Eighty-seven happy hens now reside in our recently renovated mobile chicken coop, located on the northwest corner of Blackwood (otherwise known as the Coastal Prairie). They are free to roam throughout the day and spend cozy evenings safe inside their new home.

The coop was built out to include additional space for roosting and perching. Window doors were added to the outside for easy access to nests and to make egg collection less disturbing for resting hens. The previous design was modeled after New England-style coops, which are crafted to insulate birds from frosty winters. Due to the more varied and warmer weather of the Gulf Coast, a redesign was necessary in order to provide a more comfortable, summer-friendly home, as well as to create more space for our growing flock.

Blackwood’s mobile coop, pictured here with front perch covering to provide insulation on colder days.

Built onto a flat-bed trailer, the coop can be hooked up to our tractor and moved to different spots on the prairie, providing us with the ability to practice rotational grazing. Moveable coops and portable net fencing comes with a host of benefits for both land and animals. Ease of transport means we can easily relocate the flock to new areas every few weeks in a stress-free manner, affording the land with rest and increased soil fertility and the chickens with plenty of new grubs to peck for. Rotation of livestock is essential to caring for land in order to keep from depleting the soil of essential nutrients and organisms. If the chickens were kept on one spot permanently they would quickly run out of natural food sources, their pecking would eventually lead to minor erosion, and the overabundance of waste could damage plants and root systems.

Thank you to our Farm Director, Becca, and Master of Machines, Jose, for all their incredible work to make this coop a reality! If you’d like to know more about our chickens, visit the educational resources section of our website here.