Chicken Tractor question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Clay In Iowa, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. Clay In Iowa

    Clay In Iowa Songster

    Oct 9, 2008
    Near Wilton Iowa
    I've noticed that most are pretty small. I will have around 30-40 heavy breed chickens and would like to build an 'A' frame tractor (or 2 ... or 3) big enough to keep at least 15-20 birds in pretty much all summer. They will have the opportunity to roam every afternoon but must be protected at night and while I'm at work. I live in predator central....

    Is there a reason most tractors are on the small side? Ease of movement, structural considerations, space limitations etc.

    I was thinking a 12' wide by 12' long tractor would be large enough to keep them happy. 12x12 or 144 square feet is 7-10 square feet per bird.

    It'll have a coop at one end 2 ' off the ground for shade and to give them as much outside area a possible. It will be about 9'x6', 54 square feet or 2.7-3.6 square feet per bird. Not ideal but doable.

    I have 10 isolated acres so it's not a space or neighbor issue. And I have a tractor i can move it with if it's too heavy to move by hand.

  2. RHewitt

    RHewitt Songster

    I saw a tractor post on here a week or so back that had a design you would probably like. It was 8 feet wide but 16 ft long with a sheltered area at one end. I will reasearch a little a try to find it.
  3. Clay In Iowa

    Clay In Iowa Songster

    Oct 9, 2008
    Near Wilton Iowa
    Quote:I would like to see that.

    Thank you so much [​IMG]
  4. Most tractors are built small because not everyone has a "real" tractor to move it with. We use the kids, the husband/boyfriend or neighbors to move them around.
  5. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    Most of my tractors I can move myself but DH has a 10X10x6 that we put wheels on and move around. They are not let out of it right now and with only 5 in there at this point in time, it takes a while for them to eat it down and mess up the ground so we have to move it less often.
    Supposedly we can put about 25 birds in there but I don't crowd mine like that and will never have more than 10 at one time. If it were moved every day we might could get away with it but I like my birds to have plenty of space to get away from a heathen flock mate.

    The large tractor that the other person was talking about is under the thread about "I want to see your tractors." It should be on page 3, I think.
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Can I put in a strong vote for NOT AN A-FRAME, especially if you want to keep that many birds in it. There is very little actual savings in construction material and not all the space is really fully usable by birds b/c of the way the walls slant down.

    Is there a reason most tractors are on the small side?

    Yes - if you want it to be moveable by hand, it can't be very heavy, yet it must be sturdy enough to resist the stresses of moving and of predators.

    If you seriously want that size tractor, what you need is a broiler-style tractor (probably a hoop tractor so that you can work inside it more easily). Also a site sheltered from serious winds and without really-intent predators (although you can run electric fence around the area the tractor's in, for some extra protection). Browse the Meat Birds Etc section of BYC for some designs.

    If it were me I'd build it as two separate parts: a mobile henhouse portion, and a hoophouse pen portion. They would be moved separately, then locked together when you got where you're going. THis would allow a MUCH stronger safer more weatherproof and predatorproof coop, and make the pen space more accessible to both you and the birds, while making things easier to move without things shaking loose or killing your back (or lawn tractor).

    Good luck, have fun,

  7. Clay In Iowa

    Clay In Iowa Songster

    Oct 9, 2008
    Near Wilton Iowa
    Thanks Pat.

    Off to the meat birds section.

  8. chookchick

    chookchick Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    If you are you looking to keep that many as layers, then I would seriously steer away from a tractor-type setup and look into the electrified poultry netting. You could build a fairly sturdy but move-able house for them, to be locked into at night. The poultry netting is very easy to move, many commercial operations use it. The only drawback is overhead protection from hawks, if that is a big problem in your area. You might be able to solve that issue with enough shelters, or the house in the middle as a shelter. The broiler pens work well for broilers, but they don't like to move around much. I can't imagine building a tractor large enough to keep 20 laying hens out of trouble, and from trashing the yard...
  9. Clay In Iowa

    Clay In Iowa Songster

    Oct 9, 2008
    Near Wilton Iowa
    Quote:Serious hawk problem [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] OMG you don't know. I have a hawk that sits in one of my pine tree and hunts my 10 acres every day, then there's teh dozen or so hawks of all kinds i see weekly, The great northern owl that roost in the other pine tree next to the house and the 2 or 3 Bald eagles I see 2 or 3 times a week flying around my property.

    SSS is not a solution even if I wanted to do it. I'd need a backhoe for the shovel part. [​IMG]

    Then at night there's the coyotes, red fox, dozens of coons, skunks, possums, stray cats, stray dogs, Mink, weasels,'s a very long list.

    I am seriously considering the exactly what you are suggesting. In fact I'm keeping a very close eye on the design Steve is currently working on.

    My 10 acres are the largest untilled plot for miles and is a magnet for all things that eat chickens.

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