chicken tractor : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Has anyone figured out how to make a movable cage for layers? Is this even possible. I want my girls to have the best feed possible with lots of greens and bugs but I've been noticing alot of stray dogs around here lately - not to mention the danger imposed by my own dog if he gets loose - or the danger imposed to my garden veggies by the chickens.

Also, I wanted to raise broilers this year but my neighbor tells me that the moveable cages were a disaster for him because the coons came and ate the legs offs his chickens. How do I protect the broilers from predators that are strong enough to get under the cages.

I would love to here from some of you who have used moveable cages and can tell me what worked well for you and what didn't. I make to many expensive mistakes and I cannot afford too many more. Thanks!

-- Tiffani Cappello (, March 18, 2001


We have a chicken tractor(8x12) for our layers. I made nest boxes out of old milk crates, filled them with straw, and they get used everyday. I just put them inside the tractor after it is moved for the day, then take them out at night so the girls won't roost in them. I have a trap door on top of the tractor so it is easy to reach in and pull them out to collect the eggs. I have two for 12 birds and really need one or two more. I have also seen a nest box mounted to the side of a tractor, but it adds quite a bit of weight to the whole thing, making it harder to move.

-- melina b. (, March 18, 2001.

Hi Tiffani, We raise several hundred broilers every summer, all in moveable pens; have yet to lose one to predators, and we are way out in the sticks. How did the coons get in?? We use the Salatin method (with a few adjustments) with great success, and expand every year. Produces an unbelievably excellent product, and is an easy method for even beginners to follow. I'd be happy to respond to any questions, and highly recommend PASTURE POULTRY PROFITS by Joel Salatin .

-- Earthmama (, March 18, 2001.

Salatin's book will answer lots of questions you didn't even know you knew. I built a different kind of pen though. Mine is for a small number of birds--I have had eight large breed in it with no problem. It is off the ground one foot with wheels. The pen is pallets with chicken wire that are held up by bungees on the corner-I tried hooks/eyes and they didn't do well on varied terrain.

The pen is 4 x 8 feet. Glass door on the low end of the roof that lets in lots of sunshine and allows me to feed easily-its on hinges from the side (tried the hinges on the top, inconvenient). The nest boxes are externally mounted on the 'high' side of the roof. There is a hinged lid that lets me get them without bending over. So easy. I have an old tree branch roost inside. Move it every day and the girls do fine.

Good luck.

-- Anne (, March 18, 2001.

Can anyone post pictures of their chicken tractor on the picture page, please.I have Joel's book, but I'm starting on a smaller scale, 25 at a time.I also will have 8 layers which will be in another tractor until the snow flys again. Hubby is in the basemant now starting the layers tractor! So any pictures will be helpful.


-- Carol Koller (, March 18, 2001.

I just got Pastured Poultry Profits from the library. Has alot of great info. I am putting in a request for The Chicken Tractor.

About the tractor for layers - do the hens stay in this tractor at night too or do you take them in and how? Do they have roosts in there?

I am not sure how the coons got my neighbors chickens I think they were off the ground at night and the coon went underneath and ate the feet off.

-- Tiffani Cappello (, March 18, 2001.

Tiff, my gals and their rooster stay in the tractor 24/7. We have vinyl siding over half the roof to give them shelter from sun and rain. The chicken wire on the sides comes down onto the ground about 6-8 inches and makes an apron. Any predators that try to get in are standing on the very wire they need to get under in order to get in. Did that make sense? Anyway, the only predation loss we have had was when they were first put into it, the very first night!. Something, probably a coon, got a hand in, pulled chicks over to the side, and ate them through the wire. All that was left was feet, heads and wings, the parts that they couldn't get through the wire. I let the dog run in the same yard, and no more problems. Now they are big enough and aren't bunching in the corners, either, so the coons can't get to them. I don't have pictures, but mine looks very similar to Joels on his website, except for the roof. Mine is flat with the vinyl siding on top. And we move it the same way, with a dolly.

-- melina b. (, March 18, 2001.

Tiffani- I will try to post some photos of my small (4'x8'x2') tractor tomorrow. This works out great for my 4 chickens. Mine won't start laying for a few more weeks, so there is no nest box yet, but I plan to mount one to the end of the tractor, inside, so it can move with the tractor. Also, I use the deep litter system, in my garden, so I don't move the pen every day. Suits my needs perfectly.

-- Elizabeth (, March 18, 2001.

Here's one style

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

-- ~Rogo (, March 19, 2001.

Tiffany, To gain entrance to your pen, the raccoon will choose the path of least resistance AT GROUND LEVEL first. Choose the path for him... Go ahead and build your chicken wired perimeter, but incorporate a 12x12x30 single door havahart trap into the bottom of one wall. Install it on the INSIDE of the pen. Preferably near (BUT NOT UNDER) the roosting area of the pen. Wire-weave the trap's entrance into the fabric of the chicken wire, so Rocky Raccoon doesn't slip past the cage. Set the trap, no additional bait required. He'll walk right into the opening. Your ladies will alert you when Rocky is in the trap. Then go liquidate the fellow.

-- Action Dude (, March 19, 2001.

Tiffany, I forgot to mention an added side benefit of the havahart built-in: Once in awhile you've got to chase a chicken twenty times around the pen to catch her, or him. You've all been there, children flapping their arms, barnyard pandamonium... Well, this hole in the fence also will capture your chicken as you corral him into it with plywood pieces or whatever you use. (We've had two or three nice shrimp nets or crab nets, but the children are just TOO HARD on that kind of equipment. Usually trying to net EACH OTHER...) Ha ha. Have fun and good hunting!

-- Action Dude (, March 20, 2001.

I also have been making plans for a chicken tractor, and my main concern was stray dogs. I found a company on the web that makes chicken tractors in 3 sizes which they claim are completely predator- proof. Plus, they look easy to care for and to move. The only catch is that they are very pricey, although for at least one of them, you can just pay for plans and hardware. Check it out at


-- Janet Cunningham (, March 24, 2001.

Hi Tiffani, We build and sell a modular portable chicken tractor. We have had them for years, and have had no preditor problem. They are much less expensive than the others we have seen out there on the internet. Email us and see a picture, or check out our website at Type it directly into the address bar.

-- Cheryl Robinson (, September 04, 2001.

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