Hi, I've had bobwhite quail, pigeons, chickens, and a duck for about 2 years now. I've been keeping them in those small little premade coops you buy at Murdoch's, and I'm just about fed up with them.
I have a lot of problems and I'm trying to figure out the best way to solve them.
First, I'm a single mom of a one year old kid, so I don't have a lot of time to spend building anything or cleaning their cages.
Second, I've got a really bad predator problem. Twice now I've had attacks, and the last one wiped out all but 2 of my pigeons.
Third, I've got a nosy brother who is always worried that I didn't feed the birds. Which is ridiculous, because I do it every day, but he doesn't believe me. And worse, he always goes and feeds them without telling me, and he often forgets to lock the door afterward, and leaves trash laying around. We get in fights about this all the time and I'm sick of it.
Fourth, I'm spending too much money on feed, and I need to find a way to reduce or hopefully eliminate costs, because I have NO money. Like, $100 is all I have to work with.
I've been reading on the internet how chicken tractors are an ideal system for raising poultry. I really like this idea, because; I want to start a garden to grow food for my chickens, but I don't have enough money to buy a plow, it will keep the eggs and chickens cleaner without having to routinely clean out their coop, it will keep them healthier and reduce feed consumption, and it will be easy to maintain.
The only problem is, first, that I have many predators that would likely be able to break into the chicken tractor, and second, that I can't find a good chicken tractor within my price range.
So I'm asking for some tips on how to make this work. What is a quick, easy, efficient way to make a chicken tractor (or find one for sale) or something else that will solve the problems I'm having?
I'm thinking I might have to build two chicken tractors, one for the chickens (3 chickens, 1 duck) and 1 for the 10 quail and 2 pigeons. Out of something cheap and easy to assemble. It has to be easily moved, not some big, heavy yet fragile thing like the coops I have now. I was thinking maybe just buy a cage or something, or maybe using some hardware cloth and wood poles.
And I figure I'll leave them in there during the day when I can open the windows and hear if something is attacking them, and then move them into the chicken coop and lock it with a padlock (to keep predators and nosy brothers out) at night. And just keep the coop covered with straw.... like a deep bedding system. And then move the chicken tractor once in a while and plant seeds where it was.
So my question is... what is a good design for a cheap quick easy to build chicken tractor and how do I create a deep bedding system, and how do I grow my own feed? And what other tips can you give me? I need help here because I'm kinda at the end of my rope, ready to give up. Just give me some help, guys.