Tip of Moving Chicken Tractors

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I built a 4'x8'x2' high cage to keep ducklings and poults on the yard. Eventhough I used as light of material as feasible, it was still a bear to move using a two-wheeled cart. I have added 6" lawnmower tires on the back end which helps quite a bit. Just attached them with long lag bolts.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), August 16, 2001


Here in the UK we call,a chicken tractor, a poultry ark,we have several arks which we move on 3" by 2" wooden skids. We pull ours around with our ride on grass cutter. More ideas from Rooster

-- Rooster (nicholson.p@btconnect.com), August 16, 2001.

Thats it! I should have put wheels on ours. Mine is 8x8 and about 3 feet tall and hubby put pieces of wood at the corners to anchor everything together but the down side is that the bottom is not flussh. To combat this I have been putting boards under the corners as skids or runners and pushing the hole thing from behind. That means stopping to move the skids etc. Its a royal pain in the ass. I think I will be looking for some wheels!!! Thanks Ken.

-- Alison in N.S. (aproteau@istar.ca), August 17, 2001.

after all the help from folks here, my husband built us a beautiful one that is a chicken tractor for when we aren't home (they free range when we are) and can house them all winter as well. he made it big and heavy. we will be adding wheels eventually that can flip under and then back up....but until then Marilyn from here wrote and told me she uses pvc pipes to roll hers, and we do that together and it works quite well! it does take two of us, and having more than 2 lengths of pipe would make it easier....

-- marcee king (thathope@mwt.net), August 17, 2001.

Well, this is Marilyn checking in. I'm a smallish, overweight, 50+ lady with a bad back so it took some thinking to figure out how to move my tractor by myself. Husband built it to withstand hurricane, earthquake and tidal wave of 2x4's, plywood and poultry netting. It's 8'x8'x3' and I don't want to even venture a guess of its weight. I have 6 1' long pieces of 2"OD PVC and a hand truck (dolly?) to use as a lever. I lift the side of the tractor with the hand truck's plate and place 2 pieces of the PVC parallel to the leading side at the front end of the runners, the second pair at the middle and the third pair about half the distance from the middle to the back edge. I've learned to stand on one foot and push the PVC into position with my other foot while holding the tractor up with the dolly. I position myself with my back against the middle support and push the tractor facing backwards. If I get a chicken caught, I can hear it, stop and use the dolly to lift the tractor or PVC off her. My yard is only slightly rolling so I don't have much trouble moving tractor this way. Make sense?

When the chicks are small, I remove the PVC sections between moves but once they get a little size on them, they can't sneak out underneath. I have Pyrs in the yard so don't need to worry about varmints digging underneath the tractor at night.

-- marilyn (rainbow@ktis.net), August 17, 2001.

I have thought long and hard about using a working dog to move chicken tractors if we would go into business with pastured layer hens.

I built our present chicken tractor out of lightweight "2x3's" used in trailer construction. Cheaper than buying 2x2's. I made a rope out of bailer twine a little longer than the width of the tractor, and attached it to the bottom corners. Getting inside the rope, and putting it over my shoulders like a yoke, makes it easy to use whole body strength as leverage to lift and move the thing. Only my legs do the lifting, and it keeps my back perfectly straight. It even works well going uphill.

-- daffodyllady (daffodyllady@yahoo.com), August 18, 2001.

My husband and I have been using chicken tractors for about 6 years now and have changed designs and the way we move them. We have come up with a really slick little cart that is small, easy to use and easy to make. I have pix if any one is interested.

-- Mary R. (cntryfolk@ime.net), August 19, 2001.

How do you put the tires on so that it will still be flush with the ground keeping out predators?

Also, what is your loss rate due to predators? Don't predators dig under?

-- Ann Markson (tngreenacres@hotmail.com), August 20, 2001.

The tires only extend below the bottom about 3/4". Once it is moved, the bottom pretty well sits flat on the ground. I haven't had a problem with digging in, but can see where it might happen.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), August 20, 2001.

Ken, Im in Tn too and am wondering--will you keep your chickens in the tractors in the winter? How many are in the tractor? With roosters? Is it hard to harvest the eggs and put in water and feed? How much feed do you have to provide?

-- Ann Markson (tngreenacres@hotmail.com), August 20, 2001.


Sorry I wasn't clear. I use my mobile cage to keep ducks and poults in between the time they can leave my el-cheapo brooder and when they can be let loose to free-range. Something trying to dig under hasn't been a problem so far.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), August 21, 2001.

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