Zookeeper15133s Chicken Coop Tractor

By zookeeper15133 · Jan 11, 2012 · ·
  1. zookeeper15133
    My A Frame Chicken Tractor/ Coop / Ark
    Last year I got 3 chicks. I built the small chicken tractor.
    Then I learned chicken math. LOL. So... I went in search of a larger coop. I searched here and other places. I combined the ideas from several Arks.
    Much thanks to The Southern Agrarian. I liked much of his design, plus he has awesome instructions for building it.

    I used white pine 2 x4's for the uprights and 1 x 4 cedar for the runners. I used 10' cedar for the runners to use as handles. I didnt cut the center notches until I cut all others and dry fitted it on my 6' x 8' treated lumber base frame, but I used 10' 2x4's so I could have a 1' overhang on each end to put wheels on.. After I dry fitted all the frame pieces together, I marked where an uncut 4' x 8' piece of plywood would fit. Then I marked that and cut it. I also put my cross braces between the center braces, instead of over them.
    The long braces are all spaced on 24" centers so the wire and Tuftex panels fit without cutting them. I centered the 10' bottom and top pieces. The bottom for wheels and the top to hang a water bucket or flowers from.
    Look at the pic and notice there is no lower gusset in the center section. This is so I could put my roost across the lower gussets.

    I used all 3/8" plywood on it, to keep the weigt down.
    I took my sheet for the floor and split it down the center, so I had 2 2' x 8' pieces. This makes it easier to put in and also lets the water drain when you clean it. I got a 6x8 piece of vinyl flooring and glued it to the floor pieces. This makes it a breeze to clean, trust me! I also put a frame around the opening with scrap wood to keep the wood chips in.

    Then I cut my 3 pieces for each end. These were a little tricky. Don't assume if it fits on one end, it will also fit on the other end. I had my DD Hold the plywood in place whie I got inside and traced. The 2 large pieces are on hinges. The top small piece is just screwed into place. The center pieces are screwed shut, but if I do need to open it, it's just a matter of taking out 2 screws. The bottom pieces are kept shut with window locks. I got most of my hardware at the the second hand construction store. I built my nest boxes out of scrap plywood and used a 2x3 as my roost. As you can see, I didn't measure and my roost goes through the top nest box, but my girls don't mind, they use it anyways.
    The center piece where the nest boxes are, I just plunge cut a door for gathering eggs. It is centered between the 3 nests. The back of the nests have the same 3" pieces across the bottoms and an open back.
    I put my 1 x 2 galvanized wire on with 1 1/4" screws and washers that I got at Tractor Supply by the pound. I love that place! Put wire across the top and bottom. Leave the center section open, that is your access for cleaning.
    I used a piece of aluminum roof cap (that I got at Lowes for $5 because it was dented) for the very top. It took a little bending but it worked. It is attached to the top frame before the Tuftex.
    I built 4 2' x 8' frames with cornerbraces for the tuftex panels to go on. You really don't need those expensive screws they sell for it, just use a long screw and a washer, and don't tighten it to far.
    I used cabinet hinges to attach the top panels ( they were only$.25 at Construction junction!)
    I put the center panels on with 2 hooks and eyes on each side. (8 total) And it was done!

    I primed and painted all the white wood before cutting the touched up before assembly. I got all my hardware from the second hand construction store. I think it cost me about $250 total. The panels are about $20 each.
    I used 2 1/2 sheets of plywood.
    2 10' 2x4 treated
    2 6' 2x4 treated
    2 8 1x4 cedar
    3 10' 1x4 cedar
    1 2x3
    7 1x3 furring strips
    Misc. scrap lumber.
    Screws in various lengths, from 1/2" to 3".
    Hinges and latches.

    I put lawn mower wheels on it but it was to heavy and they flattened, but it still rolls.
    I also took an old lawnmower handle, screwed it to a piece of 2x4 and screwed that to the bottom end. That really makes it much easier to move.
    It has been in use now for nearly a year. I have had some warping around the egg door because it was thin plywood and I have had to reinforce the door hinges with some scrap wood and longer screws. It has withstood the winter well (I am in SW PA) and the girls have been happy in it all winter. I have had eggs all winter.
    Changes: I would use larger wheels on it! Otherwise, we love it!
    The Tuftex is tough! I have a pygmy goat that bounces off of it and hasn't hurt it!

    I have since added larger wheels and a lawn mower handle to pull it. Wayyyy easier!

    The handle is screwed to the ends of the 2x4. Make the 2x4 however wide your handle is. I think mine was 16" or 18".
    Then screw the 2x4 to the end of the coop. I used 2 1/2" screws. This way, if I want to pull it the other way, it's only a matter of unscrewing/rescrewing a couple screws.
    I also upgraded my wheels.

    This is what happened to the lawnmower wheels...
    It's hard to see in the pic, but the upper left side is smashed and twisted.​

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Recent User Reviews

  1. NanaKat
    "Great construction details - chicken coop tractor"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jul 3, 2018
    A well written article with clear directions and photos. The author even updated to include corrections and self critic.
  2. karenerwin
    "I couldn't get to the other site"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Jul 3, 2018
    Very nice details. I like the supply list near the end and the reflection about what needed to be changed as well as the report about how it held up in the first year.

    Unfortunately, when I clicked on both links, they did not take me to anything useful. Both sites were no longer available.

    Thanks for sharing your coop with us.


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  1. Indiana Chick
  2. teneyck farms
    nice tractor thank you
  3. Colonel
    Excellent job, Zookeeper15133, and I'm glad to hear that you found the pictures on The Southern Agrarian helpful. I've added a link back to this page so that folks can see the improvements you've made. If anyone knows of other similar designs, I'd appreciate hearing about them so I can add those links also.

    For an update, it is still going strong, although it is too heavy to move regularly so it stays in one spot. I have moved my chickens to different quarters since I now have 16 hens and one rooster. The chicken tractor is now being used by four geese and a duck. They have free range during the day, but I lock them up there at night.
  4. zookeeper15133
    Thank you! I loved SA's design, but it was to heavy and didn't have a floor, so I tried to improve it the best I could.
    In pics 3 through 5 you can see the hole in the floor. It's near the cross brace. I used a maybe 4' by 8" or 10" piece of plywood and used a hinge to attach it to the cross brace. I wrapped the plywood with heavy jute like what is used for macrame, or you could put a piece of lattice on it. What ever you use, use a bungee cord to hold it up when you move it.
    The hole will look small and the angle steep, but my turkey hen can get upstairs when it's open.
  5. Phottoman
    I really like the way you documented this, what a wonderful build. I DO have a question. I looked very carefully at both your design and that of Southern Agrarian, and I didn't see (maybe it's just me) the ramp you used for the girls to get to and from the coop. Did I over look that? I have one completed tractor that I am totally dissatisfied with for eight girls, and a second I am building for ten girls and a rooster, and I know I have to do something better than that first tractor I built. I think THIS is the one I want to copy. Thank you
  6. rebecuna
    Thanks, I was just wondering if you could build an ark with corrugated roofing, and if that would make it lighter! Seems so, since your footprint is quite a bit larger than other arks... just what I was looking for! Can't wait to start building!
  7. zookeeper15133
    Hi gymgem, sorry I took so long to respond, I just saw your post. I am a 140# woman and with the alterations, I can move it by myself. It has been through 2 winters now and I haven't had any problems. The coop itself on the ground is 8x6, but the bottom rails are 10' long. If I want to move it the other way from where I have the handle, I just move the handle, 2 screws, I just love my cordless drill/driver!
  8. gymgem
    Zookeeper, thanks for showing the steps. Your ark looks more lightweight than some. Can one person move it? I live in Central PA and was wondering if you felt that any insulation is necessary. It appears that your ventilation would be excellent, which seems more important from everything I have read. Your footprint appears to be 8' by 5 or 6 feet?

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