So anyone who’s read some previous stuff I’ve written & reviewed, will know portable and mobile chicken coops can be difficult.
By difficult I mean they usually always break; and fast.
This is 9 times out of 10 due to the fact the wood isn’t strong enough where the wheels are fixed to. Meaning the wood splits and the wheel(s) break off.
So your ‘mobile’ chicken coop becomes immovable, not what you wanted….to avoid this read on.
Why do you need a portable chicken coop?
Chicken coops that you can move are fantastic in principle, you can move it to a new fresh patch of grass in your backyard whenever you want. This makes for happy chickens and reduces the muddy patches from where a coop and run have been stood for too long. That horrible brown bog that can occur especially over winter around a stationary permanently positioned coop – will be a thing of the past.
That is if you buy the right coop…….
Ive had a few mobile chicken coops on wheels, I had 6-10 hens in one and it used to take a couple of days for them to eat the grass within the run. The run size was 1.5m wide by 3m in length. Then I’d move the coop forward and start the process again. I never did mow the lawn again. Check out the photo below! What I did find was the grass grew back very quickly and was very healthy. The chicken poop was actually fertilizing the soil – a winning situation.
QUICK QUESTION – do you plan to move the coop every couple of days or every week?
If you cant free range them and plan to keep moving the coop every day or every few days – the ‘Omlet’ coops are the best.
Omlet are probably currently the best manufacturer of plastic (uPvc) chicken coops and runs. They have a coops with wheels too making it perfectly mobile, which would be awesome for any backyard.
The strut and cross bars for support are all metal. These metal bars are how the wheels are attached, making it much strong than wood if you were attaching to wood.
Whats wrong with wood?
Wood will warp in the sun, flex and contract in the winter cold. Plastic and metal do none of this making it the most suitable material for this application.
The other big draw back with wood is it rots and can go moldy. We all know because we’ve have seen this. The screws then fall out of the bracket holding the wheels together and slowly it all falls apart. That exactly how all mine have broken!
Why can Plastic be better than Wood?
I say ‘can’ be better, as its horses for courses [or chickens for coops – in this instance!] some people don’t like plastic and that’s fine. I mentioned a few benefits of plastic vs wood above. Some more benefits of uPVC are below:
- Plastic is lighter than wood, making the chicken coop for mobile an easier to move
- Plastic is easier to clean, either by pressure hose or using boiling water and soap.
- Better structural rigidity if placed on uneven ground. Wood will stress and crack.
Now I’m not saying nothing will break on a plastic coop over time, im saying anything mobile has a tendency to be more susceptible to weak points and then breaking.
The benefit here is the metal bars that the wheels are fixed are all replaceable. The bars the wheel levers are fixed to are replaceable too. AND are replaceable individually too which is great.
That a lot of talk about replacements, you might be thinking I want a buy a coop that will last!
OK, ok I cant help it I work on a worst case scenario! Plus too I’ve wasted money on coops that are rubbish. So I want to give you my honest opinion on things. Your safe anyway the lifespan should be 10+ years from the omlet coop – phew.
Remember chicken coops have a tough little life – think; what else do you buy that just sits outside in the sun, wind and rain all year round for years on end?!
How easy is it to move?
Really easy to move too just ‘hitch up’ both wheels with your feet and pull into position. When you’ve found your favorite bit of grass just ‘un hitch’ the wheels from their locking position. Simple.
Really great if you don’t have anyone to help you move a big heavy chicken coop. You don’t need anyone to help you move the Omlet, moving is a 1 man/women process!
Don’t believe me – check out the video below:
Omlet make two different mobile chicken coops with wheels, depending on how many chickens you have:
- ‘Eglu Go Up’ – suitable for 1-4 chickens
- ‘Elgu Cube’ – suitable for up to 10 chickens (as shown in the video above)
Remember you can buy the Omlet coop with or without the runs…..
I like the design too, no I don’t mean the ‘trendy’ colors they come in, I mean the practicality.
So firstly the vents are in the right location. Vents provide air flow to cool or remove hot air from the coop depending on the time of the year. Super important as chickens can suffer from heat stroke very easily.
But where some manufacturers’ mess up, is by placing the vents infront of the roosting bars. This is a big no no. It means on a windy cold night your chickens have to ‘sleep’ in a draft. They will just get sick really quick and stop laying, or maybe worse.
Breeds like Silkies and Polish aren’t very cold hardy, meaning they don’t like the cold so being able to keep the coop warm in the winter is important. Both Omlet models come with an aftermarket blanket to be fitted over and clipped round the coop. Just the coop not the run. Great if you live in a very cold area or have harsh winters and feel like you can’t have certain chicken breeds because of this.
Infact they make a ton of aftermarket extras. Automatic chicken coop doors are now so popular. Ok they do make you feel slightly lazy but if you ever forgotten to shut up your chickens you’ll understand. Forgot myself and a fox (I think) got in and killed everything and only actually took one bird. Pretty heart breaking. The automatic chicken coop door is a backup really, that’s what I see it as. Im still peering my nose out the window each evening to check on it!
In the summer its really great, I have to agree, as you can set it open when the sun comes up. Brilliant if you aren’t always awake that early yourself…..!
Omlet are awesome, they aren’t available on Amazon, so just google them or go directly to their website here www.omlet.us
If you already have a chicken coop/tractor without wheels & want some – try fitting your own!
How to put wheels on a chicken coop?
It’s actually much easier than you’d think taking 2 hours at max (on your own) for a complete amateur.
- Hand drill with standard ‘drill bit’
- Spanner/Wrench (adjustable is best!)
- Clamp – would really help if you’re doing this solo.
This kit here contains everything you’ll need. As seen in the video. Super Easy!
It comes with bolts too, rather than screws to fix the bracket to the coop. This will make it much stronger in the long run, that’s a big bonus in my view. The bolts are high quality they are stainless steel and the zinc plated lock nuts means the bracket isn’t going anywhere. Nice and sturdy – the way I like it!
The lever arm and bracket are both industrial grade aluminium. Meaning its super strong but really light. Well you don’t want to add more weight that necessary to something your trying to move!
The wheels are steel not plastic, so likely to outlive us all! No seriously that wasn’t a joke check out Grandads old coop in the photo below. These steel tires would land a jumbo jet.
Unlike standard tubed tires, these can never go flat. Which would always happen, in the same way a bike tire left standing goes flat. Left out in the heat and cold tubed tires are a pain. To make matter worse, one will go flat before the other usually making the coop sit unevenly. Meaning anything can get in under the run if you have one. Or something can very easily dig straight under that one side. You are just giving them a head start.
An uneven coop also means that there is stress on the structural framework so it will bend over time and end up breaking etc etc blah blah its always the same story……
Seriously the tires in that kit are are the probably the best out there, I could find.
Not interested in the DIY retro fitting wheels – no bother, just go with one of the Omlet coops.
‘Really-Really’ dont want a plastic chicken coop then check out this wooden portable chicken coop