Cheap wall material for chicken tractor?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jruner, Nov 3, 2008.

  1. jruner

    jruner Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 24, 2008
    Challis, Idaho
    I am building a pallet Chicken tractor it has a 6 foot long by four and a half foot high by four foot wide coop. The run is 12 long by 4 wide and by 3 high. I have a wood roof on already but ran out of "free" materials. What would be the cheapest material to cover the sides with? Also how many birds could be kept healthy in this tractor?


    John Runer
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2008
  2. flakey chick

    flakey chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2007
    I have 2 bantams in a 4' X 6' tractor with an additional 2'X4' house above the run. They are spoiled and can't wait to get out. They drive each other a little nuts. I also could use the space more effectively by redoing the feeders/water's etc.

    It's not just cheap, but lightweight that counts with a tractor. To get the best of both, you could go for thin plywood with well spaced framing. I picked up some packing crate sides parts that would be good once properly treated (Thompson's water seal).
  3. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Not too many people can say they are from Challis, John. You could almost be my "counterpoint" - From: ID/MT border.

    You've got 24 square feet of floor space (and enuf height for good air volume). With the rule of thumb of 1 chicken per 4 square feet, there could be room for 6. But, I like to consider the indoor and outdoor space and the run is a little small - as it would be with any tractor. I'd say that 4 standard chickens should be very comfortable and 5 would fit.

    I was looking at my neighbor's pile of debris the other day and realized how many folks have fence boards stacked around. A board fence has only a limited life expectancy. Heck, lots of folks seem to have "fence-like somethings" that are probably standing (more-or-less) just because the owners don't want to pull down and cart off the old boards. They'd be happy to see them go.

    Board and batten siding is easy to construct and at 4.5 feet tall, your coop would be about the right height to cut off the bottom of 5' or 6' fence boards, if there is rot. There are 100 year old barns, I think the only reason there aren't 100 year old fences is because of ground contact and wind.

    I hope you have lots of fun [​IMG].

    From: ID/WA border
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Taking the last question first -- I wouldn't put more than 5-6 chickens in it, myself, but you might be able to put a few more in with some reasonable chance of avoiding major problems. Even with 5-6 chickens, you will need to move the tractor every single day to avoid major damage to the lawn (every 3-5 days or so, estimated, if major damage is ok -- at that point they'll have it down to bare dirt and be digging holes)

    Have you thought about WEIGHT however. This is sounding like an awfully heavy, heavy tractor. You're sure it's going to remain sufficiently moveable?

    Also, make sure you *have* enough 12' long absolutely flat pieces of ground to put the tractor *on* -- with a long tractor you cannot tolerate hardly any dips or bumpiness in the ground. Even with a flexible wire mesh skirt that you weight down, you start having too much gappage between the tractor's bottom frame and the ground, and chickens can get out (or stuck under the apron), predators can get in, and the unsupported parts of the frame court structural damage.

    Good luck, have fun,

  5. Mikeeeeeeeeee

    Mikeeeeeeeeee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2007
    Wall material.................

    Political signs.



  6. jruner

    jruner Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 24, 2008
    Challis, Idaho
    Political signs maybe for the floors face down. I don't what people lying to impressionable chicks LOL, politicians are only honest when they stop speaking! I have a two by four flexible run with PVC hoop mesh on it. I will keep looking for wall materials I can recycle.

    Also has anyone used a card board and wood inner lining with a tarp shell for a cheap wall?

    Thank you for the replies,

    John Runer

    I can't believe anyone knows where Challis is!!!!!
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2008

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