Coop/Run vs. Tractor?


In the Brooder
8 Years
May 23, 2011

My 6 yr old daughter and I would like to raise 3+ hens for eggs, but someday may consider them for meat too:)

What are the pros & cons we should consider in choosing a permanent coop/run vs. chicken tractor?

I thought it would be wise for us to get your opinions before we commit to drawing up our plans...

This is EXCITING for us!!!

Thank you!

Roland and Andreana
I'm only half a step ahead of you, but this is what i found...

A lot of tractors end up heavy so how strong are you? Some people end up adding wheels. Best tractor seems to be simple frame with lower than 19 Gage hardware cloth or mesh and room for waterer. The benefit is not having to be out with your birds, and another is being able to move them. Will need shade like a tarp which helps for rain.

Your weather means you can go with an open coop design that combines a 3 walled coop (at least 4 ft out from back wall) with the run being the remainder and end of the structure. It should be roofed to give protection from predators and rain, as well as providing shade. I'm in Florida and that is what I plan to have. Mine will be 10 x10 with half sheltered with privacy fence on three sides. Reinforcing pickets with screws, hardware mesh to keep out raccoons, cats, hawks.

Look up open coops for some nice ideas... These people are really innovative!
Hi Ro-Ro-2

Adding to what Kikiriki said, Your environs and terrain will also make a difference on what is best for you. I think portable coops and 'tractors' often presuppose that the land will be quite flat where they are. If you have irregular terrain then the tractor will behave differently from they way it would if you have flat.

You are right that there are advantages and disadvantages to both.... I have an Eglu Go with attached run, and it is light enough that I can take the door end of the run and move it (drag) and the attached coop around the yard. Even our yard which looks fairly flat, isn't. I notice that my chickens really perk up and go searching every time I move it. A new bug, new grass, a new place to excavate etc. It also makes it easy for me to move into shadier areas which is important where we are. I'm really happy the way my set up is working for me...and I have 3 chickens by the way.

It is soooo interesting to delve into how individualized every person's own needs and requirements are, and hence the large variety of arrangements for people's flocks.

My thoughts are that you find your own criteria of things that you think are advantageous and important-- easy to clean, eays to view the chickens, safety for your birds, protection from elements, cost, appearance, just what appeals to you--and then you find the ideas that most closely fit what your exact needs are.

You will have such a good time with your daughter and your chicken keeping. good luck to you.
Do both! That's what I do. I have a permanent coop and run as well as a day tractor. Because the tractor doesn't have to have housing for night, I was able to build it light enough to be moved easily, and didn't have to worry so much about trying to make it predator secure (a tractor will never be as secure as permanent housing).
I built one that doubles as both. My intention was to move it around the yard, as noted you need to take the terrain into consideration. The movement portion is pretty easy depending on the wheel size. My coop is 4x10 inside and I can move it by myself. Wheel placement is key, you want the center of gravity to work with you so placing the wheels at the far end is a bad idea. I realized this the hard way after putting my rear wheels 6 inches from the back wall. I made my wheels removable, long 5/8s bolt through the wheel and a hole drilled through the lumber. I also built a removable trailer hitch and purchased one of these. It allows me to basically move the coop around in any direction.

Pic of the coop below, its painted and trimmed now so I need to get some new pics. I originally planned to use the 2x4s in the front to move the coop rickshaw style and quickly realized that wasn't going to work with the weight I was pulling. Mine was a straight forward build, four walls which you assemble after framed and then roof studs with siding. Don't side it until you've stapled the wire and don't roof until you are done with everything else, learned the hard way. I screened the back in and made removable rear doors that can be cracked or completely removed based on temp. I also made removable sections on the side panels to pull out the poop boards. Oh and make sure if you use a self latching gate latch that you put an oh crap cord on it. Over the memorial day weekend I managed to lock myself in the coop and the family was out of town. That required me to push out one of the poop board sections from the inside and wiggle through
Yes I wiggled through chicken poop to get out.



The advantage with a tractor is you can move it to a new patch of grass so you don't have a bare spot or mud hole in the yard plus you fertilize the yard as you go. For 3 birds, you don't need a huge structure. Disadvantage is if you want to walk into it, you end up with a huge unit and security depending on where you're at.

A tractor's weight is largely determined in materials used. A 2x4 retangular frame 3" X 10" X 3" tall with a attached coop and strong wire can get very heavy. A rigid PVC retangular frame 4" X 10" X 6" tall with chicken wire on it, you can almost pick up with one hand.

If you make a small lightweight coop that stands alone and can be carried or slid then simply set the PVC run over it you can't hardly get any lighter and it can be big enough to sit or walk in.

The big factors that determine what you need are weather and predators. They sometime dictate weight for security and weather (rain, wind, and cold) and strength to stop raiders.

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