Can the hens live in only a ?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Dilly, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. Dilly

    Dilly Cooped Up

    Apr 15, 2008
    Hi, still considering a built in coop or one of those coop tractor thingy's. I only want at the most six hens for pets/layers. Can they live in one of those portable tractor houses and have a HUGE pen to freely roam in at will? Or do they need the coop with the places to roost and all that other chicken stuff they do.

    What about keeping warm in winter, being portable and with the bottom hole to access the house how does one keep them warm and cozy?
  2. Dixiedoodle

    Dixiedoodle Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    Have you seen some of the small coops pictures on here? They are really great ideas. You will need about 5sq. ft per hen for standard breeds and 3 sq. ft. for the bantam breeds. Each standard hen will need 10" of roost space.

    Not knowing where you are --but a few questions to ask yourself: will tractor, ark, coop be large enough for them to be secure from ice, snow, flooding, thunderstorms etc. Will you be able to close them up in there at night to protect them from dogs, cats, coons, possums, foxes etc. Will the run/free range area be large enough to let them get exercise and morsels and not be crowded. I have read that crowding causes lots of problems and in general is not healthy for the birds.
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Where do you live? That makes a BIG difference.

    Both a tractor and a fixed coop need to provide the same things, i.e. sufficient roost space, sufficient nest box space, and potentially room for feeder and/or waterer (depends a lot on your climate, predator situation and management style). The only difference is a coop can be bigger than a tractor can, and tractor can be moved about the yard where a coop can't. A coop may take a little more $ to build in terms of materials (or it may not, if you just build a reach-in coop rather than walk-in) -- however it may be a lot *simpler* to build than a *good* usable sturdy winterproof tractor would be.

    The thing is, a tractor can be real tough to keep sufficiently warm *and well ventilated* in the winter, because it is so small and low-volume. If you live somewhere it doesn't get real cold, fine, but IMHO if you live somewhere that will experience freezing weather for a month or more, there is a LOT to be said for a proper coop. A proper coop can also give the chickens a bit more space per bird which can prevent a lot of problems if you often experience non-chicken-friendly weather that keeps them wanting to stay indoors for days on end.

    The ONLY advantage of a tractor is that you can move it. But if they will be free-ranging most of the time, that's not a real big deal. Yeah, the ground around a fixed coop will get a bit more thrashed than the rest of the ground, but you know, at least that concentrates the chicken damage in one place rather than having them moderately-damage a *lot* of places around the yard, which tends to happen unless you are extremely careful [​IMG]

    BTW a tractor door does not have to be in the floor. Many (most, in North America, I would venture to say) have the door in the side, just like you would in a fixed coop, which is more space-efficient with your limited floorspace.

    Hope this helps,

  4. Dilly

    Dilly Cooped Up

    Apr 15, 2008
    Thanks, In sunny california. But you have to realize that sixty degrees is cold for us wimps that are used to plenty of sunshine. We do get down in to low to mid thirties in the winter though, but much milder than most other areas.

    I think I want the coop. My problem is the great area I wanted to use is completely shaded all the time, and I keep reading where they need sunshine to help with egg production. Plus the sunshine helps keep things cleaner and less messy. So I have been trying to compromise and may have to move my entire thought process to another area. We have plenty to choose from on acreage.

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