Chicken Wire under Chicken tractor?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Bil, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. Bil

    Bil Songster

    May 8, 2008
    Cottage Grove, OR
    Need some advice!!

    We put our chickens out in our tractor last Saturday. It isn't a perfect tractor, but sturdy and sound. On the first night I didn't do anything really to protect them and something dug under the side and got 5 of them. [​IMG]

    So that next night I put chicken wire around the outside and put 2x6 or 2x10 around the outside to hold the extra wire down.

    Next few nights all is good!

    Last night, what ever it is that wants the chickens, found a way under. Dug and pulled the chicken wire and got in and got 10 more (took 5 and left 5 for me to take care of). [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Our thought is to tip the chicken tractor and cover the entire bottom with chicken wire so the chickens are walking on the chicken wire that would be directly on the grass. Would this work? The chickens could still get the grass and bugs, but whatever was trying to get in couldn't get in (could still reach in, but not get in.

    Any other suggestions?


  2. justpete

    justpete Songster

    Aug 7, 2008
    Southern NH
    If you add wire under the chickens it will be very hard to move the tractor.
    The wire will drag on the ground and the chickens legs could get caught if their feet go through the holes in the wire.

    A portable electric fence may work?

    Others members will be along soon for more advice.

    Last edited: Jun 19, 2009
  3. shawnm2639

    shawnm2639 Songster

    Apr 13, 2009
    Woodlake Ca
    I basically live surrounded by woods and my dog is not a very good chicken dog yet. When I built my tractor I new I was going to put wire on bottom to make it Fort Knox. It is true we have to pick it up and move it while the birds are free ranging but in 3 months I haven't lost one of the 15 birds that live there. And we have a lot of hungry preditors. It is serving at the coop until the end of Summer and fall when I will be forced to get started on the real coop.

    Good Luck, I know there alot of different types of tractors. Some heavier than others. Mine is a Hoop and its usually takes four of us to move it.

    Hot wire is a good idea too. I am just not that talented.[​IMG]
  4. Freebird

    Freebird In the Brooder

    Aug 29, 2007
    Springdale, AR
    1) I would be camping out to deal with the critter directly. Advantage - low cost, just ammo and time. Disadvantages - have to stay up until you kill the critter. Others may show up at a later date.

    2) Your sig says you own two dogs. Stake your dog(s) out close to the tractor - they will let you know when a critter approaches, and maybe even keep them entirely away. Mine has saved my chickens multiple times.

    3) Electric fence wire on the tractor. You could use a battery powered charger and run a single strand of electric wire/polyline on 5" standoffs about 4-5" from the ground. That will keep things from digging under. You can pick up a small battery powered charger for around $100, but you'll have to keep batteries on hand (I'd go with 12V). Some chargers come on a stake that acts as their own ground rod as well. Kencove sells a few models at fairly reasonable prices. Advantages - effective around the clock deterent that's still mobile. Disadvantages are that it will be slightly more work to move the tractor, costs you some more money, and if the batteries die, so do your birds (possibly, as they will be unprotected).

    4) Electric fence netting has the advantage of being able to fence in a large area and you can move your tractor freely inside it's perimeter. Disadvantage is cost (fairly expensive) and you have to keep the grass where the fence is installed very short. Battery/solar chargers for these fences can be very expensive because of the energy required to charge the fence.

    I'm not sure about wire on the bottom. Aside from difficulty in moving the tractor, Cornish X's spend a lot of time laying down - I've heard wire is hard on their breasts.
  5. Peruvian

    Peruvian Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    I think you should also consider taking your dogs' hair and laying it around near the tractor. Urine (human or dog) can also be used as a deterrent.
  6. Bil

    Bil Songster

    May 8, 2008
    Cottage Grove, OR
    Thanks everybody. I wish my dogs would help, but they are completely house dogs. They would bark and whine all night long no matter what!

    I'm going to look in to some electric wire around the bottom and see if that helps.

  7. Neil Grassbaugh

    Neil Grassbaugh Songster

    Sep 1, 2008
    You really need to identify the predator.
    In Ohio what you describe would be the work of a raccoon. In Oregon - Fisher, Badger, Wolverine, Bigfoot?. I donno.


    This is flooring we use under about everything. I will try to get a better pic of the yard pens we use.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2009
  8. jaku

    jaku Songster

    Putting wire under the tractor won't work. At butchering time, you're going to have roughly 10 lb birds. Multiply that by the amount of birds you have left, and you could end up with several hundred pounds of birds to move every time you move your tractor.
  9. twentynine

    twentynine Songster

    Jun 14, 2009
    I biult a 12X3 tractor this week. Because of the number of chicken killers in my area, I did put wire on the bottom. My plans are for 4 or 5 hens and 1 rooster. I have a system of movement that uses a 23hp tractor. It might be inconvienent but I have lost lots of chickens to predators, and I ain't going to have that happen again.

    I used 1X2 galv. welded mesh. I will let you guys know how it works when the chickens go in. That is still several weeks away.
  10. bja105

    bja105 In the Brooder

    May 3, 2009
    Western PA
    Someone posted a pi of their tractor, with chicken wire extending out from the sides a foot, along the ground. It seems it would work for you, and be easy to retrofit. How many birds do you have left?

    House dogs or not, they can still protect your flock. Even an annoying ankle biter will do the job. Don't coddle those dogs, put them to work! Maybe Fluffy will be more filling than your chicks.

    Since we got chickens and ducks, or dog doesn't want to come in. She's a German Sheppard, and I think the birds are her flock.

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