March 2024
Farm Tech

Is a Mobile Chicken Coop Right for Me?

Let's look at the benefits of owning a mobile chicken coop, what to consider before investing, and real-life examples of these mobile coops in action.

Many farmers and homesteaders find mobile chicken coops an attractive option for their flock. A mobile coop can lead to healthier, more productive chickens and can significantly benefit soil health, too.

There are plenty of models on the market—including our ROVA|BARN, ​​which adapts to different types of farming, including broiler chickens and laying hens.

But is a mobile chicken coop the right choice for your farming operation?

Let's look at some of the benefits of owning a mobile chicken coop, what to consider before investing in one, and some real-life examples of these mobile coops in action.

ROVA|BARN mobile chicken coop in a field, showcasing the integration of solar power and mobility for modern poultry farming.

What is a Mobile Chicken Coop?

A mobile chicken coop—also known as a chicken tractor, robotic pasture barn, mobile range coop, egg-mobile, or schooner—is essentially a movable chicken house that allows you to relocate your flock around your garden or acreage.

Unlike traditional stationary coops, which are often used for small-scale egg production, mobile coops are designed so chickens can directly access fresh grass, bugs, and soil.

We can categorize mobile coops based on their specific use and the poultry they support:

For Layers

This version resembles a hoop house mounted on a trailer, complete with a floor and wheels for mobility. It requires manual or automatic movement (daily to weekly) to fresh ground.

These coops are equipped with doors for layers to access grass, which must be opened and closed daily to protect against predators. To further secure the area, electric netting might be used to deter ground predators.

This design caters to layers, who, due to their maturity, can navigate in and out of the coop with ease.

For Broiler Production

Known mostly as schooners, these coops are designed as hoop houses without a floor, allowing broiler chickens unrestricted access to grass day and night.

To function properly, the coop must be relocated daily to manage manure concentration and maintain soil health. Farmers are tasked with moving these coops by hand every day while also providing feed and water.

Our ROVA|BARN series adapts to both layers and broiler chickens and includes some advanced features, including:

  • Automatic feeding and watering systems
  • Intelligent ventilation systems for optimal air quality
  • Predator-proofing electrified skirt
  • Self-moving capabilities to reduce manual labor
  • Solar-powered operations
  • Access to real-time data, live camera views, and temperature controls via a mobile app

Benefits of a Mobile Chicken Coop

A mobile chicken coop brings the dream of free-ranging chickens to reality, allowing for easy relocation to fresh grounds.

This setup promotes healthier and happier chickens and enhances soil quality through rotational grazing. Your flock benefits from diverse foraging opportunities, resulting in nutrient-rich soils, lower feed costs, and higher quality eggs and meat—a clear win-win situation.

Improved Health for Chickens

Chickens thrive when they can engage in natural behaviours like pecking, scratching at the ground, and foraging for insects. A mobile coop supports these activities through rotational grazing.

This practice involves moving the coop regularly to fresh areas, allowing chickens continuous access to new, nutrient-rich environments that mimic their natural habitats.

The rotation prevents overgrazing, promotes vegetation regrowth, and ensures your chickens have a diverse diet, leading to a happier, healthier flock.

Natural Fertilization, Pest and Weed Control

As your chickens move around, they'll naturally control pests and help manage weeds on your property, reducing the need for chemical interventions.

Their natural activities also contribute to fertilization. As chickens forage and scratch, they uproot unwanted plants and deposit manure, which acts as a high-quality, organic fertilizer. This process of natural fertilization supports more robust plant growth and contributes to a more balanced and productive ecosystem on your land.

Better Egg and Meat Quality

Access to a varied diet and plenty of exercise can improve the nutritional content and taste of your chickens' eggs and meat.

Research shows that chickens raised in environments that allow for natural behaviours like foraging and moving freely produce meat that is higher in vitamins, minerals, and beneficial fatty acids, making it a more nutrient-dense food.

Considerations Before Investing in a Mobile Chicken Coop

Your chickens need freedom, but they also need protection and comfort. It’s important to consider factors like size, mobility, type of land, and protection from predators before investing in a mobile coop. You should also understand the commitment in terms of time, resources, and the market potential of your operation.

Size and Space

Consider the size of your flock and the space available in your yard. Mobile coops come in various sizes, so it's crucial to choose one that fits your needs.

For example, depending on your needs, each of our ROVA|BARN series (200, 400, and 700) has a different livestock capacity, power, and dimensions.


Mobile chicken coop prices vary significantly. Set a budget, but remember that investing in a quality coop can save you money in the long run ​​by reducing the need for repairs and replacements.

Quality coops are typically more durable and offer better protection against predators, which can help prevent losses and ensure the health and productivity of your chickens.

If you’re curious about the ROI on a ROVA|BARN, send us a message and we'll generate your custom results to show how long it will take you to return your investment.

Market Access

Evaluate your market access before investing in a coop. Some farmers lack a ready market for their products, so it’s more challenging to sell produce at prices that cover the costs and generate profit.

Consider marketing strategies and potential outlets for your products early in the planning process to make sure you can achieve a sustainable operation.

Local Regulations

Check your local zoning and animal regulations to ensure that keeping chickens and using a mobile coop is allowed in your area, especially if you're in an urban or suburban setting.

Restrictions can vary, with more lenient rules typically found in rural areas. Urban settings might have specific guidelines for layers, including distance from neighbouring properties and the maximum number of chickens allowed.

Canadian farmers must be mindful of the quota system, which sets a cap on the number of broilers and layers you can raise without a quota in each province. This system helps balance market supply and demand, and exceeding these limits without proper authorization can lead to penalties.

You should also be aware of avian flu regulations and advisories in your area. Instances like the temporary ban on pasture poultry in California during an avian flu outbreak highlight the importance of staying informed about health alerts. These regulations are in place to protect both domestic and wild bird populations and can significantly impact your operation.

Farmer performing maintenance inside a mobile chicken coop, emphasizing the importance of regular upkeep for the health and productivity of the flock.

Mobile Chicken Coop Maintenance Tips

Regular Cleaning

Keeping the coop clean is vital for preventing diseases. A mobile coop makes this easier since you're regularly moving it to fresh ground.

One of our customers’ favourite things about the ROVA|BARN is how easy it is to clean. It’s waterproof, so there’s no need to worry about damaging the tech.

As farmers, we designed it to be a straightforward task, similar to washing your car—just a quick pass of a pressure washer and your high-tech barn is back in business.

During our hands-on training session for new ROVA owners, we share all our cleaning tips from using our own ROVA|BARN to make sure yours stays pristine.

Monitoring Chicken Health

Regularly check your chickens for signs of illness or distress, especially during the initial adjustment period to their new home.

Two farmers inside a mobile chicken coop, smiling as they demonstrate equipment maintenance, highlighting their commitment to the wellbeing of their poultry.

Success Stories

Don't just take our word for it. Meet Audrey and Jean-François of Ferme JANAM. They run a 50-acre farm with broiler chickens and maple syrup production in Outaouais, Quebec.

Faced with the desire to farm while maintaining their full-time careers, they found the perfect ally in the ROVA|BARN400 Pro. Our mobile chicken coop brought autonomy to their fields, allowing them to nurture their flock with just regular check-ins thanks to its self-sufficient design for water and feed.

The ROVA|BARN supports a pasture-raised livestock environment with predator protection and provides real-time stats for water and feed consumption, temperatures, and more. This means more focus on animal welfare and a balanced life with farming and full-time employment for Audrey and Jean-François.

At Napa Pasture Protein in Napa Valley, California, Cori and Casey raise lambs, goats, hogs, and chickens all on pasture. But they found labour was getting too intense, and they were spending hours dragging heavy chicken tractors across their fields.

So they invested in a ROVA|BARN400 with the plan to make it dual-purpose: using half for layers and the other half for broilers.

The result?

After only a few months, Cori and Casey have saved 35-40% in feed costs thanks to the mobile coop’s smart storage system and increase in vegetation.

“Seeing your livestock happy and healthy whilst still being productive is what farmers strive for. ROVA|BARN takes the labour out of achieving these goals.”

- Cori & Casey of Napa Pasture Protein.

Mobile Chicken Coop FAQs

Can I build my own mobile chicken coop?

It’s possible to build your own mobile chicken coop, but you need to make sure you have a clear plan that includes size, materials, mobility features, and security against predators.

Beginning in summer 2024, you’ll be able to build your own ROVA|BARN mobile chicken coop (if you fancy yourself handy enough!). We’ll give you access to tutorials and instructions so you can do it yourself, or with the help of our remote team if necessary. We also offer our installation services for those who do not want to build it themselves.

What should I do if my chickens don't adapt to the mobile coop?

To ensure your chickens can adapt to their mobile coop, we recommend you watch how your chickens do during the first few days after transferring them. Let them adapt for one to two weeks, and they will quickly learn that when the machine beeps, it's time for fresh grass. This is what we’ve found works best for our ROVA|BARN robotic pasture barn.

How can I protect my mobile coop from predators?

Many mobile coops come with security measures to protect your flock from predators. The ROVA|BARN has an electric fence on the outside of the skirting and a chicken wire on the structure to prevent predators from coming in. We also offer an additional fencer that you can put all around the ROVA|BARN to add more protection.

Are mobile chicken coops suitable for winter?

Yes, mobile chicken coops are suitable for winter use—with a few tweaks.

Winterization kits for mobile coops often include a light to heat the nest and waterline and a heated cover for the water tank.

The ROVA|BARN works well in the winter with layers. You will need to move it every month by removing the snow in front of the robotic pasture barn, pulling it onto the new patch, and putting down new straw.

Note: Layers usually need 12-16 hours of light per day to lay an egg, which is why having a light in your mobile coop in winter is important.

Final Thoughts

Deciding whether a mobile chicken coop is right for your farming operation depends on various factors, including your goals, budget, and the needs of your chickens. If a mobile coop isn't right for you, you can always explore other options like stationary coops or free-ranging your chickens under supervision.

Still unsure if a mobile coop is right for you?

Reach out to us by email or on Instagram—we love to chat and are happy to answer all your questions!

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We’ll help you make the best decision for your farm and flock.

Reach out to us with any questions or inquiries, or click below to book a virtual demo of the ROVA|BARN.
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