"Flexible" bottom rail of tractor??

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Garden Gal, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. Garden Gal

    Garden Gal Chillin' With My Peeps

    480
    3
    131
    Apr 11, 2009
    Virginia
    I am considering building a moveable tractor, however our property is not level; it has gentle slopes. The tractor designs I've seen so far are proposing either pvc or lumber rails, which when moved to the sloped areas would provide a "gap" betweent the grade and the rail.

    Can anyone suggest something pliable which could be used as the bottom rail - even if I have to have a lumber rail above? I'm PICTURING something like a garden hose but a bit more substantial that would follow the contors of the land when moved to a "curvy" area.

    With all the creative energy out here.... HELP!! [​IMG]
     
  2. CARS

    CARS Chillin' With My Peeps

    How about a chicken wire "skirt" around it. I just saw a picture of one that had a foot of wire laying on the ground all the way around it to keep predators from digging under it.
     
  3. OverEggstended

    OverEggstended Chillin' With My Peeps

    384
    13
    133
    Jan 11, 2010
    SW Washington State
    The idea of a hose and some fruit tree netting (poly string) might be just the thing. Or even the netting and drapery weights! or some sort of flexible rubber flap (like on the bottom of a door) "weather stripping" sort of.

    I don't know... just quickly brainstorming. Look at the bright side... the roof on your tractor and any attached coop or hideaway can be flat... it will never be level anyway! [​IMG]
     
  4. CARS

    CARS Chillin' With My Peeps

  5. NorthernOntario

    NorthernOntario Out Of The Brooder

    28
    0
    22
    Jan 19, 2010
    Sudbury
    You could always get some large pieces of chain and fasten that to the bottom edge of the wire. Could even go as far as feeding chain through a suitable piece of rubber hose.

    You would still need to go around after moving the tractor and straighten out the bottom edge, but the weight of the chain would help hold things down.

    Still not as strong as wood right to the ground though.
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    85
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    You don't want a flexible bottom rail, seriously -- if it can flex to admit bumps in the ground, it will flex to admit predators!!

    What you want is a wire skirt -- I would personally use something stouter than chickenwire, but chickenwire is better than nothing -- that is attached (or hinged) to the tractor along the base of the tractor frame, and the loose edge of it you either weigh or peg down. I would not personally trust the heavy chain being used in the photo of the meat-chicken tractor that was posted above... that will keep chickens in but not really do a lot to keep predators out IMO. Cinderblocks or large concrete rubble are better, or alternatively tentpegs.

    Be aware though that tractors, especially large and/or tall ones, are just not real well suited to rolling ground, nor are any tractors well-suited to really bumpy ground. I would suggest taking some pieces of 2x4 out to the locations where you think you'll move the tractor and seeing how much of a problem you'll have in finding a site with sufficiently little gap all 'round the frame. More than 5" or so and even a fairly wide skirt may not help much (on account of not being secure enough).

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  7. Garden Gal

    Garden Gal Chillin' With My Peeps

    480
    3
    131
    Apr 11, 2009
    Virginia
    Thanks for the suggestions - they are appreciated. I am also considering one of the mobile 'hot fences' to put around the tractor to discourage my dogs from harassing the birds, and this would also help deter any potential predators.
     
  8. NorthernOntario

    NorthernOntario Out Of The Brooder

    28
    0
    22
    Jan 19, 2010
    Sudbury
    Ya, I think I need to retract my previous statement and go with Pat's comment... nothing except a secured fence is going to keep predators out. You'll need some way to have a fenced portion on the bottom that you can pull pegs out of the ground, move the tractor, then re-peg the fence to the ground.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by