Originally Posted by winc564
I thought I would post this here because you all are so helpful as enablers such good neighbors.
My chicks are going to have a permanent coop and run. We will be taking every predator proofing measure that we are aware of. I would like to build a small chicken "tractor" to allow the birds to have pasture time. I would be moving it a few times a day and on any days that I am not home, I would leave them in the permanent run. With that being said, these are questions that I have:
1. I plan to use pvc pipe so that I can move it easily. I do not, however, want it to flip over in the event of wind. Do you know what I could use as simple stakes to hold it in place?
as others have said, screw in dog tie or cement blocks.... if the ground is soft or sandy you will probably have to go to the weight system because most stakes will pull free. Old belts from Goodwill or thrift store make easy to use tie downs through cement blocks (rough block wears through binder twine and light rope very quickly)
2. If I use 1/2" hardware cloth, do you think this is sufficient for day time protection? From what I read, predators are not likely to attack during the day and , as I stated, I would not leave the chickens unattended.
you can use the half inch on the bottom 2 feet, or even 1" if you have large fowl birds/chicks. above the 2 foot mark you can switch to rabbit or goat type fencing with larger mesh to save on expenses, if you plan to have chicks in it you don't want the 2x4" opening of standard goat fencing on anything they can even possibly reach or they will escape. the 2x4 goat fencing on the upper part is fine if you are covering it with a tarp. If you have active rats or weasels/mink in your area stay away from the larger goat fencing though, they can get through it.
3. Obviously, I would need to provide water. I am guessing that food is not necessary, because I want them to be able to hunt for bugs, etc. I would also provide a section with roof for shade or protection from rain. Is it necessary to have a place to nest, since the chickens won't be living in it full time? (Sorry if that is a stupid question, but I've never owned my own chickens before and I don't know if they have a pattern/time of day for laying.)
Food and nest are both needed, 1 nest for every 4 or 5 hens to avoid conflicts. can be as simple as a couple of 5 gallon buckets on their side with a length of 2x4 screwed across the front which hangs out on either side to prevent it from rolling and keep in any nesting material or eggs.
4. Any other tips or suggestions?
Make sure there is at least a small area in it that is well protected from wind from 3 sides, you can do this by placing tarp down to ground level on part of it or by zip tying a couple pieces of scrap roofing near a corner. This allows emergency weather protection if rain storm comes up unexpectedly, the breeze will blow rain in a lot more than you expect and this will allow them somewhere to hunker down until you can move them.
avoid pointing the open end toward the prevailing wind for the day, it will be more comfortable for the birds and less likely to try to blow away... but also see last comment....
.... a broomstick secured through the wire from one side to the other, or a large stick/tree limb will give them a bit of roost to hang out on while they enjoy the day
mid day sun will make it quite warm under a tarp, so make sure that there is good airflow through at least part of it to allow them relief from the heat.