Chicken Tractor built by newbies

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bakindance, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. bakindance

    bakindance Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 1, 2010
    Ontario Canada
    Ok, so hubby is half Italian - which is lucky for me because he LOVES to build things. I showed him some chicken tractor photos online, and explained that I needed a temporary coop as I want to pick up chickens this weekend at the Fur and Feather show. I am hoping to have a lovely elaborate shangra-la coop at some point, but winter is fast approaching and I wanted to get my birds as soon as I can.

    Voila! [​IMG] I come home last night and he built a chicken tractor.[​IMG]

    Now, the thing is he NEVER builds things simply. Me? I was happy with a wee bit of plywood and some chicken wire until the permanent coop is built.

    What I got is a very solid A frame, photos to follow! This thing is pretty awesome.

    4 feet is actual coop, 4 feet is solid on one side and open on the other, and 4 feet is open. So So 12 feet long in total by 4 feet wide. He used the upgraded mesh instead of the chicken mesh, and the whole thing is predator proof. The top of the A frame has a covered top part, allowing ventilation but providing shade. (Sort of like a second mini A frame on top) The covered mini roof runs the length of the whole structure, so it gives shade to the open part too. Is that enough light? I know it will make more sense once photos are up. Bear with me - we are on dial up. [​IMG] There are two access doors, one on the coop part and one on the "run" part.

    On the open part, in the dead of winter, do I just leave it as grass? Can you move it around in the snow? Or do you put sand or woodchips in there?

    I am going to do more thread reading to learn more!
  2. sharol

    sharol Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2010
    Admire, KS
    I'm new at this too. I bought a Hen Hoop from a builder in MO, and it is about 4x9' total. It is way too heavy to pull by hand, but my lawn tractor has no problem with it. is a link to Murray's page. This is how I use the tractor:

    I needed something heavy enough that our routine 40mph winds wouldn't tear up or demolish. It is supposed to hold 8 chickens, but realistically, 5 is probably pushing it. At this point it is housing 7, so I'm trying to work out a way to enlarge the livable area for winter so they won't be "cooped up" in the little coop part and start feather picking. They get out in the yard to free range for a few hours every day. I move it every day (every two days until a week ago, but they are 12 weeks old and can make a nasty mess of the grass in 2 days).

    For winter, I've chosen a level spot within extension cord range of my garage. I'm planning to put 3-4 inches of sand in the run part for the winter to simplify keeping it clean. I'm also going to enclose the run in 6 mil plastic (with ventilation at the top edge of the plastic). This should allow them access to the run part even in nasty weather (and here in KS it can get VERY nasty). On decent days, of course, they will have access to the yard. Moving it around over frozen ground doesn't make much sense since there won't be any bugs or grass anyway.

    So, in answer to the question about moving it, it depends. I'm going to go stationary for the winter and then start moving it around again in the spring unless the dogs have made peace with the chickens and are living in some sort of peacful co-existence with them.

    It sounds like you have a more spacious arrangement for your girls, but neither my husband nor I had any desire or ability to build something solid enough to work for us. After looking at what was available, the Hoop seemed like the best choice for us. If I had the 4 hens I had originally planned on, it would be perfect.
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    My first coop was/is an A-Frame supposed "tractor" but *I* built it, and I used 2x4s and 3/8 inch plywood, so it's a permanent coop. Cannot be moved.



    I've since built and/or bought more coops, because I have this addiction, see, and more chickens means more coops. The original A-Frame is, for lack of a better term, the Olmstead Homestead Community Center. It's open all the time (except when I close it at night). Some hens lay eggs daily in the nest boxes, the youngest chickens eat from the hanging feeder in a little gang together, ALL of the chickens hang out in the downstairs pen section when it rains, and when Buffy went broody in one of the nest boxes, it became a secure Nursery for her "laying in" and the first two weeks of the GrandChick's life with her.


    Just thought I'd mention the alternate uses for "heavy duty" chicken tractor.

    I can hardly wait to see your new A-Frame!

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