Am I building this right? Chicken Tractor

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Yotta Yotta, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. Yotta Yotta

    Yotta Yotta Out Of The Brooder

    67
    0
    29
    Apr 22, 2008
    Madison AL
    Hey Y’all,

    My bf and I started a new project: build a chicken tractor and get some chickens. Now that’s all I want to think about! Which is bad because I’m supposed to be studying for finals not obsessing over new pets. The problem we are having is that it has been a while since either of us has seen a chicken so we can’t remember how big they are.

    So far we have built the frame of an Ark style chicken tractor and it’s 5' X 10' at the base and 4' tall. We have divided the inside into two floors...the bottom will be a small run and the top will be were their nest boxes and roosts will go. Right now the second story is 20" tall from the floor to the apex and I’m worried that might not be enough head space. What do you guys think?
     
  2. Yotta Yotta

    Yotta Yotta Out Of The Brooder

    67
    0
    29
    Apr 22, 2008
    Madison AL
    We thought we were building it a lot bigger than many of the chicken tractors we saw online, but after looking at some of the chicken coops on here it looks like it might be too small.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    87
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:LOL, that was the exact same problem I had when I was getting ready, I could not find measurements anywhere online for how TALL a darn chicken IS [​IMG]

    FWIW, I have ISA Browns that are your basic regular-sized standard chicken, and they can stand up carefully under a 16" ceiling, normally under 18-20", but can't really stretch up and use their full range of motion with less than about 2-2.5' of headroom.

    So far we have built the frame of an Ark style chicken tractor and it’s 5' X 10' at the base and 4' tall. We have divided the inside into two floors...the bottom will be a small run and the top will be were their nest boxes and roosts will go. Right now the second story is 20" tall from the floor to the apex and I’m worried that might not be enough head space. What do you guys think?

    I think it would be ok for banties but two 20" stories seems kind of limiting for full sized chickens. And if you mean this is an A-frame structure, I would call the upstairs definitely cramped, sorry. They will have relatively little USABLE room up there. If you're only getting like 2 chickens, it would not be so bad, especially if the upstairs only extends over part of the ark's footprint so that some of the pen area is 'full height' and lets them stretch and flap and stuff. But for more than, I'd say, two or possibly 3, it may not be the best design.

    My suggestion is get 2 or 3, and then by the time you decide to get more (which judging by other peoples' experience around here should be a coupla weeks after you acquire the first ones LOL) you will have a better idea of what you want, possibly in the way of a fixed coop.

    Good luck and welcome to chickens [​IMG],

    Pat​
     
  4. Yotta Yotta

    Yotta Yotta Out Of The Brooder

    67
    0
    29
    Apr 22, 2008
    Madison AL
    Hey Pat!

    Thanx for your input! That's exactly the information I needed! I've read plenty of information on the weight of a chicken and horizontal space they need...but nothing about the height!

    That's disappointing that the coop will be too small because I was hoping to get some regular sized chickens, but I only really wanted about 3 to start with so I guess it'll be ok for now. The bottom floor will be about 28" tall so at least they will be able to stretch out once they get down there. We're going to let them roam around in the yard as much as we can too.

    We based our design off a chicken tractor that was being sold online that was 4X6' and 4' tall and claimed to house 6 chickens, but I was beginning to think that claim didn't have the chickens best interests in mind.
     
  5. Meesh

    Meesh Chillin' With My Peeps

    261
    0
    139
    Feb 12, 2008
    Rocky Mountains
    The bottom floor will be about 28" tall so at least they will be able to stretch out once they get down there

    My 5 week olds are getting cramped in a 24" height brooder. They like to run and flap and jump, and 28" seems pretty low for full size hens.

    a chicken tractor that was being sold online that was 4X6' and 4' tall and claimed to house 6 chickens

    That does work out to 4' of space per chicken for 6 hens, which is what most of the recommendations seem to be for coop requirements.

    Cheers,
    Michelle​
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    87
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    The ark type designs, primarily British, seem to base their #-chickens assumptions on the birds free-ranging all the time and only coming into the tractor to sleep. Although sometimes even then, the birds would all have to be real friendly and get along well [​IMG]

    Also of course you CAN house chickens in real squished-up conditions. Broilers raised for the market are allotted 1 sq ft apiece in commercial poultry farms; their parents, used to breed more broilers, are allotted a palatial 2 sq ft per chicken. However, a) the more you pack 'em in, the greater your chances of running into significant problems with picking, cannibalism, and disease; and b) personally I think that one of the main points of keeping chickens at home should be to IMPROVE ON factory-farm conditions, and have happier chickens.

    Pat
     
  7. Meesh

    Meesh Chillin' With My Peeps

    261
    0
    139
    Feb 12, 2008
    Rocky Mountains
    personally I think that one of the main points of keeping chickens at home should be to IMPROVE ON factory-farm conditions, and have happier chickens.

    I agree - but I can see how that size would provide a decent henhouse for them. I just presume all chickens should be out of the henhouse for part of the day. It's finally warm enough for mine to have a day out of the brooder. Happy little flappers, and spastic jumpers they were.

    Cheers,
    Michelle​
     
  8. AtRendeAcres

    AtRendeAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2007
    Clarion County
    Here is a thread on someone else who recently built an ark also ((lots on info))
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=33425&p=1

    Your size would also depend on the type of chickens your getting also Brahmas/Cochins are much bigger than sexlinks, EE, RIR

    Bantams may be a nice option (mine lay eggs close in size to my big girlds & are sweeter) [​IMG] they also eat less! bantams that lay bigger eggs (small to med in super market) Buff Orpington, Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire or Salmon Faverolle!

    Joanne
     
  9. Yotta Yotta

    Yotta Yotta Out Of The Brooder

    67
    0
    29
    Apr 22, 2008
    Madison AL
    Hey thanx for all the input. I want my chickens to be happy too, these are going to be pets not production animals!

    Meesh -- When I said I based it off of a 4X6X4 tractor I ment that it was also a two level A frame as well so even though it has 4 sq ft per chicken they are actually cramped heightwise. I think what Pat said is correct...they must advertise a large # of chickens assuming that they would not stay in there at all during the day.

    RChicks -- Thanks for the link! That's looks almost exactly like the chicken tractor I was basing mine off of, except that one's a little smaller. And I planned to leave the area under the roost open so that their poop falls on the floor. You really make me want bantams now! I hope I can find some locally. I don't really want to order online.

    I'm thinking about putting the nest boxes and roost poles at one of the ends now rather than on top. That would sacrifice some floor space but at least then they won't bump their heads so much. I'll see what my bf thinks about that.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2008
  10. GotCochins?

    GotCochins? Out Of The Brooder

    48
    0
    22
    Mar 10, 2008
    Owens Cross Roads, AL.
    another way to save space is to hang the nest voxes onto the outsside of the pen.cut an opening in the pen to allow access to the nest.this will allow you to have access to the eggs without going into the pens as well.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by