Chicken Tractor under construction: Flooring/bedding question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by hillbillygreen, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. hillbillygreen

    hillbillygreen In the Brooder

    Apr 22, 2008
    Central Illinois

    We're making headway on this portable coop, but I still don't know what I'm doing for bedding/flooring. I initially thought I'd drop a plastic tray down in the main area with pine shavings and clean it as needed, but now that I see how often they seem to need it as just chicks, I can see it could be daily!

    I'm reading that book: Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens and it talks about "dropping boards". Is she talking about a wire floor? I'm not sure that will work either.

    The first picture with the handle let's the whole back wall down so I could slide out a drop-in tray, but daily sounds like a lot still and I think the interior is too shallow for a "deep litter" method she talks about.

    The second photo is the interior... if any ideas seem to fit, I'd love some advice!


  2. CarlaRiggs

    CarlaRiggs Songster

    Great start for your portable coop! [​IMG]

    The dropping boards Gail writes of are the trays under the birds' roost. They donate much of their fertilizer at night while asleep [​IMG] . It's really not much bother to clean once a day. If there is a run for the hens, or they free range, you probably won't have much to clean. I like a wooden floor, though some clever owners put linoleum over the wood for easier periodic cleanups.

    Just a question ~ why do you want a portable coop? I'm assuming this is a tractor, with an attached run. Generally with a movable tractor, unless you have a really large yard, it becomes a bit of a mess. [​IMG] You'll need to have a wire skirt that you can spread out from the coop's edge to keep the predators from digging under to your hens.

    I'm not sure what type of roof you'll be adding, but the coop looks really sturdy and predator-proof now. When you add the sides and roof, it may be too heavy to move without a lot of effort.

  3. aberfitch

    aberfitch Songster

    Mar 24, 2008
    Texas Fort Worth
    looks nice and strong. I like it!
  4. jomom

    jomom In the Brooder

    Apr 19, 2008
    that look really nice.
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Yep, unless all the rest of the material will be wire or sheet metal, if this is a tractor, I hope you *have* a tractor to move it with [​IMG] Well, maybe not *too* bad with wheels on it if the roof will only be on the shelter part, not the 'run' part.

    Gail Damerow's 'droppings boards' are not quite the same as what some of us here have. Hers are a slatted floor over a droppings pit.

    Some of us here (me included) have an actual solid board underneath the roost, extending far enough in front and behind to catch all the nighttime poo. You just scrape the poo off into a bucket in the morning and remove. Some people have vinyl flooring scraps on their droppings board to make cleaning easier; I use that plasticky-covered cheap shelving material, you know?, it sort of melamine-covered fiberboard? You can often find people throwing it away at the curb on trash day. A dusting of shavings on it after you clean it off will mean poo is even less likely to stick. I don't know how feasible this would be in your tractor -- it depends on height and layout.

    You may honestly be best off just putting down a modest layer of shavings, either cleaning a droppings board or picking the worst deposits out daily (because it is such a small space), and changing it all out on a fairly frequent basis. How frequent depends on how many chickens and what the size of the tractor is.

    (Just checking -- that handle on the end is just for opening the access door, right, not for actually moving the coop?)

  6. hillbillygreen

    hillbillygreen In the Brooder

    Apr 22, 2008
    Central Illinois
    Thanks all!


    This is a tractor (no wheels or handles yet). I want to be able to move the run off of areas they have scratched down and overly poop-i-fied. We are in a rural town with a decent size yard. I'm hoping our dog in her outdoor kennel will help us with predator patrol. She alarms from squirrels to stray dogs to humans etc. If I had a fenced in yard it would be different.


    That handle on the back is the back hatch/ pull down door which gives access to the entire back end of it.

    I like both of your ideas for a linoleum scrap under the roost and maybe a second one to cover the whole floor board. I think I'm going to stair step the roosts on the nest box side... and leave room for them to get into them of course. I thought I'd like one more nest box in the "attic". My dad thinks they'll just sleep and poo in it though.

    The roof will cover the enclosure, plus a "porch" area and wire over the run.

    I'll show you more pics when we get a bit further!

    Thanks again!

  7. HobbyChickener

    HobbyChickener Songster

    Jun 29, 2007
    central KY
    Looks good, i am starting on mine this weekend. [​IMG]
  8. redneck

    redneck Songster

    May 25, 2007
    Good looking tractor. I built one similar to yours. It is very heavy. I have problems picking one end up to place it on wheels to move it. Even with one end on wheels it still takes 2 people to push it. I would advise you to use light materials where ever you can. Instead of tin use fiberglass for the roof. Still, you have a very nice looking set-up there. There is things on yours that I wished I had built into mine.
  9. AtRendeAcres

    AtRendeAcres Songster

    May 23, 2007
    Clarion County
    looks GREAT

    can't wait for more pictures!
  10. eggzelent

    eggzelent Hatching

    Apr 21, 2008
    do you also have a permanent coop or do the chickens stay in the tractor all the time? i'm trying to figure out my new chicks and love the idea of a tractor for safe "free" ranging..

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