Chicken tractor 2m x 1m x 1m (excluding wheels and handle bars)

By socialdougal, Jun 5, 2015 | Updated: Jun 10, 2015 | |
  1. socialdougal
    As my pics don't show early stages of construction, I'll give details to follow the pics.
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    The first step was to form three triangular frames 1m x 1m : one from 45mm x 45mm battens, two from 45mm x 15mm. Screwed and glued joints. I added a screwed and glued plywood brace to the apex joints of the two narrower tri-frames. I then cut and shaped all the components for the nestbox, hinged access door, and feeding/shelter area. Fixed panels to tri-frame at wheel end (heaviest) and access ramp end of nestbox. Added wheel-support battens, wheels, exterior feed hopper, water feed system, interior dishes, nestbox-floor supports. Added entry-port awning, access ramp. Painted interior surfaces of nestbox components. Designed, measured, cut and drilled steel stress-point brackets x 10. Fixed 2m long top batten to three tri-frames with six brackets, screws, nuts and bolts, glue. Assembled nestbox. Fixed bottom battens, diagonal battens with four brackets, screws and glue. (Screws in underside temporarily omitted.) Fixed handle bars with screws, glue, plywood braces, nylon cable-tie braces. Applied waterproofing sealant to all appropriate nestbox joints exposed to rain. Added door/ramp stops, latches, access door holder, access door seal, roof apex seal, ramp pulley. Turned tractor onto its side, fixed omitted screws to brackets, painted underside surfaces. Turned tractor upright on three support blocks (to keep the paint intact). Added the hinged hand-feeding port near handle bar joint. Bolted a steel loop bracket into the apex joint at handlebar end as a tie-down point. (We get typhoons here.) The other tie-down point can be the wheel frame. I'd been working inside up till this point, then I moved it outside on a sunny day to start the exterior painting (metallic silver for nestbox to reflect the sun), and to fix the nylon netting with fencing staples and nylon cable ties. As I could not staple the netting to the access door, I screwed a few eyelets into the front panel/frame, next to the door's edge, then threaded steel wire from a clothes hanger through the netting and the eyelets. -- All wood-to-wood contact points glued and screwed/bolted or glued and panel pinned. Access ramp pulley operated from handlebar end so hens can be kept in the nestbox when tractor is moved. Our hens don't have a tractor licence yet.


    My lists of materials follows.

    New materials

    • 4mm plywood sheet x 2
    • Nut brown gloss paint x 1L
    • Steel window hinges x 1 pair
    • Brass box hinges x 1 pair
    • Dome head screws long x 1 box
    • Dome head screws short x 1 box
    • Wood glue 500ml
    • Nuts and bolts (for wheel frame)
    • Stainless steel rope pulley
    • Plastic water/food-dish unit with steel frame designed to attach to door of pet travel crate x 1
    • U-shaped fencing/general purpose steel staples
    • Strong nylon cable zip ties
    • Silicone sealant (for modified water bottle caps)
    • Putty-type wood sealant
    • General-purpose DIY glue
    • Screw-in hooks and eyes, various sizes

    Recycled/liberated materials

    • 45mm x 15mm battens from dismantled cat run (frame)
    • Nylon-rope netting " " " "
    • Countersunk screws long " " " "
    • Lightweight wood from dismantled DIY shelf project (ramp and splinds)
    • Panel pins " " " " "
    • 45 x 45mm battens " " " " " (frame)
    • Metallic silver paint left over from some prior project
    • Stainless steel strips from trashed picnic table (stress-point brackets, door-hinge mount, door-latch strip, door stop/holder)
    • Hinges from trashed steel cabinet (ramp)
    • Magnetic latch from trashed steel cabinet (door)
    • Padlock fixture from prior project
    • 2L PET water bottles x 2 (one spare)
    • Water pipe and snap-on fittings from trashed hot-water system (drinking water supply)
    • Steel hook from plastic/steel clothes hanger x 1 (Hand-feeding port latch)
    • Wine cork x 1 (ramp pulley cord handle and ramp stop)
    • Silver grey (UV-light reflective) medium-weight plastic waterproof sheet (nestbox roof apex waterproofing, door-closure seal, feed-hopper lid waterproofing)
    • Wheels, steel frame from broken garden wheelbarrow
    • Steel U-brackets and nuts from trashed antenna mast x 2 sets (fixtures for wheel frame and loop for tie-down strap)
    • Strips of rubber from trashed car innertubes (cushioning for wheel-frame fixtures)
    • Rope cord from someone's sun gazebo left on the beach (ramp pulley cord)
    • Alluminium plate cut from empty beer cans (interior joint of feed hopper, exterior joint of feed-dish spout, exterior joint of door awning)
    • Wire clothes hanger (attachment of netting on door side of nestbox)
    • Elastic-rope ties found in a drawer (latch for feed hopper, securing strap for water bottle)

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