Chicken tractor questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Laffindog, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. Laffindog

    Laffindog In the Brooder

    Jun 26, 2008
    I know these questions may seem silly or unnecessary, but I never even heard of a chicken tractor until a couple weeks ago, so I just don't know that much about this.

    We have almost an acre, and while it would be nice to have the chickens in the tractor in what I call "the back 40", I don't think it's practical because there is no shade whatsoever back there. We could put them in "the dog yard" because it's shaded and cooler and that leads me to this: do people leave their chickens in the tractors overnight or do they move them back into the coop at night? I've seen different designs of tractors that have smaller doors where you can take eggs out, etc, and I'm thinking we would only have ours in this thing during the day. Do they generally live in this thing during the summer?

    Anyone want to share what they do?

  2. greenmulberry

    greenmulberry Songster

    Jul 17, 2007
    It just depends on how big the tractor is, how many chickens you have, and what your weather is like. But I know some people keep chickens in them all the time.

    Mine is small. I used it to move my "teenager" chickens into when they outgrow the brooder. Also, I put a few hens in mine and set it on my garden beds to eat the weeds and bugs, but my chickens mainly live in the coop.

    Oh! I took two bully barred rocks out of the coop yesterday, and stuck them in the tractor. They were beating up some new young chickens, so I am giving them a "time out" to let the newbies adjust!
  3. Laffindog

    Laffindog In the Brooder

    Jun 26, 2008
    Thank you, greenmulberry!

    I just brought this up to my husband last night, about building one, and I'm looking online to see the different types. At first I kept seeing them out in the very back (in my mind's eye) but it's just too hot, even with a shade built over the top. So I think we'll shoot for a really simple design, lightweight, that we can move around easily and just put them in it during the day. I don't think I want to leave them in it all the time.

    Thanks for your input! [​IMG]
  4. NorTracNY

    NorTracNY Songster

    Mar 1, 2008
    Macedon, NY
    I'm in NY, so maybe I don't understand the heat you experience. But you can build a well ventilated shade tractor easily enough. Why would that be any different than the shade of a tree?
    My chicken tractor is my only home for the chickens. I don't have heat to deal with, I just have the cold winters. So I got chickens that are better able to handle the cold, and I'll move my tractor into the barn when the really cold weather arrives.
  5. Laffindog

    Laffindog In the Brooder

    Jun 26, 2008
    Well, out in the back part of our property, it's open with no shade and the grass back there is drying out and getting crunchy. I'm thinking there would be more bugs for them to find in the shaded part where it's greener and, to me, cooler. It's up in the 90's and in that kind of scorching sun, I don't see how a cover on a tractor would be adequate. I'm not saying it wouldn't, it just seems like it, though.

    Thanks! [​IMG]
  6. chickenbike

    chickenbike Songster

    Last edited: Jul 17, 2008
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Because trees cast bigger shade and thus the temp in the center is cooler than in a very small shadow.

    Laffindog's concerns seem quite reasonable to me and it sounds like a tractor 'way out back' may not be a good way to go in your climate.

    Good luck,

  8. Laffindog

    Laffindog In the Brooder

    Jun 26, 2008
    Aaahh, thank you, Pat! I couldn't explain my fears very well but you said exactly what was on my mind.
  9. flakey chick

    flakey chick Songster

    May 3, 2007
    Quote:Also trees "transpire". That means they act like swamp coolers lowering the temperature around them.
  10. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    I put my 7 Silkies out in a tractor during the day.
    We haven't much in the way of shade and here in the southeast it can get pretty gosh darn hot! But if it is nice enough they stay in the tractor during the day. It has a plywood roof over it and is 4x8 with a small enclosure in case it rains.
    There is a nice breeze most of the time and if it gets horrible hot I move it under the shade trees but try to save those areas for the hottest days. I also will put frozen jugs of water down for them and ice in their waterer.
    I have a 4x4 tractor that has a single Silkie roo in it right now since he wanted to terrorize some girls. His hormones are raging and he can't a grip on himself.
    I move the tractors almost every day but we have a lot of land so we have options.
    I also put everyone up at night in the barn. Too many monsters out at night for the babies to be scared of! And a few bears have been spotted so a nice thick wall and concrete floor makes me and them happier.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: