Moving the Portable Houses

I like portable chicken houses. My henhouses are mostly simple little 8×8-foot houses that I move with a tractor. I don’t put litter on the floor. The chickens don’t spend much time on the floor anyway: they use the roosts.

I don’t shovel manure, either. When the manure starts getting to be a bit much, I don’t remove the manure from the houses, I remove the houses from the manure. I hook up a house to my tractor with a handy chain and drag it to a fresh patch of ground. Then I come back and use the rear scraper blade on my tractor to spread the manure over a long swath of grass. The grass soaks up the manure greedily.

We shuffled our houses around on Friday afternoon. Took about an hour.

For pastured broilers, we use lighter houses that are moved by hand, because the broilers are kept inside the houses at all times (broilers are so young and dumb that they don’t know to come in out of the rain, so we keep them under a roof at all times). Hens are older and smarter, so they come and go as they please. In fact, only one of my houses has a door! They get out of the way when the tractor arrives and when their houses start to move around.

The big trick with henhouses is that, if you move them too far, the hens get confused and sleep on the ground where the house used to be. So don’t move the houses too far. The first time you spring this on a group of chickens, ten or fifteen feet is plenty. Later you can move them as far as fifty feet or so.

The other trick is to move the houses as early in the day as you can manage, since that gives the chickens more time to get used to their changed landscape.

I Publish Books! Norton Creek Press

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Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

Author: Robert Plamondon

Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

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