Floor of chicken tractor

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I know, another question about chicken tractors, but I need some opinions. My son-in-law pointed out that the feet of the chickens might get cut on the wire. Also, couldn't they get hurt when the tractor is moved? I have to provide something down there as I think the raccoons would get under there and kill the chickens, even if I made an apron of the chicken wire on the outside! What do you far-more-knowledge-filled people think??

-- Ardie from WI (ardie54965@hotmail.com), June 10, 2001


Floors in chicken tractors? How are they going to scratch through it? If anything add weight on top to keep it too heavy for the coons to claw under or attach eyelets and put down "tent stakes" around the out side.

-- mitch hearn (moopups1@aol.com), June 10, 2001.

I saw in the May/June issue plans for a 4ftx4ft quail pen. It was an A frame, with the coop part at the top and the grazing pen down below. I thought that this would take care of most of the night time predetors since the hens are closed up tight at night in the upper story. I would use 1 inch wire mesh as the floor of the coop part but leave the grazing pen open at the bottom,using the "aprons mentioned above. my plan is to extend the whole thing to a 4ftx20ft size, adding some vents at each end for ventalation. that's my next big project!!! can't wait to see all the other answeres. Susan

-- Susan n' Emily, in Tn (animalcrackers55@hotmail.com), June 10, 2001.

Leave it open- you don't want a floor. You want the chickens to be able to scratch, etc. You might consider adding "wings" if you are worried about predators digging. What I mean is to make 4 wire- covered panels (one for each side of the tractor plus one for each end). These can be attached at the bottom of the pen with hinges and folded up while moving the pen. After moving lay them down flat on the ground. I would make them 2' wide at least, and weight or stake them down. Personally, I really recommend electric fence wire! My new favorite solution. I lost 1 rooster to a neighbor's dog; 3 newly- laying hens to a fox; and 3 of my new baby chicks to a raccoon. I now have one strand of wire around the bottom of the pen and another strand around the perimeter of the garden, and no problems since I put it up. If the fox and 'coon hadn't already had a taste of chicken I would probably just used on wire.

-- Elizabeth (ekfla@aol.com), June 10, 2001.

I have no floor in our chicken tractor and was thinking of putting one in. True the chickens like to scratch, so I would have to try it wired to see if the wire floor hurt their feet. I do know that when the ground is wet, the chickens scratch so much at the grass and bugs that they tear up all the grass and even make a hole in the ground at times. Pulling the tractor over these "bumps" is not fun, especially if the tire gets stuck. I do move it every day. :-) I figured a wire floor would keep the chickens from totally pulling up the grass roots and keep them from making their craters. Has anyone else had these troubles?? I do not want a bunch of pot holes to trip in across the property. Good question Ardie. Brenda

-- Brenda (brenclark@alltel.net), June 11, 2001.

Joel Salatin recommends taking a child along out to scare the chickens away from the far side of the pen while moving, at least for the first week or so. If you are moving it every day, the chickens learn that when the pen starts to move, fresh grass and bugs appear, and they crowd to be the first to get to it. Moving the pen every day is a good idea to avoid those dustbathing holes, too.

Salatin also says that a lady he knows uses old skates, one under each far corner, for easier moving of pens. They just roll right along! Am planning to try that, myself.

-- daffodyllady (daffodyllady@yahoo.com), June 12, 2001.

We had one of our children near the back of the chicken tractor when I pulled it with the regular tractor and that worked. It was so heavy and big we didn't have problems with varmints. Also, the goats didn't like wild life in their yard, so they kept the raccoons away. I moved mine every day or two and would never consider a floor on it. We just put in fresh water every time we moved it and the goats and horse kept the critter away from it.

-- Chris Tomlinson (tomlinsonchris@netscape.net), June 15, 2001.

I built one of those A frame types with wooden coop above and fnced run below. Hens go up at night and you pull up the gangplank with a string. This closes the opening making it hard for predators to get in. Bottom of the run is just the ground. Seems to work well.

-- Tony Bourque (tobourque@attbi.com), December 17, 2001.

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