We’ve been raising chickens since the beginning, about six years now. After hand raising that first batch we all agreed that nobody wanted to clean up after chickens because they stink.
The stink was in reference to their droppings.
We knew we wanted a free range chicken flock; the next step was to decide on housing.
Since nobody liked the idea of cleaning up after chickens it made perfect sense to use a mobile chicken coop. This led us to research and discovery. We found a concept that worked and benefited the land, which was pretty exciting.
Why is There Less Cleaning?
The chickens use their coop for the purpose of a place to sleep. At night fall they walk through the door at their own free will and perch on the bars inside.
Their droppings fall straight on the ground as seen in the picture above. The coop remains in the same place for two or three days; this time frame will vary on the size of your flock.
When moving day arrives, I push the coop forward or back one length size so it’s placed on a clean patch of grass. I like to move the coops in a row formation inside the fenced pasture.
With the mobile system there’s no ongoing purchase of shavings or having to wear a gas mask when cleaning day arrives.
The coop rarely gets messy, which is great. About once a month I open the large door on the back of the coop and hose off the roosting bars if necessary and that’s it.
What About Those Droppings?
The droppings remain on the ground working as a natural fertilizer, I let them sit and when the rain arrives they wash into the ground. If we go through a long period of no rain I can gather them with a shovel and use in the garden.
The scent of chicken droppings is stout; the gasses that cause the smell are toxic.
Chicken droppings are high in nitrogen which gives off that ammonia smell, over time you could experience respiratory problems if you don’t use some kind of shavings or hay to cover the scent in a traditional coop setting and always wear a protective face mask when cleaning up after chickens.
How Does This benefit the Land?
For our farm we do our best to make sure the land is benefiting and always in a repair mode. This is another reason why we use mobile coops.
The droppings provide a natural pasture fertilizer after washing into the ground; the grass that grows in those areas is always lush and wonderful.
The Sheep and Llama love that!
If you’ve ever seen a traditional chicken house with a run that is stationary you’ll notice the ground is almost always a bed of dirt. This is because the chickens have destroyed this space; it’s not their intention it just happens through their activity. Over worked land is never a positive thing and it can’t repair if the chickens continue to reside in that space.
Last winter I implemented a stationary chicken set up to see if maybe I was wrong about the mobile chicken coop.
I barely lasted six months; it was extremely unpleasant and not cost effective.
Will the Coop Roll Away?
You should always place your mobile coop on a flat surface, small slopes are fine but they can offer gaps and large space openings in the bottom.
Our coops are always placed in a secure fenced area; we’ve had no problems with predators getting inside.
Always place mobile chicken coops in a fenced space because really, it’s the best way to protect your investment.
Final tips is to keep coop from rolling I just set a brick on the outside of the wheels, that’s it!
Is Mobile Right For Your Homestead?
Only you know if a mobile chicken coop is right for your homestead. It has worked wonderfully for our farm and we’ve even used smaller mobile coops in the garden and backyard.
Watching everything work together is energizing because during the process you’re giving back to the land.
If you’re ready to raise chickens and conflicted with what type of chicken coop set up to implement simply ask yourself this, “If I were a chicken, what would I want my environment to represent?”
In the Meantime read more about my chicken experience here, Free Range Chickens!