Anyone use a 'tractor' for daytime only?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mudhen, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

    Jan 15, 2007
    Shepherdstown, WV
    I am about finished constructing a 12x5 tractor and wondered if anyone else just uses theirs for daytime only (returning the hens to the coop area in evening)? [​IMG]
    From what I am reading, it seems like the tractors most people make are just portable coops, but I am concerned about leaving the girls in it overnight.
    Am I wrong to think of using it during the daytime only, giving them access to fresh grass areas each day, then rolling it back toward their coop/run in the late afternoon?
    I haven't worked out all the logistics yet (herding them in, out), but since I woke in the middle of the night with an anxiety attack and I'm trying to think of anything other than the reason for it, I thought I'd ask. [​IMG]
  2. cajunlizz

    cajunlizz Songster

    Apr 27, 2008
    Lafayette, Louisiana

    Let me start by asking how many chickens do you have ?

    Obviously returning them to the coop at night is the right thing to do . They do need a place to roost and sleep .
    Are they old enough to lay ? If so I would eb giving them access to the coop for the laying as well .

    I have my coop and run connected so they have full access . I will drop you a picture I found that is real simular to mine . DANG I need to take pictures again . LOL

  3. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

    Jan 15, 2007
    Shepherdstown, WV
    I've got 18 hens, and they have a large coop and 40'x40' hardwire enclosed run. Yes, they all lay.
    The tractor will be decked out with laying boxes and covered area, etc. It is just for letting them out onto the grass during nice days. I'm not confident enough to just open their run and let them forage on their own.
  4. cajunlizz

    cajunlizz Songster

    Apr 27, 2008
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    Quote:I don't understand . Is the run totally enclosed and predator proof ? IF so , turn them hens loose , the more room the better for them .

    If it the grassy part you want to offer them , HECK buy you a grass catcher for you mower and you will have friends for life .

    But if you have 18 full grown hens , to ME , in my opinion ONLY , is not big enough , especially during the hot summer months . they need to run and stretch . Do you have a picture of this tractor you built ?
  5. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

    Jan 15, 2007
    Shepherdstown, WV
    Yes, the run is totally enclosed. The hens are lose in there every day. I am only making the tractor to take them out to the grass (their run doesn't have any) for a few hours every day.
    I was just wondering if anyone else did this. I guess not!
    And of course they get greens/grapes/veggies every day, along with dandelion weeds and grass cuttings.
    Thanks for your concern cajunlizz, be assured my girls are quite safe, have plenty of running room and eat better than most!![​IMG]
    I'll be posting pics soon.
  6. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    I use a tractor during the day only when my chicks are young. I can move it around onto new grass each day. They always come inside at night.

    Once they move to the big coop/run, I don't use the tractor anymore.
  7. fullhouse

    fullhouse Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    I use a play yard for the Delawares as a tractor during the day only. I put a top on it and move it 2x per day. Then about 8-9 the go in there coop.
  8. cajunlizz

    cajunlizz Songster

    Apr 27, 2008
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    As you could see in the picture I posted ( very much like mine , but I think Mine is a bit bigger . My run is 12 x 32 ...

    The whole area is totally enclosed ( predator proof ) they come and go as needed to during the day to lay in the coop and they exit back into the run .

    I sit with them in late afternoons and give snacks , like bread , leftovers such as cooked rice , ETC. They love the run , even tho they do not have grass anymore . They have their full feedings of laying pellets available to them .

    They scratch in the dirt and dust .

    Hubby added sand to their run so they have a ball . They can all go under the coop area for shade and to get out of the rain . BUT they can enter their COOP whenever they chose to . They climb their lil ladder , go in to lay and they come right back out .

    1st. sign of daylight they are exiting one by one ...
    Its to cute to watch them when it starts to get late in the evening ( before dark ) , they actually start looking up at the sky like its their signal its getting late . They start the whole routine again , one by one entering their coop for the night . I do catch myself pulling grass for them in the yard ( like a dummy ) and throwing the weeds and grass into the run area .

    I guess to each his own , but mine sure seem very happy and healthy as well , and I have a varity of breeds . 48 head . Only ones I DO NOT mix with the regular sized flock are my silkie bantams . I am to scared to mix them since they are so much smaller breed . Was told regular roosters if they breed with the smaller bantams can injure them and thats A NO NO ...
  9. go-veggie

    go-veggie Flew the Coop

    Quote:I totally know what you are saying......(even though our tractor is fort knox on wheels at night) we are working on plans for one now that would be detachable from it's coop. I realize though that they need a place to roost, food, water and nesting boxes available at all times though, so we need to have those things in both parts. Currently, our tractor is made up of a coop and a run...they can be separated, but not as easily as the next one we build (& our current one is a little too heavy). Our chickens have gotten really used to walking along with the tractor as we pull or push it around, and they always go in their coop at night as it starts to get dark. I think if you made something like what you've described, which by the way, is the same size as ours minus a foot both ways I think, you could make a door on one end that butts up to another door in the coop, and they'd just go back in. If they didn't want to go back in, maybe you could encourage them somehow or get in there and make it happen. [​IMG] I've read that fresh grass increases the omega 3's and decreases the bad fatty acids...I think omega 6's are the bad ones...not sure, but I, too, have a real interest in having them all over on the property every day, but safely and easily.
    Mine are in their tractor all night, but because my current tractor has it's coop attached, it is totally safe. We used those spring loaded hook type latches all over that are really hard even for us to open sometimes, and at night when they are in their coop, they are up off the ground and surrounded by 2 layers of wire, wood, and I tarp them every night too, whether it's going to rain or not. I hope that makes sense, and I hope I've helped a little. Good luck with your project!
  10. risurocket

    risurocket Songster

    Jul 5, 2008
    Mudhen, we are kind of in the same situation. We can't really free-range due to neighbors and stuff, even though our landlord said he did it...still figuring out that even though we will have a large non-portable run and coop, we were planning on making tractors for them to go in for pasture feeding.

    My ideas were to lure them in with treats and back out again with treats so they go back in their run. We are also going to have quite a few chickens, so I am still not sure about the logistics of this. I like go-veggie's idea of a door that butts up to either the coop or the run from the tractor. Still trying to think of ideas for that too, so they all go into the night area without escaping. Maybe a little chicken tunnel....
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2008

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