Chicken tractor -- do they HAVE to be locked in the coop at night?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by lceh, Dec 25, 2008.

  1. lceh

    lceh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 15, 2008
    Central Virginia
    I'm a chicken newbie planning to get our first chicks this spring. We're hoping to have 3 or 4 Buff Orpington hens. Here's the chicken tractor my dad is building for me:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/CHICKEN-TRACTOR...9|66:2|65:12|39:1|240:1318|301:1|293:1|294:50

    This tractor is designed for the chickens to come and go in and out of the coop as they please, not to be locked up in the coop portion at night. There's a roosting bar in the wire run portion. I am very concerned about predators because I know we have raccoons, so instead of chicken wire we plan to use hardware cloth fastened with washers and screws, as well as rabbit wire on the bottom to keep out digging critters. If we do all this, do we still need to lock up the hens at night in their little "house"? I had originally thought we would, and was planning to make the coop larger and add a locking door, an interior roosting bar, and ventilation, but I'm wondering if that's really necessary. Someone please advise! The chickens are going to be a homeschool project with my first grader, so I'm pretty eager to avoid chicken carnage in our urban front yard....
     
  2. EllyMae

    EllyMae Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have an ark style and I don't lock mine up at night. THey automatically go inside their house and roost at night.
     
  3. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

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    SC
    EllyMae, get out of those cookies!! [​IMG]


    The hens will go in the coop at night, but you will, as you said, need to make it really heavy duty. If nothing else, the 'coons can tip it over and cause havoc.

    For more than 2 hens, I'd "stretch" the design a bit, for more space, and add the interior roosting bar. That way they can get out of inclement weather better. More space equals happier and healthier hens, too.

    Good luck!
     
  4. EllyMae

    EllyMae Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:OMG! DANG it! Busted again...still eating...now have a sugar cookie in my hand while DD and DH battle it out with guitar hero. They haven't even noticed that I came up(more like sneaked upstairs)
     
  5. AtRendeAcres

    AtRendeAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2007
    Clarion County
    [​IMG]


    Beware!
    Manufactures for ready made or buying plans for coops usually don’t give the room needed!

    This is way to small for 3 or 4 Buff Orpingtons!
    The white chicken in there is a Leghorn which is about 4 lbs full grown & the average weight of a Buff Orpington is 8lbs


    Please visit https://www.backyardchickens.com/chicken-coop-tractor.html
    Were
    members have built tractors!

    Do search on tractors & read we share ideas & mistakes
     
  6. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I say play it cool. Watch them.

    If there isn't a roost in the coop then there isn't much choice, but I would be certain that there is some sort of roof over the roost, and hopefully at least a little protection from drafts.

    If there is a roost in the coop and they don't go in... I'd lock them in at night until they are in the habit.

    Have fun!
     
  7. kdcrws

    kdcrws Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2008
    L.C. FL
    I have an ark with the pop hole in the bottom (we call it the hatch) and the ladder is pulled up by a rope to close the hatch. For the first 4 months I religiously pulled up the ladder every night. But for I'd say the last month I haven't been. The girls go in every night like clock work. I'm not to worried about anything getting them.
     
  8. kdcrws

    kdcrws Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2008
    L.C. FL
    here's a link to the plans we used. The whole to section is coop the run is underneath the coop. We added a roost and built a nesting box to the plan other wise we pretty much followed what it said.

    http://www.organicgardening.com/pdf/coop_plans.pdf
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2008
  9. lceh

    lceh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 15, 2008
    Central Virginia
    Just to clarify -- the girls should go in at night, but don't need to be locked in? And do you think Buff Brahma bantams would be a better choice for a tractor of this size? How many? We planned to make the coop portion another foot longer so it's not too cramped. I suppose we could expand the run too, although I don't want it to be so big it can't be wheeled around....

    Thanks for your help!
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2008
  10. AtRendeAcres

    AtRendeAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2007
    Clarion County
    Bantam Buff Brahmas would work well! as is you could have 2/3!
    (they are very friendly & lay a nice size egg)

    an idea bring the coop part completly across & add a foot & a 1/2 on bottom & you can have 6 bantams!

    3 of my Bantam Buff Brahma eggs equal 2 regular size eggs & bantams do have a better feed to egg ratio!
     

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