Cattle Panel Chicken Coop

The chickens were in two flocks in two different places and caring for both flocks separately was an inefficient use of time and resources. The Buckeye hens were using the little barn in the backyard for shelter while having the run of the place. A few had adopted the practice of hanging around on the back porch, and we didn’t care for the “decorating” they were doing. The Buckeye rooster was out in the garden with the White Rocks. He is a good rooster and guards his charges well which makes for some unhappy encounters with our dogs.

After reading Andy Lee’s book Chicken Tractor The Permaculture Guide to Happy Hens & Healthy Soil and Day Range Poultry Every Chicken Owner’s Guide to Grazing Gardens and Improving Pastures, we were ready to take action. The plan was to move them to a section of the sheep pasture where they could work their magic on the grass. It was astounding how much improved our lawn was after running meat birds over it one summer. We needed to devise a quick and easy shelter that would be inexpensive and fairly easy to move. It would, of course, involve cattle panels.

Material List
(2) 16′ cattle panels
(1) 16′ x 20′ tarp
(8) pieces of rebar
baling twine

The first panel was bent into an arch and rebar was pounded into the ground up against the panel. We used 2 pieces on each side. The next panel was lined up and the process repeated. Using twine we lashed the panels together where they joined. We also tied the panels to the rebar. The wool was used to wrap around all the rough edges that would rub against the tarp. The tops of the rebar were also wrapped. We tied the wool in place with more twine.

It took three of us to put the tarp on because the wind was whipping up a storm. The handy grommets on the tarp allowed us to secure it to the panel structure with yet more hay string. We left the south facing side mostly open so the birds can enter and exit. On the north side, the tarp is pulled all the way down. The extra fabric on the sides and back is weighted down with tires.

Portable, electric poultry netting protects the birds from predators. More on the trials and tribulations of e-net in another post.

Tarp at back of hoop is weighted with tires

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Cattle Panel Chicken Coop — 6 Comments

  1. I use the electric netting myself: can’t wait to hear about your trials and tribulations! I also have more than one *flock* of chickens! 2 laying groups and then my meat birds.

  2. I will be interested in your experiences too, Lynda. Especially since you are a seasoned user.
    What kind of laying breeds do you have? May I assume the meat birds are Cornish X?

  3. Oh goodness, I am looking forward to learning more about the electric netting. I first learned about it on Granny Miller’s blog but never looked into it further. I think it could be another option for free-ranging our chickens, as right now all we do is move their chicken tractor every day so they get fresh grass and bugs. The electric netting sounds easier. Please be sure to let us know the best place to purchase this netting too, if you still recommend it, that is, after all the trials and tribulations 🙂

  4. Very nice! This is almost exactly what we will be building this weekend for our meat chickens. We’ll use it with electric netting as well. Glad to see it shouldn’t be too difficult to make.

  5. Very nice, but don’t the layers want to roost somewhere? I can see the Cornish crosses on the ground, but my layers would be wanting to go to the top of the hoop!

  6. You’re right about standard birds wanting to roost. It is pretty easy to lay roosts across the inside of the hoop and tie them in place with twine. One year we dragged a small tree top into the hoop and they roosted in the branches.