Chicken Tractor without grass?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 10, 2009
Hi All:

This is my first post - my compliments to all of you for the shear volume of excellent information availabe on this site!

Like many these days, my family is working on becoming more self-sufficient and this year we will be adding chickens to the plan. Our plan is to raise both layers and meaties, currently thinking we'll start small with 5 Cornish-X and 5 of another bread (any suggestions would be welcomed!) for meat and would like to house them in a tractor. That brings us to my questions:

1) We live in Central Oregon on 2.5 acres but the landscape is natural - meaning there is no lawn but rather natural ground that is sandy. The soil drains well and we don't get a lot of rain so I'm not worried about mud. What concerns should we have regarding the soil and tractor use?

2) We do have coyotes in the area, so one of my concerns is a tractor not having a floor - is this something I need to worry about and if so what would one do to minimize the risk? To minimize turn over probabilities I was planning on building the tractor with space in each side to place loose cinde blocks for added weight.

3) For 10 birds in a tractor does the 4 sq ft per bird hold true or should I be figuring on different numbers?

Thank you in advance for your thoughts - as a green-horn any and all advice is welcome!


Simply Stated
10 Years
Feb 3, 2009
Hope Mills, NC
LOL. Okay. For meats, I think you could get away with 3, but not sure. I'd wait for others advice. You can put the 2"x4" gap welded wire on the bottom for predetar proofing. Also if you make a short a frame, like 8x4 that is 2' at peak, it would be hard to tip over. I would use thick plywood with some welded wire either over or under it. This is just a second barrier. I would definitley put a bottom on since there is erosion that can cause the coyotes easier access. Layers need 4 sq feet. I would have seperate tractors personally, but that's up to you. If they are in one... Probably a 12x6 would be good. Not too much cutting if you get 12' boards. This is plenty of room, if you find breeds you like. Do you want all same breed or a mix. Rhode island reds and Orpingtons are great layers. Easter Eggers are decent layers with colorful eggs. I like bantams, but they are more pets than layer birds. Black sex links are one of my favorite breeds. Does this help at all?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 10, 2009
It does help some, thank you for your reply.

I don't know enough as to whether I want mixed breeds or one?? Based on the reading I've been doing on the site was thinking BO for layers.

Was hoping to get a little advice for the second meatie breed other than Cornish-X (though I've been seeing a lot of positive comments on Dark Cornish so maybe they are a better choice?)

So much to learn, so little time. I guess the good thing is I won't be married to any of the choices....well at least until they are all out of the freezer any way...
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In the Brooder
11 Years
Jan 23, 2009
Roy WA
I LOVE my BO hens - they are characters & follow me everywhere, chase my barn cat, run after her for mice......


Crossing the Road
13 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
Consider the Delaware. Before the Cornish Crosses took over, they were considered meat birds and they are decent layers. Part of why they were meat birds is that they are white and the pin feathers don't show as much, but that was their designation.
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Dirty Egg Eater
11 Years
Apr 9, 2008
Marietta, SC
I second the 2x4 welded wire on the bottom for predator protection

The one mistake I made in contstructing my tractor was overbuilding. By the time it was done it weighed a ton. Two years later it is a permanant fixture.


11 Years
Jul 24, 2008
Lexington KY
I have built several large tractors and I have found that they end up being stationary if you build them large enough to house more than a few birds.

I would consider a good secure coop for nights and let them freerange during the day.

I will mention one thing about broilers....they are cheaper to feed getting them up to butcher weight than a duel purpose breed which takes about twice the amount of time.

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