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Chicken Tractor- my plans, Please help?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by justcelia, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. justcelia

    justcelia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 24, 2010
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    I have a temp. chicken run that needs to be upgraded/expanded. I am looking at a chicken tractor type.
    I have 7 framed panels covered with 1" wire (hardware cloth?). They are 2' by 6'. The first pics are of the temp. coop/run.
    We are wanting to get 2-3 young pullets to raise in our yard (double lot, privace fencing suround).
    [​IMG]
    This is 3' high, 2' wide and 6' long.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Showing the one box. (only one cockerel right now)

    I want to do the following Chicken Tractor. ANY help/sugestions are appreciated!!!!
    (not to scale, I can just build things. LOL!)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I hope you can understand what I am going for. It will have 2 nesting boxes, 12" square at the top of coop area. Should I lower these? (2 ft off ground, total height is 3')
    Roost to the side of nesting boxes, 2 foot off the ground, 2 foot wide.
    Total space for coop area is 4' wide, 3' tall and 2' deep. (could go 2 1/2' deep or 3', but that gives less space for "free run).
    We will free range the chickens most of the time.

    Please help. I need to know I am on the right track. Thank you for your help!
    Celia
    Soon to be chickenless (But NOT for long!)
     
  2. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    It's a little hard to see all the details but I think your idea will work out.

    That said, what you've got now is enough for a couple of pullets. You don't have to build a new coop/tractor. I know on the MI thread you mentioned they get free-range time in your yard too, so what you've got really is plenty. You can just cover one end with a tarp for the winter, add a roost under it and a couple simple nest boxes (even just made out of buckets) and you'd be just fine.

    If you want a new coop/tractor, by all means, go for it. If you don't though, you can work with what you have. [​IMG]
     
  3. justcelia

    justcelia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 24, 2010
    SE Michigan
    Thank you for your input. It just seems small to me. and the rain (soon snow) collects on the top.
    I guess I could downgrade a bit. (I love to build things! LOL)
    I will post the "plans" on my blog. I havent set that up yet.
    Just learning my way around here.
    Thank you so much for your help!
    Celia
    (looking for 2-3 pullets!)
     
  4. Cargo

    Cargo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 28, 2010
    Farmington, NM
    I really think you will want this to be bigger.
    I would make the nesting and Roosting area 3'x3' minimum. In my opinion your chickens will be much happier with a bit more space.
    Also, the nest boxes need to be lower than the roosting bar or the chickens will roost in the nests and they will be poopy.

    I am also assuming that you will be letting the chickens out to roam the fenced back yard for a bit everyday, or you will probably want some more run space.

    You might take a look at my tractor. Top half is roost area and bottom half is run. My girls are pretty happy with it. They do get out to free range the back yard quite a bit as well.
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    In a Michigan winter, even 'just' southeast MI, that is kind of minimal space for winter use. You would want at least to roof over (in a snowload-proof) way the run and put something windbreak-y on two sides of it, so they will use the outdoors as much as possible.

    I am not sure what your plans are for a) ventilation or b) waterproofing the roof ridge where there are hinges (the latter, especially, can be pretty difficult, and you REALLY don't want it getting wet in there in wintertime!!), so I can't comment on that aspect.

    Honestly, in really cold winter areas, personally I think it works best to have some larger mostly-indoors winter quarters for the birds, and only use a tractor in the warmer months. But, that said, it is certainly POSSIBLE to winter birds in a small tractor like that in your climate, it just may not be stress-free or graceful [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  6. justcelia

    justcelia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 24, 2010
    SE Michigan
    Thank you for the input. The whole of the end "eaves" will be screened. short-long triangle.
    I will drop the boxes. I really cant go any bigger. Wish I could tho.
    My BF plans on shoveling an area for them. (He does "race tracks" in the yard for the dog!)
    Last year he did "art tracks", one was shaped like an alien head.....

    The tractor will be parked close by, in the "Crook" between the house an garage. Not much wind at all. The wood sides will have blue foam insulation (like for houses), so will the top of the "enclosed" area. Clear visquene (Thick plastic sheeting) will drop down over the uncovered area. If they seem to be in stress or cold, I will bring the whole thing into the garage.

    As for the center, I was thinking tar paper strip reaching over both sides a bit. If it creases and wears, just replace.
    (over the length, over the hinges). I would have made one large door, but I will not be able to lift it.

    Again, thank you for all the help. Everyone here is grreat!

    Celia
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
  7. justcelia

    justcelia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 24, 2010
    SE Michigan
    BTW, I am only having 2 (possibly) 3 chickens in there. I want more, but it is just not possible in only a double lot. Troy allows for 5, but I want them happy and healthy!

    Celia
     
  8. justcelia

    justcelia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 24, 2010
    SE Michigan
    OK, how about having the nest boxes outside? (still attached, just "jutting out")

    For 2-3 hens, 2 boxes should be more than enough I believe. That will give them more floor space.
    Then a 2' long roost. or I could go all the way across, 4'. It would be higher than the boxes but forward of them.

    How about 1' 6" from the top? That would be 1'6" from the ground, giving them more head room. (and making it easier to "land").
    So total floor space will still be 4'X6X and 3' high plus the peak of the roof (but it will have a low pitch, less material and lighter).

    How about fro the coop area 4'x2'6" and 3' high, plus the roof pitch? They will still have 3'6'x4' "outside".

    I have to work with what I have on hand, mostly. the 7 wire covered frames (2'x3'x6')
    and I have some scrap plywood, 1x2's etc. A friend is giving me shingles and possibly some tar paper.
    I will have to buy the "blue foam" insulation. I also have some regular chicken wire, but worry about preditors. good for small vents tho.

    With the screened area under the eaves at the ends of the coop, I think I will get enough ventilation.
    I could clear the snow and move the coop even in winter, IF it's a sunny day where the leftover film of snow will melt first.
    There would still be grass under the snow we remove.
    Also, our yard is very protected. 6' privace fencing all around, and tractor will be in the "L" of the house and garage. (dead wind spot)
    Thanks for all your help. I want to get this thing right! I want healthy, happy chickens!

    Celia
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Will this be on both triangular ends? For the cold part of winter, you will want the eaves closed off on the side where the roost is; so the opposite eaves will be your main/only ventilation, thus hopefully it will face south and/or be WELL sheltered from ANY wind, and you will want some sort of adjustable flap type arrangement so you can adjust exactly *how* open it is depending on weather.

    I will drop the boxes. I really cant go any bigger. Wish I could tho.

    The suggestion in an above post that you consider constructing exterior nestboxes is an EXCELLENT one. Although you may get a few frozen eggs (or may well not, depending on the quality of your construction and the depth of the bedding and when exactly you collect eggs) it will give your chickens *significantly* more indoor space, which will for sure be helpful.

    The tractor will be parked close by, in the "Crook" between the house an garage. Not much wind at all. The wood sides will have blue foam insulation (like for houses), so will the top of the "enclosed" area. Clear visquene (Thick plastic sheeting) will drop down over the uncovered area. If they seem to be in stress or cold, I will bring the whole thing into the garage.

    That sounds good.

    As for the center, I was thinking tar paper strip reaching over both sides a bit. If it creases and wears, just replace.

    Um, well, good luck to you. I would totally not count on it working, and honestly I would expect it to just crack in half the first time you open it after a brisk -10ish (F) night, but, you can try it. I would suggest spending time thinking about a plan B though, possibly also plan C and D [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  10. justcelia

    justcelia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 24, 2010
    SE Michigan
    Plans re drawn. LOL! One door/roof on top. My way was not gonna work. LOL!
    boxes outside, 2X4 roost so they can cover their feet, and insulated walls.
    Also I can bring the tractor into the garage if needed. We keep it at 40 F.

    I'm glad the people here talked me out of just one chicken. I have so much to learn.
    All vents will be closable if needed. I am also building panels to attach to "run" area as needed.

    Thank you so much for your help!
    Celia
    (soon to have 2 beautiful Brahmas!)
     

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