Melina's chicken tractor question : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Answering this question on a separate thread, because the one it was asked on was about "Why you homestead"

A couple suggestions I would share about the chicken tractor. (Our boys call our the "Chicken Bus".) Takes some working together to move the bus successfully. Even though they get on to the new grass that is coming at the front while you are moving, some will still hang towards the back during moving. (Broke some legs there.) We learned to open the trap door that we put in the back to gather the eggs, and lean down in and shoo them towards the front during moving.

You might not have this problem if you are up off the ground more, but we have a predator problem (racoons, oppossums). If it is up off the ground more than a couple inches, they dug and got in. When we added the boards to keep out the predators, it made the bus scoot along flush with the ground and would pin the slow moving chicken.

Ours is on runners, but wheels might work better. How far up off of the ground to make it will be determined by how your ground lays and whether you have predators.

We learned to secure the water and feed pans to the front, so they moved with the bus as it moved and didn't end up in the back to be fished out with a garden hoe at feeding time.

It takes some time to determine how often you want to move the bus so you efficiently use the grass, but don't leave a dead spot. They take it down to dirt in no time. We are still fine tuning the project, but we are enjoying it. Concentrate on building it out of the lightest materials you can for easy moving.

We move ours with the four wheeler. I would suggest making the whole thing light enough that a person could move it alone, without a four wheeler.

-- homestead2 (, August 24, 2000


Just adding this, to move the post to "recent answers" so Melina will get the answer to her chicken tractor question.

-- homestead2 (, August 24, 2000.

This subject has come up on a couple of Lists I'm on and I don't remember if I've posted this here or not (Ginko Biloba isn't kicking in!) Anyhoo, here it is:

Chicken Tractor ~


Here's a bunch of plans for coops and also some different kinds of tractors:

-- ~Rogo (, August 25, 2000.

I use a hand truck to slip segments of PVC pipe under the edge of my tractor, also on runners. I use 3 per side on the sides parallel to the direction I want to go. The first one is closest to the leading side, the second goes half way to the back and the third goes 3/4 the distance to the back. I can roll it where ever I want it just by pushing if there aren't too many shallow swales in the area. Our yard is fairly level. The hardest part is levering the edge to place the PVC under the runner. Two people can push it very easily and you can hear the chickens' calls change if you catch one before serious damage is done. Just be sure to have one foot under you to catch you if either the tractor or your bearing foot slips. Face first on the used patch isn't fun.

-- marilyn (, August 25, 2000.

Thanks to everyone for the input. We inherited a used c.t. from our 84 year old neighbor. It's frame is pvc pipe, roof over 1/3 of top is vinyl siding. It's very light-weight and fairly easy to move. Only problem, last winter the neighbor tried to move it alone, over tall grass. She hauled back on it to move it, her feet slipped out from under her, and she fell, breaking her hip. Life as she knew it came to an end that day. She had been a vital, active senior, working her homestead alone. Now, she is limited in what she can do, although she has made a remarkable recovery. She gave us the c.t., knowing she couldn't move it safely anymore. There's a lesson in all this. Life, even the lifestyle we have worked so hard to acquire, can change in the blink of an eye. Now another question. How many of you in temperate climates are actually using a c.t. year round, and do you plant anything special for them or just whatever pasture is available? I have the option of seeding annual rye to take them through winter. Any ideas?

-- Melina Bush (, August 27, 2000.

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