Friday, September 14, 2012

Fourth generation turkey coop!

With the new year comes a new approach to housing turkeys. Even though our turkeys are free ranged on pasture, they need protection at night. It has been a constant challenge to provide a coop large enough to house these big active birds while being moveable. This year's version I like a lot! Our farm hand Randy has certainly excelled at taking a basic design idea of mine and producing a work of art!

The key features of this year are :

all metal hard panel fencing - no chicken wire!
fully opening back panel for herding turkeys in
front door  that is strong and stable
hinges on the door that are auto closing
a size that fits a commonly available tarp for shade
strong roosts to hold mature birds
braced for wind
braced for pulling around pasture
corner stands for holding feed and water
door handle that works easily and is cheap
latches on front door and back panel that are consistent and strong

As I said.. I like it! With a couple of minor changes we are going to copy this one and make 2 more, retiring all of hte previous designs.  We estimate that we could build this 10x20 coop in 2 half days, start to finish.

One of the biggest advantages is the rear panel completely folding down! That is awseome. Herding this many birds through a small 2 foot door has been a real challenge in the other designs. With this one we simple release 3 latches and the entire back wall lays down flat, presenting a 10 foot wide entry way. The birds just walk right in and roost on their own! What a beautiful thing this is!.

It will comfortable hold about 50 mature birds, twice the earlier coops, and provide ample roosts for all birds to be off the ground at night.

It pulled amazingly well into position given its size and weight. the RTV had no trouble maneuvering it around the pasture, even through the running creek.

We are considering producing plans for this one to sell online, perhaps even selling fully built coops.

The most important feature.. this entire back panel folds down flat to the ground by releasing only 3 latches. The turkeys  walk right in through the 10 foot wide opening. 

Here you can see the bracing, an a frame at each and and one in the middle. Stable top to bottom enough so that two grown men can sit on top of the coop!

The front is a solid door frame around the same hard panel fencing. A very consistent door, always a problem with moveable coops. 

Also take note of the corner braces that serve as holders for water and feed. This allows for moving the coop without first removing all the waters and feeders, saving time and effort. 


  1. Yes, you've taken the cattle-fencing-pen idea up a notch. Well done.

  2. Too many birds in that enclosure. I'm sure this is just for the picture but hope people don't think it is acceptable.

    1. That was just a picture, yes, but lets talk about capacity. The main point on capacity is to remember that these coops were designed to be self - moving (as per other blog posts) through a setup of solar powered 12volt winches. This produced new fresh ground under the coop every hour. There is zero buildup of waste, and no growing parasite problem. That resolves most of hte concer of other approaches.

      Then, keep in mind that these coops are esentially double story, the roosts are plentiful, so they provide enough area to hold all the birds at night off the ground. That gives basically double the floor space as what is available on the ground floor.

      But of course, the size of the birds determines the max quantity acceptable within the coop. We ended up anywhere from 25 to 75 birds, depending on their size and rate of growth. At these quantities, each bird had plenty of sqaure footage to live happily.

      By the numbers, each bird was afforded from 6 to 12 square feet of ground that was renewed hourly.