1. Texas Fluffy Feet

    Texas Fluffy Feet Songster

    Feb 20, 2008
    Arlington, TX
    Okay, after more thought and planning, I have decided that if the cute little fuzziness of little chicks does not melt my hubbys heart once he sees them I need practical things to win him over. Eggs is a plus, but seeing as how I only want a few little cochin bantams, that will be a tough sell. So I have decided to go with a chicken tractor for my coop design. That way, he no longer has to fertilize the yard. This will be an ace in the hole as yard work is not his favorite honey do.

    My question is in regards to wire for the run. I know what seems to be the most preferred is the 1x1 hardware wire for most. However, I also read that it is a good idea to allow extra wire at the bottom to lay on the ground to help deter predators from digging into the run. I have a 4 year old who is bound to be running around the tractor and I hate the thought of the wire being out on the ground where she could step on it or else fall on it and get cut. That would not be a plus with hubby obviously. I found this


    and it seems like a positive alternative since it is not rough wire. If someone has used this, can you give me some feedback? Or any opinions would be appreciated. I certainly want our little ones safe from predators, but I have to look out for my kiddo too. [​IMG]
  2. bills

    bills Songster

    Jan 4, 2008
    vancouver island
    I guess its they type of pests that you are concerned about digging into the run, as to if the plastic would work or not. It certainly is a viable alternative if you are worried about your daughter getting injured on wire mesh. If you plan on having a secure hen house that the birds will go into at night, then it should be fine. Dogs are about the only pest that might show up in the daytime, and although they may tug on the plastic, if it's fastened correctly it should deter them.
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    As far as the skirt thing goes, I am pretty confidant that the plasticky stuff would be sort of intermediate between having nothing and having real wire. It is not as strong as, say, 1" welded wire mesh would be. Also because it is less rigid (at least, the stuff I've encountered like that is less rigid), you will probably have to peg it down in a few places with metal tent pegs or something like that, so it doesn't just flap up and invite digging-under.

    So as the previous poster said, I think it kinda depends HOW secure you want your tractor to be, and against what kind of predators. I'd suggest that with the plastic skirt you would at least want to make sure the tractor had a secure 'house' part into which the chickens could be locked at night.

    If you want the security of wire with less risk to kids' feet, I'd think you could attach some sort of buffer strip along the edges of the skirt. A strip of 1x2, a piece of aquarium tubing split lengthwise and lashed on with wire or uv-proof twine, something like that. It might make the skirt a little more rigid so if your yard has bumps or hollows you might need to use bricks or something like that to fill in here and there, but on the whole it sounds pretty workable to me.

    I'd just like to add a comment on this though:
    I have decided to go with a chicken tractor for my coop design. That way, he no longer has to fertilize the yard. This will be an ace in the hole as yard work is not his favorite honey do.

    You probably need to be aware that using a tractor does NOT, at least in my experience, reduce yard work or improve the looks of your lawn. I know it sounds great in theory -- chickens enjoy grass and bugs, fertilize grass, you move tractor before grass gets damaged.

    But unless you have, like, only two chickens in a giant tractor and move it twice each day, the reality is more like -- chickens enjoy grass and bugs, chickens scratch grass apart leaving some living grass plants, yes, but also lot of bare dirt between 'em, chickens poo heartily everywhere, chickens scratch dustbathing holes, and even if you move the tractor daily, it leaves a wake of thrashed bedraggled dirty POOEY rectangles of lawn in its wake, which may look fine after three weeks of recovery but you'll always have three weeks' worth of lawn that looks like chickens happened to it. And you STILL may need to fertilize, because chickens are not necessarily adding nutrients in the same balance that your lawn needs 'em. BTW, mine was a 4x7 tractor with just 3 chickens in it, moved every 1-2 days.

    I am not at all against tractors, and I will still use ours again this summer; I just have to say that IME they do NOT work in quite the rosy no-impact way that things often make 'em sound like.

    So, just a word to the wise, if you go with a tractor, you will also need a strategy for selling your husband on the merits of a trail of heavily-chickened rectangles all over the lawn [​IMG]

    Good luck,

    Pat, wishing someone had told *me* this before I built the tractor last year [​IMG]
  4. Texas Fluffy Feet

    Texas Fluffy Feet Songster

    Feb 20, 2008
    Arlington, TX
    You know you're right. I hadn't thought about how much chickens scratch! I think I will stick with my tractor idea, but I will probably leave it for the most part under two large shade trees where I've never gotten grass to grow anyway. I like the idea I can move it if I need to though. Thanks for the sound advice!

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