Ask help to choose a tractor design that fill special needs

Amayumi

In the Brooder
Hi all

I have just introduced myself and came here to ask some help to find a tractor to suit my special needs.

1. I live in a farm with lots of domestic and wild animals ranging free. I meant lots, from cats, dogs, foxes, opossums, large lizards (8 pounds ), rats, hawks and so on.

2. We house some abandoned animals in large cages , to protect then against predators. So, small birds live in this aviaryes near our house, to prevent it being predated.

3. We just got some chicks and I would to raise it on tractors, since we have lots of space with edible grass and I think it would be the simplest way to keep this birds with low maintenance.

4. I have lots of wood to construct the tractors and employees to construct and maintain, clean and operate it on a daily basis.

5. I would like to find a tractor design that can:

A. Be small and easily carried about.
B. Maintain 10 chickens (I prefer to use small designs and build new tractors if needed)
C. Protect birds from LOTS of sun and rain (it's not cold here)
D. Protect birds from eventual attack from large lizards and hawks, cats and dogs (I mean just sneaky attacks, when there's no one seeing)
E. Offer some place to birds lay it's eggs
F. Make easy to capture birds whenever necessary, with small chance of they fleeing during it's capture.


Would.you guys point me in a good direction ?

I mean, I'm inclined to construct a tractor with triangular section, made of wood and covered in metal mesh.

Bit I'm not sure about the best design to suit my needs.

Thanks!!
Cheers!
 

paintedChix

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 15, 2013
717
872
267
NC
Well, I'm not aware of any tractors big enough to maintain 10 chickens to be "easily carried about", but they can be pulled on the ground.

Hardware cloth - 1/4" will be your best friend with all those types of predators.

There are several styles of tractors. If you go through BYC's articles on coops, there are a lot of chicken tractors. There are 14 pages of different styles.

If you google on line - A-frame styles - Ana White (the one on the website is not big enough for 10 chickens in one); there are others.

I have played w/ one in this style using CP and 2x4" wire. Minimal wood. No wheels. Good for 2-6 LF mature chickens that lay. Edited to add - Wanted to try materials we had on hand. The plastic at the top is cut 2 ltr bottles - Pepsi type works better than Coke type. They are "stitched on" using haystring - and protect the tarps. The tarps I can often get for very inexpensive or free when I purchase a minimum amount at Harbor Freight. Generally last 1-1/2 seasons - even thru the hurricanes we've had. It is mostly hot here, no real heavy snow... (pic at bottom will be added w/ snow these have been thru).

Justin Rhodes - YouTube - has come up with several that are small so chickens have to be let out every day regardless of the weather. Then protected in chicken "paddocks" of electric poultry netting. His 3 tractors are called "Chicksaw", "Chicksaw 2.0" & a 3rd called "Chicksaw mini me". He also does an A-frame tractor for his turkeys and just a "flat roof" trailer (now) for his meat birds that are kept in poultry netting.

I haven't built these yet... Ideas for one using an axle & wheels from a pony cart (the cart had a heavier axle & no-flat wheels put on it). Want to still use CP & HC w/ minimal wood. I will see what I come up with... eventually.

John Suscovitch - Farm Marketing Solutions - has a walk in chicken tractor that is meant for meat chickens, but could be modified to house laying hens or hens/rooster. Don't know that it would do 10 chickens if kept in it all the time.

When I was building coops and waiting for 1/4" HC, I made multiple baby chick tractors using rabbit cages from TSC and a puppy X-pens with wire over the top. when chicks are up to a month and a half old, can do 20 in one, then split to 10 and then moved to a tractor with a roost or a coop & run big enough for 10 mature chickens.

Some of what we've put together for chicken tractors - nothing fancy at all, but certainly worked.

190623_103017.jpg
190721_193641.jpg
20190202_151830.jpg

190614_194317.jpg 20200123_173836.jpg 20200321_161703t.jpg

We now have our 1/4" HC and we are working on getting it put on our various tractors. The puppy Xpen/rabbitcage tractors are going to be put on a wood base "skid" and the bottoms removed from the rabbit cages. The taller PVC pipe tractor is a bear to use - it is being cut in half - height wise to become 2 and new tops will be put on. Still thinking about/experimenting with wheels.

Edit to add - snow pics -

20200221_081608.jpg
20200221_081614.jpg

Paula
 
Last edited:

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,817
144,416
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I'm inclined to construct a tractor with triangular section, made of wood and covered in metal mesh.
Aframes are not conducive to the sun and rain protection you need,
without sacrificing good ventilation.

Well, I'm not aware of any tractors big enough to maintain 10 chickens to be "easily carried about", but they can be pulled on the ground.
Ditto Dat.


Protect birds from LOTS of sun and rain (it's not cold here)
Welcome to BYC! @Amayumi
Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
1609284118189.png
 

Amayumi

In the Brooder
Well, I'm not aware of any tractors big enough to maintain 10 chickens to be "easily carried about", but they can be pulled on the ground.

Hardware cloth - 1/4" will be your best friend with all those types of predators.

There are several styles of tractors. If you go through BYC's articles on coops, there are a lot of chicken tractors. There are 14 pages of different styles.

If you google on line - A-frame styles - Ana White (the one on the website is not big enough for 10 chickens in one); there are others.

I have played w/ one in this style using CP and 2x4" wire. Minimal wood. No wheels. Good for 2-6 LF mature chickens that lay. Edited to add - Wanted to try materials we had on hand. The plastic at the top is cut 2 ltr bottles - Pepsi type works better than Coke type. They are "stitched on" using haystring - and protect the tarps. The tarps I can often get for very inexpensive or free when I purchase a minimum amount at Harbor Freight. Generally last 1-1/2 seasons - even thru the hurricanes we've had. It is mostly hot here, no real heavy snow... (pic at bottom will be added w/ snow these have been thru).

Justin Rhodes - YouTube - has come up with several that are small so chickens have to be let out every day regardless of the weather. Then protected in chicken "paddocks" of electric poultry netting. His 3 tractors are called "Chicksaw", "Chicksaw 2.0" & a 3rd called "Chicksaw mini me". He also does an A-frame tractor for his turkeys and just a "flat roof" trailer (now) for his meat birds that are kept in poultry netting.

I haven't built these yet... Ideas for one using an axle & wheels from a pony cart (the cart had a heavier axle & no-flat wheels put on it). Want to still use CP & HC w/ minimal wood. I will see what I come up with... eventually.

John Suscovitch - Farm Marketing Solutions - has a walk in chicken tractor that is meant for meat chickens, but could be modified to house laying hens or hens/rooster. Don't know that it would do 10 chickens if kept in it all the time.

When I was building coops and waiting for 1/4" HC, I made multiple baby chick tractors using rabbit cages from TSC and a puppy X-pens with wire over the top. when chicks are up to a month and a half old, can do 20 in one, then split to 10 and then moved to a tractor with a roost or a coop & run big enough for 10 mature chickens.

Some of what we've put together for chicken tractors - nothing fancy at all, but certainly worked.

View attachment 2467777
View attachment 2467778
View attachment 2467779

View attachment 2467766 View attachment 2467767 View attachment 2467768

We now have our 1/4" HC and we are working on getting it put on our various tractors. The puppy Xpen/rabbitcage tractors are going to be put on a wood base "skid" and the bottoms removed from the rabbit cages. The taller PVC pipe tractor is a bear to use - it is being cut in half - height wise to become 2 and new tops will be put on. Still thinking about/experimenting with wheels.

Edit to add - snow pics -

View attachment 2467843
View attachment 2467844

Paula

Hi , paintedChix

Thanks for your answer!

I´ll try to offer more informations:

“Well, I'm not aware of any tractors big enough to maintain 10 chickens to be "easily carried about", but they can be pulled on the ground”

Yes, i want they can be pulled on the ground. And i can make more tractors, lets say, for 5 chickens (or less) each tractor.

“Hardware cloth - 1/4" “
Ok, noted!

I will study every link you posted, thankS a lot!!!!!!
 

Amayumi

In the Brooder
Aframes are not conducive to the sun and rain protection you need,
without sacrificing good ventilation.

Ditto Dat.



Welcome to BYC! @Amayumi
Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
View attachment 2467832


Hi, aart

“Aframes are not conducive to the sun and rain protection you need,
without sacrificing good ventilation.”

Seriously? What a pitty. I was seriously interested in this design because it seems to be simple to construct and seems to fill all my needs.
I was thinking to cover half–lengh of A-frame tractor, leaving the other half exposed so birds can sunbath.
And put some wood boxes inside the covered section (fixed directly on the lower frame), so birds can lay its eggs.

“Please add your general geographical location to your profile.”

Done!

Thanks!!!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,817
144,416
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Seriously? What a pitty. I was seriously interested in this design because it seems to be simple to construct
Yep, seriously.
It is a shame, because they do seem simple to build.

I was thinking to cover half–lengh of A-frame tractor, leaving the other half exposed so birds can sunbath.
And put some wood boxes inside the covered section (fixed directly on the lower frame), so birds can lay its eggs.
They might work for you, try one out and see if it holds up under your rains and heat.
 

paintedChix

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 15, 2013
717
872
267
NC
Hi, aart

“Aframes are not conducive to the sun and rain protection you need,
without sacrificing good ventilation.”

Seriously? What a pitty. I was seriously interested in this design because it seems to be simple to construct and seems to fill all my needs.
I was thinking to cover half–lengh of A-frame tractor, leaving the other half exposed so birds can sunbath.
And put some wood boxes inside the covered section (fixed directly on the lower frame), so birds can lay its eggs.

Before folks get upset, I have to admit that after using mine for 18 months with tarps and not fully enclosed like a coop, I agree with Aart.

We have high humidity and heat and have gone 45-60 days with no rain. We sometimes get a lot of rain all at once (hurricanes &/or serious rain events - I think the highest rain fall we've measured in one event was 11" on this property, and then just days later in just a few hours another 11" of rain. Not sure how the birds would have done in that much rain in any of our tractors - didn't have any tractors that year (2016). The tarps on our hooped coops (originally built to be tractors, didn't work on this property and became permanent instead) took some serious damage - a lot of them needed to be replaced that month.

My observations based on my build of A-frame tractors -

- not a lot of space at ground level. While we calculate space based on the base frame, it's not accurate with my shorter sided a-frames. They tilt inward quite steeply. The chickens DO utilize that space - mostly to lay down, flop over and lean right up against the wire. W/ 2x4" wire I used before the HC 1/4" arrived - this caused a few deaths even during the day - both heat (they liked to pile up?) and predators. It is kinda cool watching them reach out to "graze" around them BUT seeing a partially decapitated bird removed from my tractor that way, not so great...

- In mine, not enough room to do a floor like you mention. But even in taller ones, and if you look at the Ana White model or these A-frames, there's not a lot of ventilation. Really no way to create enough... In our heat, at both day & night, I've lost birds to heat stroke (pretty sure that's why they died) when not enough ventilation. There might be ways of doing ventilation - read up on Justin Rhode's way of doing the floors on his chicksaws. Think that could work better than a wood floor and would HELP w/ ventilation. You will have a lot of folk disagree w/ doing a complete wire floor, though.

- I don't tarp to the bottom on each side - this allows the water to drain INTO the tractor space. If getting a lot of rain at one time, or if we haven't moved the tractor, this creates a lot of mud &/or gets the chickens really wet. It does work for ventilation, however. So far, it's worked OK for me...

- we haven't enclosed the one end yet. In rain events that wind is blowing rain sideways, our chickens (i often watch what the storms are doing with the tractors right off of our front porch) are often miserably wet. Working on that...

- nest boxes - whether in your top level as you state or on the ground as I've done so far, take up A LOT of room inside an area that isn't that big to begin with. There are plans that show the nest on the sloped side of an A-frame and plans that show them on the end - sticking out. Those, to me, seem like a better alternative. Not sure how to make that work just yet in my case (wanted to use materials on hand, very little wood)...

- I had another point or two, but I forgot what I wanted to write... LOL.

*****

That said, you need to make the decision. Aart stated an opinion that after my experiences, I have a tendency to agree with.

I think, if you want to use an A-frame style and NOT fully enclose it, it will work in the heat, as I've done.

I've learned a lot about different styles of coops and tractors thru my "playing" and economizing/using what I have on hand. My birds have not always benefited, though. :(

I'm actually working on changing mine (again). I want to use the same base frame, go up about 2' in box all around, then either put the A-frame on top of that OR make the A-frame portion shorter - then it's shaped like a mini barn/shed. Tarp the A-frame roof and may be come down the sides part way with the tarp. could make the current gate on each end - one or both - permanent for support and do the opening of the A-frame hinged at the bottom and drop the triangular portion down... Still thinking and haven't started initiating this yet, LOL. I will have to make a frame for the triangular portion - to hold the wire and keep ME safe from wire ends that tear and scratch.

Basically turning my A-frames into something like this - 1 or 2. My current tractors are already larger than these at the base being approximately 5x8'. Not sure how to figure the size needed for the "shed roof" portion. Figure to play with it till I get it where I want it. No, I don't want to just put the current full A-frame on top of the "box". Put my roosts at the top of the box - they will be wider than they are currently, tho birds still won't be able to utilize the full span. Run the tarp down the sides to protect birds while on the roosts... I would not put a hole "in the roof", but could do a full portion that swings up if needed? Hmmm.... Still want as minimal as possible, just adding the 2' sides in wire will significantly increase the weight.
 

Big Doggie

Songster
Mar 23, 2020
306
340
133
Mass
Hi , paintedChix

Thanks for your answer!

I´ll try to offer more informations:

“Well, I'm not aware of any tractors big enough to maintain 10 chickens to be "easily carried about", but they can be pulled on the ground”

Yes, i want they can be pulled on the ground. And i can make more tractors, lets say, for 5 chickens (or less) each tractor.

“Hardware cloth - 1/4" “
Ok, noted!

I will study every link you posted, thankS a lot!!!!!!
I made this last spring. It’s 6’ wide by 10’ long. Mostly 1/4” hardware cloth with PVC pipes on a wooden 2x4 frame. I was surprised at how heavy it was and how difficult it was to move around. It was designed for 6 hens. The weight adds up fast. It’s not predator proof so it’s just something for the girls to use for an afternoon
CE2CAFAE-8C91-4F81-8336-5E095A832864.jpeg
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,793
27,730
1,066
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
- we haven't enclosed the one end yet. In rain events that wind is blowing rain sideways, our chickens (i often watch what the storms are doing with the tractors right off of our front porch) are often miserably wet. Working on that...

I just wanted to note for others that we here in Central NC can get severe weather coming in from any direction so protecting against that can be unusually difficult.

If I were still in Pittsburgh, PA, where I grew up, weather always came from the west so I could have been fairly certain that turning the sheltered end to the west would have kept the majority of any structure dry.

I don't know if the OP has a consistent weather pattern or not. :)
 

Amayumi

In the Brooder
Well, after studying all your messages (thanks you all!!) It seems that building a more traditional room-like coop would be a better choice to maintain more chickens per available space.

Well, I think there is no much secret about building a room-like coop, am I wrong? (Yeah, I'm gonna read the corresponding section here on forum lol)

I mean, it's just build a frame, nail the wire-fence, tile roofing it from 1/2 to 2/3 of available ceiling, put some laying box and use wood chips on the ground isn't it?

New doubt:

Is there any kind of mathematics to calculate the required space-to-Chicken ratio?

Thanks!!
 

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