Chicken tractor size

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by michickenwrangler, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

    Jun 8, 2008
    NE Michigan
    Though we ended up having to sell our chickens, I may get some more this spring and instead of a run like we used to have--my husband complained about the worn-down grass--I thought about making a chicken tractor.

    About how much sq footage should I allow per chicken? I plan on getting dual purpose breeds--barred rocks or orpingtons, possibly Delawares or something in that size range. Not sure how many I plan on getting though, probably somewhere between 3-8.
  2. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

    Apr 16, 2007
    Evening Shade, AR
    Have you looked at the Tractor Pages?

    There are some great ideas there and several of them include dimensions. If you find one that you like and it doesn't include them (dimensions), you could contact the member who built it.

    Hope this helps!

  3. waynesgarden

    waynesgarden Feathers of Steel

    Mar 30, 2008
    Oxford County
    The main problem I have with chicken tractors here in the north is that the snow in the yard could be a whole lot deeper than than the height of the tractor.

    Keep some height to the structure and provide enough room that the chickens can spend a Michigan winter in it..

  4. NorTracNY

    NorTracNY Songster

    Mar 1, 2008
    Macedon, NY
    I built a tractor as big as I thought a tractor could be and still be able to be easily moved. I am under the 4sqft rule of thumb and I only have 5 chickens. See my page and PM if you have any questions. I'm in NY, so right now my chickens are frozen in place. They appear fine, but I'm guessing most people on here would be horrified that my chickens are out in really nasty weather. I had the option of moving them into a barn and did during the last cold spell, but they prefer to free range and this cold spell caught us a little off guard.
    I guess I'm happy with my chicken tractor, but if I knew what I know now, I would not build one. I only did it because I didn't want want the worn down grass run and thought my cats or dogs would possibly give me problems. The cats would love to eat a chicken, but are too afraid now that they are grown, and my 100lb dogs could care less about the chickens. They just free range so a fixed coop is all I'd need.
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Biggest drawback of a tractor is that they're real hard to winterize for Northern winters while maintaining good air quality for the birds. Also, be aware that rather than thrashing all the grass to death in one spot, you will get a perpetual parade of poo and *half*-thrashed-to-death grass (including dusting holes) all across your lawn.

    Three chickens in a tractor is doable, although it'd be real, real good if you had somewhere else to winter them. Eight is possible in summer months or if they free-range most of every day, but not too practical (without serious crowding) for something to overwinter and still have it moveable.

    Unless they'r free-ranging most fo the time, their space requirements are the same no matter whether it's a fixed coop or a tractor.

    I'm not saying it can't be done, just that it may not be as much of a better option as you're thinking and you want to work out all the angles before committing.

    Good luck, have fun,

  6. tcombest

    tcombest Hatching

    Nov 21, 2008
    San Angelo Texas
    Im just now finishing up my fourth tractor. The first one had a yard 4'x8' and a house 3'x4'. The unit is almost too heavy to move around. It can be done, but not that easy... and I didn't build it all that bulky.

    I now have a new design that I think is much better. The house is 2'x3' and the yard is 2' tall, 3' wide, and 8' long. This unit is much more manageable, and uses 2' and 3' wire perfectly. I also incorporated some fun stuff, like plexiglass. I am working on photos right now on the coop and can upload them maybe tomorrow.

    This coop also allows you to remove the house and take it inside your house or garage, if willing.

    Again, Ill try and get pics and building info tomorrow.
  7. blooo

    blooo In the Brooder

    Jun 10, 2008
    berkeley, ca
    I built the chicken tractor shown here:

    coop is shown in the pix under Jill's Coop)

    The run measures approx. 4x8 and the coop floor plate approx. 2x8. But because the tractor is an A-frame, there is really not very much room in the coop. There are 2 nest boxes, one roost area, and a lot of the area is taken up by the ramp. I only have 3 chickens in there, so I think it's okay. But I wouldn't really want to put anymore in there. As it is, they can't move around very much in the coop and can only move in a single file.

    My hens go in for the night and to lay eggs, but they don't hang out in the coop during the day, as they used to when they lived in the dog crate temporary coop.

    The thing is pretty heavy, and it takes 2 people to move. I move it every few weeks.

    I'm pretty happy with the tractor, because it's nice-looking and the chickens seem reasonably happy. (I live in northern California, so haven't been too concerned with cold temperatures. It has been down in the 30's at night, but the chickens seem just fine.) But I was surprised at how little room there is in the coop because of the A-frame.
  8. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

    Jun 8, 2008
    NE Michigan

    We live down in a river valley so it's not unusual to have -30 temps in late Jan., early Feb. so insulation is a must no matter what I build. We have an overhang on our house so if we were expecting heavy snowfall--like we have every three days this winter--I could put the tractor under there. Ideally, I would love to let my birds be roaming, but our seven acres has very little yard and is mostly very thick cedar swamp--complete with bears, coyotes, cougars, badgers and other assorted things with large teeth, so that's not an option. Our dog is the least of my worries.

    I will take all of these things in mind, but the decision to get chickens, hence where to house the,, is still in the future.
  9. warhorse

    warhorse Songster

    Jun 15, 2008
    Cibolo, TX
    Quote:What is the 4sqft rule of thumb?
  10. NorTracNY

    NorTracNY Songster

    Mar 1, 2008
    Macedon, NY
    Most people on here seem to talk about needing 4sqft/chicken inside the coop. I have just over 3. I think the number is probably misleading or oversimplifying. I believe it's more important to have enough roost space since that is where they spend most of their time in the coop. I have plenty in my tractor.

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