Chicken tractor

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by brains, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. brains

    brains Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I currently have 2 stationary coops and runs with 5 silkies, 6 golden comets and 6 barred rocks. I am thinking of making a couple tractors to get them out around the yard. My concern is how safe are they? Couldn't a raccoon or other critter dig and/or lift the tractor?
    I have never closed the coop doors on either coop or run because they are secure.
    If I built the tractor with 1/4 hardware cloth along the bottom to prevent diggers but allow grass to come through, do I need to worry?
    Thanks
    Ed
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Use tractor during day and put chicks into coop at night. Raccoons are nocturnal as well as opossums. Daytime raptors like hawks wont be able to lift tractor. I am assuming tractor will be covered on top with netting.
     
  3. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Well chickens like to scratch in the grass, so the wire might not work all that well. We have used a tractor for years, for our hens with small chicks or others who might not be able to run with our free range flock. We made it out of PCV pipe, and poultry netting, and it has spikes (tie downs) to secure it to the ground so the wind doesn't blow it. It has a latching door, a roof covered with netting and a tarp for shelter, and is big enough that person can walk in and stand up, and also the birds can perch in the upper portion if they want to. The PCV makes it light enough to carry pretty easily for two people, but it still has substantial weight. We only use ours during the day because yes, predators can and will dig underneath at night. We haven't had any problems, with just using it during the day. We try to keep it in open areas, where a predator would have to cross an open space to get to it. (they are sometimes active in day or late morning or early evening hours, so this is just an extra precaution) It does not have wire across the floor portion.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2015
  4. brains

    brains Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does anyone leave them in the tractor overnight. I wanted an option that I could put a few birds in each and let them do their thing for a few days without having to take them out each night?
     
  5. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I use movable hoop houses for chicken tractors during nice weather months (April - November). I have never had a predator problem because I use 1/2 HW cloth for the lower 2 ft of the cage, and also attach a 2 ft wide strip of 2x4 welded wire all around the perimeter at ground level. This lays on top of the ground outside the pens and I swing it up and attach it to the cage wire when moving the tractor. The wire extends a bit past the ends and overlaps on the corners, I cut 4 ft wide welded wire down the middle, leaving sharp points on both sides and those go on the outer edge so if the fox does get smart and back up 2 ft to start digging/pushing under, the sharp points will poke him in the eye (at least that's how I imagine it happening, LOL).

    These worked well for me all last year, and we do have significant predator issues. The thing I'm going to change this year is to make them easier to move and a bit heavier because the attached tarp made like a sail during one freak storm. That was not pleasant for us or the chickens.
     
  6. brains

    brains Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. For the responses
    Ed
     
  7. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    One more thing to consider is that the birds get stressed out if they are in an enclosure overnight that has no shelter (cover). They are fully aware of the danger from predators and like to feel safe by having a place to hide.
     
  8. brains

    brains Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I should have mentioned I would have nesting boxes and coop attached, just portable
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    @dheltzel got pics?
     
  10. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Someplace, but not on my new laptop. I'll look around and find some. There is a series of youtube videos that show in detail how to build an 8x8 hoop house with cattle panels. That is what I should have done, but I used 2x4 welded wire braced up with 3/4 inch plastic conduit. Not sturdy enough and the wind blew it over.

    Check this out:
     

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