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Converting Chain Link Kennel to Chicken Tractor

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Nathan, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. Nathan

    Nathan Songster

    Dec 10, 2008
    Camas, WA, USA
    Here, to fuel your creative tendencies, is the beginnings of my chicken tractor.

    I was lucky enough to obtain this off Craigslist recently:


    It is a chainlink kennel 6Lx6Wx4 with one gate. The chickens for it are just eggs right now, so I have some time to think about it.

    Some finishing touches I think it needs:
    Cover could be just a UV tarp or some metal or plastic roofing panels to cover the whole top. I'm not sure how I coud make it sloped. It woudl probably be good to cover some of the corners as well.

    Roosts :
    I'll figure out how to attach some roosts to get them off the ground at night. Not sure of height. I don't know what height a chicken can successfully jump in one step, so I may have to build soem sort of step/ladder.

    Rollout nest boxes accessible from the outside. High is nice for accessing them, but I've learned from this forum that they should probably be lower than the roosts.

    I think wheels would be helpful to move it fairly often. I'm not sure how to attach them as yet. Is it necessary to raise and lower wheels so that they don't prop up the bottom when parked?

    Food and water: preferably less hanging from the fence or door.

    Right now it is light enough to drag with some effort. I would like to keep it light, so I want to avoid too much plywood.

    Feel free to add any ideas.

  2. Fudgie

    Fudgie Hatching Queen - Got Fudge?

    [​IMG] You stole my idea!!!

    I have one exactly like this.
    *Yes on the uvtarp, works better than the solid tarp
    *for Roosts use dowel rods in the corners through the chain link held fast with zip ties.
    *Line the inside with hardware cloth to keep out the rodents. It also is helpful to not allow the chickens to get out when you go in. I have a 12" hardware cloth at the front door for this purpose. You don't have to go far up on the cloth just like 24 inches whatever the roll width is. Coons can reach right in otherwise and no more chickens.
    * Be careful putting tarp on the sides and corners, a big wind will send it tumbling, especially if you have wheels. We had a 10' X 6'X 6' kennel tossed this way.
    *Wheels, get an old mower and remove the wheels. Run a bolt through a big washer, it will roll easily and it will just be off the ground a tiny bit.

    looks like you will have a good tractor when done!
  3. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm 10 Years

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    [​IMG] I would put either chicken wire or hardware cloth on top too to keep preditors out. It will also help to hold the tarp on if it rains especially. Rats and snakes can get through the chain link in case you are thinking of putting the chicks in it, [​IMG] [​IMG]
  4. Fudgie

    Fudgie Hatching Queen - Got Fudge?

    OOOHHH cmom, I never thought about the dern snakes getting in too! [​IMG]
  5. greenapple

    greenapple Songster

    Feb 8, 2008
    Central Florida
    I have a 10Lx5Wx6H chain link dog kennel that I am using as a semi permanent coop, built a small house in it and buried some rabbit fencing around the bottom of it. It will be the breeding/broody pen when the ones I want to breed get old enough and want to sit [​IMG] I used the UV tarp on the top, nice green one so it would blend in the top with the surrounding trees (I hope that will fool the hawks when the chickens all disappear under the green tarp)

    almost forgot when we hosted Fancy the Frizzle - BYC Mascot, we were in the process of building the dog kennel coop, I posted pics of Fancy helping with the building of the coop.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2008
  6. waynesgarden

    waynesgarden Feathers of Steel

    Mar 30, 2008
    Oxford County
    I had the same run when I lived back in the Adirondacks, though it had a heavy fabric top. I used it only as a run for a few birds, moving it around the lawn every day. (Only had to drag it the width of the run each day for fresh grass. )

    My coop was designed to be moveable to follow the run around the yard but I made it much too heavy. I ended up leaving the coop stationary and taught the birds to follow me to the run every morning by dangling their food in front of them. In the evenings, I turned them out for a couple hours and they returned to the coop for the night on their own.

    If I were to do it again, I would have made a somewhat lighter coop on wheels, also separate from the run but with an opening into the run so I could move each separately.

  7. Nathan

    Nathan Songster

    Dec 10, 2008
    Camas, WA, USA
    Thanks for the tips.

    Tarp on the sides sounds like a bad idea. We had nice King canopy made of tarp and metal frame - till it blew across the street as the neghbors predicted. I do want some solid corners wher the birds can retreat when the racoons are chasing them back and forth. Maybe I can uses those chain link inserts. Has anyone used metal or plastic roofing panels?

    I haven't seen raccoons but they are here. I've seen handprints on our back window.

    Snakes we have as well - garter snakes that live in the grass. There is not much way to keep them out. I have a pretty nice brooder setup in the garage, so the chicks will be there for a while. I'm hoping when they are feathered out and moving outside, they'll be big enough to discourage the snakes. Do garter snakes go after eggs?

    I don't know about rats, but I'm sure I'll start seeing them after putting out chickens. We do have moles. There are two coyotes that live in our yard. There are rumors of a bear in the vicinity . . The stray cat population is kept in check by the hawks and the coyotes.

    The beavers probably wont be a problem unless I build the tractor out of fresh aspen trees - (which they already cut down for me, BTW [​IMG] )

    Has anyone mounted (rollout) nest boxes?

    Good ideas on the roosts, and hardware cloth. What height do you have roosts at?
  8. lorihadams

    lorihadams Songster

    Sep 17, 2008
    Do a search for dog kennel tractor coop on here....someone had a picture of one that used the panels and it was awesome!

    Good luck...our run is a 10x10 dog kennel with a tarp on it but we have a coop that we built that is attached to it with 2x12 boards around the bottom of the kennel.

    Here's a pic...window over the pop door and vents on the top of the coop.

    here's the inside of the coop...2 roosting poles on the left and 3 nesting boxes on the right with a sloped roof covering the nesting boxes so they can't poop in them or roost over them...access door behind nesting boxes.
    Our garbage can can fit underneath it so we can just sweep the droppings and old shavings into it easily.
  9. tnmommy

    tnmommy Songster 5 Years

    Apr 14, 2013
    Loretto, TN
    Awesome! We have a sturdy dog kennel and I was wondering how to maximize the kennel space for the chickens while still having an exterior coop attached. My young cat is very sneaky and I just knew that if the nesting boxes were inside the kennel, he would pop on in there.
  10. Biologrady

    Biologrady Chirping

    Apr 12, 2012
    Here's our new coop, just moving the girls out tomorrow for good. It's actually temporary, the girls will be leaving our suburban backyard to go to our free range flock when they're big enough, but for the summer this should work. There is a 4'x'5x3' dog crate lined with hardware cloth inside that pop-hole, containing a saw-horse roost. They can go in and out as they please during the day (the shed doors are usually left open all day unless its rainy.) The dog run is not attached and is light enough to move around to give them new foraging ground. I've been putting them out or a few hours each day this week. Believe it or not, they will go right into that dog crate you see in the picture because they know they get to leave their boring crate!

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