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Boatbuilders transition to chicken coops

When Triumph Boats left Durham, N.C., last year, two of its former engineers decided to put their boatbuilding skills into a new venture: backyard chicken coops.

Boat hulls are no longer Randy Sweat’s vocation. The former tooling foreman for Triumph, along with former Triumph engineer George Blaisdell, now use the same fabrication equipment and rotational molding process to create modular homes for chickens, The Chapel Hill News reported.

“They offered to move us up there, but we didn’t want to move to Minnesota,” Sweat told the newspaper.

Instead, he bought the factory’s equipment and moved it to Silk Hope, N.C. He looked around for a business venture where he could apply the skills honed making polypropylene boat molds for 16 years and came up with a portable coop advertised as predator-proof and big enough for six chickens. The plastic housing and its attached cage can be moved and easily cleaned.

“There’s been a huge explosion in the number of people that want to raise chicks,” said Connie Tabor, an associate at the Southern States farm store.

“The molds can take anywhere from six weeks to build,” Sweat told the newspaper. “I did a lot of the labor on the molds. We’d get chicken people together, and they’d look at things and tell us what the problems were, and we’d go back and change the mold.”

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