I got two chickens from our Mosquito Control sentinel chicken program. They are about 10 months old and have been laying regularly. They have been handled frequently and are very tame. I'm not sure of the breeds. The white one is Laverne and the brown is Shirley. Since I only had a week to prepare them a space to live, we had to improvise with what we had on hand. This is the story of my chicken tractor, aka chicken tank because it ended up being so dang heavy!
Day 1: We re-purposed a metal dogbox as the base of the chicken tractor. It was 3'W x 3'L x 2'H. It is made of expanded metal with small holes. All wood was pressure treated. I followed the basic idea of "Recycled Tractor" on the coops page.
I wrapped the bottom of the dog box and the two openings on the upper sides with 1/2" hardware cloth, and wrapped it to secure.
Next we built the deck, cut an access hole, and attached to dog box. big thanks to father-in-law for helping out!
End of day 1. The base is 4' x 4'.
Day 2: built uprights, installed 2x4's inbetween to anchor hardware cloth and plywood, and reinforced base with another 2x4. Originally thought we'd use 1/2' plywood as roof, but if adding metal later will need thicker base.
I built this platform to go under the nest box and roosts. My thought is that I can just scrape off the poop. I will tile this.
Plywood and hardware cloth are making it really take shape. We had a slight pitch to roof so the front is about 32" high and slopes back to about 30". Hubby is pondering something serious here. End of day 2.
Day 3: finishing touches. Dog box door had gaps so I overlapped hardware cloth until we can replace that latch. Hung feeder in the middle of box to protect from weather as much as possible. Still not sure where I want to put that water. Also, I am not sure about angle of ramp, but we'll give this a try.
Since we were running out of time, I just purchased the nest box from Tractor Supply. We built two roost bars, lower one is 2x4 turned flat and higher one is 1x2. You can see the peel-and-stick tile I used on the elevated platform. The bricks are helping hold them down so they stick well.
I ended up cutting the opening a little bigger after looking at the angle of the ladder. I put trim pieces around to hopefully keep the shavings upstairs.
Here's the 95% finished tractor. Headed to Lowe's to get door hardware for top, and trim wood to cover hardware cloth edges. But at least it is secure for the girls.
Side view with shavings.
Later that day... Laverne and Shirley are checking out their new digs. Their previous lodgings were pretty spartan: no roost and no nest box. They were on metal 100% off time and laid their eggs in corner. Hopefully it won't take them too long to figure out how to be chickens!!
Day 4: First eggs!! Aren't they beautiful?