A design for a small chicken tractor

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kimslack, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. kimslack

    kimslack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 13, 2009
    Western NY
    I am trying to find ideas for small portable day-pens for a couple of chickens that would fit on a foot wide raised row. Is it possible to move a couple of chickens from my small flock into a small pen that I could bring up to my garden for a day of pecking at the soil and getting those pesky grubs out?

    Has anyone ever attempted this? Is it okay for the chickens if they are laying? I'd probably need a tarp over part of it for shade and light rain and a nesting area and some small water drippers.

    Taking a break from my pencil and sketch paper. Kim
     
  2. possumqueen

    possumqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 17, 2009
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    [​IMG]

    Does it have to be ONLY a foot wide? And do you have banties or full size hens?

    If you could go with two or three feet wide, then you could make a pretty nice portable pen out of pvc pipe and 2x4 weld wire. Six to ten feet long, two or three feet wide, tepee shape, with the pvc pipe around the bottom to help it keep its shape. You would need something to tie it down with so that predators couldn't tip it over and get the snacks inside (chickens). You could hang a waterer from the peak, and throw a tarp over part of it for shade. Use cable clamps to hold the wire together.

    If you were planning on leaving them out in it all day it would DEFINITELY need to be secured to the ground, and I would strongly recommend a harware cloth apron to keep out diggers.

    Other than that it's certainly a good idea, and your chickens and your garden will thank you very much!
     
  3. Laurieks

    Laurieks Where did the time go???

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    Aug 14, 2009
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    Ours is an old watermelon crate...~4x6x2' covered with chicken wire. It came free with our first Silkies, and is about worn out. Lots of baling twine holding it together now.
    I think they use cardboard for melons now, so I'm glad to see your PVC & mesh idea here. Thanks!
     
  4. kimslack

    kimslack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 13, 2009
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    The garden has 9 ' deer fencing around it and is wrapped at the base with chicken wire. They would only be out during the day when we were around so I think they'd be safe enough while in the pen. Its just the problem of getting them from the main coop to the garden and back at end of day.

    I'm new to chickens and I keep thinking they are going to disintegrate if I breath on them too hard [​IMG]) So I could get them used to being handled and put into a small pen (maybe 2 in each small cage) and then set out on the raised rows when I've finished harvesting or prior to seeding. I'm thinking of something bigger, taller than a standard have-a-hart cage.

    If they are laying, would be transferred from their main coop in the barn to the portable pens in the garden each day be a good idea?

    I have just 7 tennaged hens (mutts) and one teenaged rooster. All are pretty tame but I don't handle them. They live in a cornered off part of the barn with a holecut in the back into a small pen.

    I'm pretty excited about rotating their manure into the garden. I'm also very interested in having them help me enrich the new section of the garden I got started last year. I've always got different parts of the garden that are not being used.

    Has anyone ever done anything like this?

    I like the PVC pipe design idea but I think I'd need a long rectangle'd cage of some kind. Will the chickens mind me putting them in a cage every day during the summer?
     
  5. PandoraTaylor

    PandoraTaylor RT Poultry n Things

    Jun 29, 2009
    Alaska
    I cheated, I used 2"x4" s with welded Hardwire 1"x2" Mesh, then built to suit my needs, Covered with tarp to keep Hawks out, I pick up 2 hens (one under each arm) & to the garden I go...in the evening back to the coop we go.
    I have a bowl for water in the portable pen, and I throw a bit (small handful) of food on the ground to get them interested.....

    I also have a very small pen that I move over anthills! I go in with my shovel & stir the ants up, then I get the 2 hens, then they have a blast scratching the ant hill to bits and snacking on the ants.

    edited for spelling errors
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  6. kimslack

    kimslack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 13, 2009
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    Okay.. Now I gotta start training my hens! It should be fun to have them up there with me. I love their little peeping noises and we do seem to be getting alot of catapiller grubs lately.
     
  7. possumqueen

    possumqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You might start by taking them out before daylight and bringing them in after dark. In the dark you can pick them up without having to chase them, so everything would be done calmly, and they would get used to the idea more quickly. AND they would learn that you're doing them a favor -- "oooh, we're going out to eat bugs!" "oooh, now we're going to bed!" Now that it's winter that would be fairly easy to arrange.
     
  8. kimslack

    kimslack Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 13, 2009
    Western NY
    Trainin'in with ma peeps! I'll have to blog about this!!! LOL!
     

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