with the box being exactly 8′ x 12′, the siding we applied extends past the roofing. We’ll cover our exposed siding with just a simple piece of flashing to protect it.  You could cut your roofing so that it drains off the back as well, we did not cut ours, it will drain off the sides.

mitered corner, screwed on both sides

mitered corner of frame, screwed on both sides

After both of your frames are made, set one frame to the side and add 2′ 2×4 vertical supports to the bottom frame. One support in each corner, 2 more on each 12′ side spaced at 4′ apart and 1 support on each 8′ side spaced differently on each side to accommodate 4′ diagonal brace (These off-center vertical supports also act as sort of a guide for the center upper ridge beam. We should have waited to add the vertical supports on the 8′ side until we could place the ridge beam once the top frame was attached because we did not know the diagonal would not reach the center. We removed the center verticals on each side and readjusted so the diagonal would reach and the center beam had a vertical support to screw to on either end. I’ll update measurements for these supports later.)

Adding the verticle supports

Adding the vertical supports

top frame

top frame- corner vertical support

roving coup top frame

top frame has been screwed on to vertical supports. Note: the vertical supports on the short ‘8 side are centered in this photo. We ended up having to unscrew them and readjust on each side. They are both off center to accommodate diagonal brace and the center ridge.

Once your top frame has been screwed on, it’s time to add the diagonal 2x2x8 & 2x2x4 braces ripped from a 2x4x8. We did not bother mitering the edges at an angle but you certainly can.

diagonal brace

diagonal brace on 12′ side

Now that all of the diagonal braces are on, it’s time to add the center ridge beam (a 2x4x12). Then the horizontal supports (as noted, you could put diagonal braces from the center ridge beam to the adjoining vertical supports on the 8′ side) but because the goats may be jumping/laying on top of this, the additional support of full horizontals, we feel, are necessary. roving coup 003 We are using 3 pieces of corrugated roofing placed side by side on the top overlapping by one “wave”. The roofing is 26″ wide by 8′ long. This overlaps the hardware cloth by just a couple of squares. We rolled over the sides just a little Stretching it as tight as we could, we screwed 1.5″ screws and washers to hold it secure. Next, we installed the side hardware cloth. roving coup hardware cloth washers roving coup close up hardware cloth We framed in the door, clipped the hardware cloth back, screwed it down along the framing. Our door is 17″ x 21″, we mitered all the corners, applied hardware cloth to the top,  added cleats inside the frame for the door to rest on when closed and installed hinges and a handle. We’ve seen the bigger access doors on these coops, but we don’t feel there is much need for one larger. Installing it in the center and not in one corner, allows better access throughout the entire coup to gather chickens from it. They could probably easily be coaxed over with food as well and this size door is big enough for even a larger person to get in to if need be.

roving coup framing in the door

framing in the door from inside the coop. The hardware cloth where the door will go has not been cut out yet.

door cleats attached to the frame for support

roving coup 011 roving coup 015 The back is a piece of treated plywood ripped length-wise (1) 2’x8′ piece. The sides are the other half of plywood ripped in two lengthwise which gives you (2) 2’x4′ pieces. Details: The opposite side of the tractor from the door we did not install anything for the roof to attach to (lumber wise). None is needed but there was a little bit of space between the hardware cloth (it sags just a tiny bit) and the roofing. You could easily install a header from center to side to attach it all too but because the support isn’t actually necessary, we just took an 18″ (or so) piece of scrap and while someone was inside the tractor pushing the wood from below, someone above put a couple screws in which held it all together nicely. The goal was to relieve the tiny gap between hardware cloth and roofing.

roving coup awning

Scrap piece of wood used to eliminate slight gap between hardware cloth and roof. Photo taken from above.

roving coup underneath

photo taken from inside the coop of the underside of the roof. Specifically you’re looking at the far side of the roof (lower right) of the scrap board used to eliminate gap between hardware cloth and roofing.

As I stated earlier, we weren’t entirely sure what kind of roofing we were going with. The barn siding we had would have been fine and is 9′ long and would have hung over the edges. However, we went with much lighter weight brand new sheets that are only 8′ long. If you don’t intend to put sides on, it’s not a big deal but we regularly (when we’re not in a drought!) have summer storms and wind and I wanted them to have protection from 3 sides. Making the frame 8′ wide meant that the 1/2″ plywood we used would not have been covered by the roofing. In hindsight, we would have cut the frame down from the beginning but putting flashing on to cover the plywood’s exposed side wasn’t a big deal. Here is how you properly cut flashing to bend around an angle, nice and neat! roving coup flashing(Above) First: mark your corner based on measurements and mark a 90 degree angle. You’re looking at the top of the flashing which sits on the top of the tractor. cutting flashing 2(Above) 2nd: With tin snips, clip one side of your mark. cutting flashing(Above) 3rd: cut your other mark to the top cutting flashing 1 (Above) Which will give you something that looks like this. flashing (Above) Bend to a 90 degree…100B8711[1] And apply to to the corner. This keeps the plywood siding protected from moisture penetrating it directly. If you cut your frame shy by 1/2″ – 1 1/2″ to begin with (if using 8′ wide roofing), you will not need this. But it is a good lesson in cutting 90 degree flashing anyway =). The wheels were from the rear of a junked lawnmower. I think we picked them up at a farm auction as an item that was “thrown in” to move it off the trailer, if you’ve been to a farm auction you’d know what I was talking about. Jeremiah, being a welder and fabricator and machinist, made up the wheel mounts. Truth be told, and to give credit where credit is due, a friend of ours did the actual machining while Jeremiah fabricated the frame, etc. roving coup wheel

maiden voyage roving coup

Maiden voyage! (Taking it out to the pasture)