little chicken tractor : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Hi, We finally found some more land to do some more homesteading. Clearing land. rototilling, and putting in a garden. We thought we'd start with a few chickens, and liked the idea of the movable little English-style coop in the Sept/Oct issue. Seems like a great idea moving it around your yard and lawn. He said to move it every day! What do you do in the winter and all that snow. Also we don't have perfectly flat land, and can imagine critters - raccoons, coyotes, skunks, etc. easily crawling under it and nabbing one of our new chickens. Should you put chicken wire on the bottom, or would that harm their claws? Thanks.

-- Len and Ellen Holmes (len/, March 22, 2000


We built that Chicken coop from that issue and we love it. We stapled 10 inches of wire on the outside-bottom border that we fold up when we move it and lay bricks on when it sits. We only move it once every 4 or 5 days but grass grows back fairly quickly where it sat. I never have seen signs of any varmit trying to dig in and I live with a lot of wildlife around. I feel I wasted my time with that dig protection. It is a tourist attraction though--everyone has had to stop by and see it ! Build it--you'll love it. My only plan change was 4 wheels instead of two. Anything you can think of to decrease wieght is a big help also--vinyl siding versus plywood etc.

-- Joel Rosen (, March 22, 2000.

I made mine before I saw a picture of the English style arks, which are super. In a wet, deep snow winter I am prepared to put some hay down on the ground to keep them from pecking it to awful mud. Make sure you create a braking system of sorts. Runaway chicken houses could get messy!

-- Anne (, March 22, 2000.

My husband built a chicken tractor more like Ft. Knox. It's 8' square, 3'tall and contains the equivalent of 4 full sheets of plywood, plus the framing, wire on 2 sides and nest boxes. I moved it last summer while I was just raising 40 Australorp chicks (butchered 22 roosters and still have 17 hens and their rooster) on lengths of PVC pipe set under parallel sides. Fortunately, our yard is flat enough that it didn't need brakes nor did I need to make anything but right angles with my turns. I just put the PVC under the other 2 sides and rolled away. For the winter, I had a hoophouse set up and placed the chicken tractor in the garden and the hoophouse over it. It gave the chickens a 12' x 24' dry area to exercise and let me tend them out of the weather. Are they doing wonders for the soil in that spot! As far as varmints, we have 2 Great Pyrenees that keep chicken theives and deer out of the yard and garden and another with the goats and sheep. They are worth their weight in gold but any good well trained and carefully selected dog should be able to do the same job.

-- Marilyn (, March 22, 2000.

I guess I should clarify that mine is only 4 x 8 feet, and is 1 foot off the ground on 4 wheels. With that size I use a piece of block against a wheel to keep it where I want it, especially when they are young and not out in the portable yard.It is a heavier contraption than I'd like, and I have a chain that I pull it with, difficult at times on uneven inclines.

-- Anne (, March 23, 2000.

I really like the hen house I built for the Sept/Oct 1998 issue. The main reason I move it every day is the kids go bare foot all summer so only a thin layer of poop is in one spot and you can't tell where it was the day before. I have the hens trained to go inside at night and I just close the house door so they are locked in and safe from predators. Over the winter Jd just put it out behind the garage and wrapped the bottom half of the chiken wire with plastic for a wind break and the hens did just fine.

-- Steve Belanger (, March 23, 2000.

We also liked the countyside coop and built one in a slightly smaller size[ in town only 2 chickens] It gets hot here so we put lattic on bottom part, It is a great design ! Gets hard to convince teenagers to move it [ chickens dont help as they love teenager fingers]so next step is to add wheels.

-- kathy h (, March 25, 2000.

Our son is building ours in his shop class at high school. He has a good start on it. He built it on skids instead of with wheels. We will pull it with the four wheeler.

I have wanted it for years. We are only putting a dozen laying hens in it for the spring, fall and summer. We'll put them back in the hen house for winter.

-- homestead2 (, March 25, 2000.

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