About chicken tractors.......

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by trilyn, May 18, 2010.

  1. trilyn

    trilyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2009
    East Syracuse
    I live in CNY, and we get pretty cold winters up here and days of zero temps and high winds. How do these tractors hold up? I'd like to make a couple using the hoop house or A-frame idea, but want to know if they are adequate protection in nasty weather conditions. Am I overreacting, I mean, they are just portable chicken coops right? Any help and input would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. drunkdog

    drunkdog Chillin' With My Peeps

    179
    1
    111
    May 15, 2010
    Everett
    I do not have this answer, but I did subscribe to your thread as I am curious as to what the answer is. thanks for asking it
     
  3. acid_chipmunk

    acid_chipmunk Polish Silkies d'Uccles O my!

    Mar 29, 2010
    I live in Central PA and we have an A-frame tractor for our chickens. It is built with 2x4's and 7/16 plywood, is 8 feet tall and 8 feet long. Coop up top and run underneath. Our girls had no prolems in there this past winter. If they were cold, they went up, but most of the time they were in the run. We did put a light in the coop for some heat. Also, once we started getting large amounts of snow, we stapled some heavy ply plastic around the run, so they wouldn't get snow in there. That helped to keep some heat down there as well, not much, but a little.


    ETA: Please don't think we had all of the chickens in my sig in that coop. We only had 6 hens last year, the rest have come this year. We build another A-frame and are in the process of building a banty house. Plus, some are still in the brooder.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2010
  4. Friend of Feathers

    Friend of Feathers Out Of The Brooder

    59
    0
    29
    May 5, 2009
    East Central, MO
    I live in central MO and last winter, the first for my flock, went pretty well. I love the tractor idea, but this past winter I used a heat lamp and a heated base for the waterer. I wonder if there would be enough room in a tractor for all that extra stuff. I don't know if they needed the heat lamp, but it sure made me feel better knowing it was in there. Sorry to have added just another concern and not something useful. [​IMG]
     
  5. acid_chipmunk

    acid_chipmunk Polish Silkies d'Uccles O my!

    Mar 29, 2010
    We hung our light from the peak of the "A" and also moved the food and water up top during the winter. They lost a little room because of that, but nothing that bothered them. The only time they were in the coop was to eat, sleep and if the wind was really bad before we put the plastic on.
     
  6. trilyn

    trilyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2009
    East Syracuse
    Thanks for the replies and no, Feathers you didn't give me another concern! I would use my bucket waterer with nipples just the same and use a deicer like I did this past winter-just on a smaller scale. I figured the advantage to a tractor would be I could move it onto my concrete patio for the winter. Just put a tarp underneath it. Right now though, I am going to be turning my garage into a temp coop. It kind of already is since I have juvies and broodies out there in pens. Just something more "coop-like" would be happening soon.

    I was thinking of tractors because I'm figuring they would be cheaper than building another $$$ coop, not to mention the run, although it was free-God bless good friends!! Soo, I really do think I'm going to be doing some tractors. Ohhh, poor hubby!! lol [​IMG]

    Acid Chipmunk-thank you for your reply and don't you just love chicken math-now you know why I'm asking about tractors!! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2010
  7. Friend of Feathers

    Friend of Feathers Out Of The Brooder

    59
    0
    29
    May 5, 2009
    East Central, MO
    That's a good sized tractor Acid Chipmunk. Yes I would think you'd have plenty of room for all the extra stuff in one that size. What lucky birds you have [​IMG]
     
  8. outlawfarmer

    outlawfarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    246
    3
    113
    Mar 27, 2010
    New Hampshire
    [​IMG]

    I (New Hampshire) built my tractor a couple month ago and am worried about winter. Thanks for all the ideas. Bringing it up on the brick patio with a tarp under it for winter with a heated waterer base seems like my Plan 'A'. Plan 'B' is to make a big box shaped coop with a A shaped opening on the front to dock the tractor into. Then the larger box shaped coop can be added play area for winter. They could then go in and out of the tractors two levels from the box coop.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2010
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    109
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    The hardest thing is ensuring adequate ventilation. Small tractors are super hard to adequately ventilate in cold winters, for several reasons, yet they actually need proportionately MORE ventilation (per air volume) than a larger coop. If your ventilation is inadequate you may need heat; yet, they are also hard to run a lamp in safely.

    Also in cold winters chickens really, really benefit from more indoor room than a tractor provides, to minimize the chances of them getting cannibalistically grumpy with each other.

    It can be done. But it doesn't *always* work, and IMO it is better to avoid wintering chickens strictly in a tractor in the North if it can at all be avoided.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by