When we first thought about getting chickens, we figured we would just get a handful. So we looked at plans for a small coop and decided on a chicken ark, also known as a chicken tractor. Unfortunately, I quickly wanted more chickens so we needed something bigger. Read on to see how we use two chicken coops to manage our flock and the pros and cons of each type.
Our first chicken coop-an ark
For our first chicken coop we started out with a moveable chicken “ark.” It is an A frame structure with wire on the bottom and an upstairs where the girls roost at night. The nest boxes are on the ends of the upstairs and there is a small door that opens on each box to remove the eggs. Every few days we move this coop to fresh ground so the chickens have grass and weeds and bugs to eat. We used this for two years with our first 5 chickens. When we decided to get more chickens, we knew we needed something bigger. See below for our current chicken coop. We still use this coop as our “grow out” space for baby chicks. We have 8 “littles” in here right now. Eventually we will move them into the bigger coop when they are full grown.
Chicken Ark (Tractor)
- Chickens get fresh ground every few days
- Easy access to nest boxes
- Small so it is easy to clean
- Not as expensive to build as a permanent coop
- Heavy-takes two people to move it
- Only holds about 5 full grown chickens
Our latest chicken coop
When we outgrew the ark, my husband built a bigger free-standing coop with an attached run. The coop is 8×8 feet with 3 windows, a pop door for the chickens, and a full size door for the humans. We currently have 16 chickens in this coop. These girls are allowed to free range quite often. Since my garden has chicken wire and an electric fence around it, the chickens don’t have access to it. If they did, there would not be much garden left when they were done.
On the inside we have 5 nest boxes and two roost posts.
- Lots of space
- Easy to expand your flock
- Lots of customization can be done to a permanent coop
- Costs more to build
- Once the chickens wear down the grass in the run, it will never grow back (unless you can afford a HUGE run)
I’m so glad we have both kinds of chicken coops. The permanent coop is easy to maintain and has plenty of room for the chickens. The ark could be used as a sick bay if we have an injured chicken. Most people that get chickens love them and end up wanting more. That’s why it is recommended to build as big a coop as you can right from the start. I started out with 5 hens, but now I’m up to 24 after 6+ years of chicken keeping! I enjoy interacting with my girls everyday and collecting and eating their wonderful eggs.
Do you keep chickens? If so, I’d love to know more about them. What kind of coop do you have? How many chickens do you keep?