EDIT: This started as a tractor for 100 chickens, but has been changed to 50 due to builder miscalculations. In posting this, I’m hoping for ideas and tips as I go so that I can correct mistakes before they become too built in and uncorrectable. This ain’t gonna be no glitzy ritz. It’s going to be a functional, non-eye-sore, chicken tractor complete with enclosed run, hen house, roosts, nests, everything. The concept for this came from http://henhoops.com/hen-hoop-8156.html. We will free range them during the day in both the orchard and pasture as long as we don’t have a daytime predator. If we do have problems in the daytime, we can close them up until the problem is dealt with. With that in mind, I’ll start with the pregame goals. Hopefully I can get enough pics as I go so that if anyone actually follows this, they can picture what’s going on. Goals: Make it so that my wife can move it by hand. (Or at least with the 4-wheeler.) 2 Levels of Lift: 2-4 inches for small moves, must have 14” to move in and out of orchard. Structurally sound from the beginning. The only modifications I want to make are minor ones. Catastrophic failure is not an option. 50 up to 100 chicken capacity. At least 6’ tall in the middle of the run. Cannot be so large that it won’t maneuver through 30’x30’tree spacing in orchard. Deadline of Oct 5. It seems like the only way I have time to do something is to have a hard deadline. Why Oct 5th, because we ordered 50 chicks that arrived on the 31st of August. They’re in the yard in an 8’ diameter stock tank with the bottom cut out. They get moved to a new spot of grass about every 4 days. They’ll have to be out of there at 4-6 weeks. Meeting Goals: The frame will sit on the ground when not in transit. In order for her(or anyone else for that matter) to move it without the tractor(actual Farmall Tractor), it must have wheels. Bare minimum or 4 wheels for balance and stability. Leverage will be required to lift it by hand. An idea such as http://avianaquamiser.com/posts/Revised_chicken_tractor_wheel_lift/ will be designed and beefed up once everything else is built. Sound Structure is obvious, yet challenging while keeping the weight down. For 50 chickens enclosed 100% of the time, this would require 10 sq ft/chicken or 500 sq ft of space. Since this is a, hopefully, a mobile chicken tractor, Most recommendations fall to 4 sq ft/chicken, or 200sqft total for 50 chickens, or 400 sq ft for 100 chickens. I realize that we could go smaller, but at 4sqft/chicken, we can leave for a few days and rely on neighbors/friends to only collect the eggs. Arched cattle panels overlaid with chicken wire. A 16’x54” cattle panel arched to 6ft tall is about 8ft wide. At 8’ wide, the tractor would be 50ft long. If the cattle panels are made to be 19’6”, I can get 13’wide, 6-1/2’ tall. Requires 31ft in length. I can work with this. Since my 2x8’s are 16’ long and the cattle panels are 16’ long, my frame will be 13’x32’, 416sqft. This goal also meets goal #6. Other Requirements: 8 laying nests. I think this is enough for 100 chickens. Is it enough? Need to research this quick. 80 linear feet of roosting space. This gives the recommended 8” of roost per chicken for 100 chickens. Water will be a 30 or 55 gallon blue plastic drum connected to poultry nipples with PVC. Need to figure out how to freeze-proof this system, or switch to something else in winter. Quick note on our winters: the coldest it’s ever been is -11 for a couple of hours two years ago. Other than that, something in the teens, possibly even single digits, for 3-5 days is our normal cold snap. I don’t want the hen house to be any larger than 5’x13’. It will be raised 12-18” off the ground. No insulation in hen house. Just draft free in the winter, windows for the summer. BTW, summers here will top 110F at least once every year. Good ventilation is a must. Mesh floor in hen house. I know there are warnings against this, but I’ve seen it done many times before without problems. This will also help with ventilation. Have I bitten off more than I can chew? Now that I see all of that on paper, some of the confidence has given way to “Uh-Oh.” Any ideas along the way will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.