Having problems with my chicken tractor...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by PucciChick, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. PucciChick

    PucciChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 14, 2012
    I have recently discovered that even moving our tractor everyday with just two hens it is still not enough. They are tearing up the grass and leaving big muddy holes where they had dust baths. This is the same coop as mine: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/the-garden-ark

    I'm just wondering if there is any quick growing and hearty grass I can plant, or is it better to create a floor? And if so with what? A friend suggested I build a box and put soft dirt in for a bath to help slow down the digging. I'm just trying to avoid having the yard torn up while still providing them a nice setting. If anyone has any information it would be greatly appreciated. :)
     
  2. barnaclebob

    barnaclebob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have seen someone on this forum create patches of grass inside a coop that were covered with a frame built by 2x4's and then hardware cloth on top of that. The chickens could walk on the hardware cloth and eat any grass sticking through but they couldn't scratch at it. You could try something similar by putting hardware cloth down on the bottom of the tractor so they cant scratch at the grass. This could create other issues that I don't know about if its all they are walking on so keep any eye on them at first.

    Another alternative is to just leave the tractor in one place and put some pine shavings down...
     
  3. PucciChick

    PucciChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh wow, that's areally neat idea w/the boxes and hardware cloth. Thanks!
     
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    The fencing will be hard on their feet if you floor it in.

    It would be better in my opinion to have plain dirt under there and leave it stationary as Bob said.

    Or you could instead, dedicate a part of the yard to "chickens" and go ahead and plant some grass there where they were. You can rotate where the pen goes, but go back to the same spots. That way the holes and unsightly areas will be few and far between in your yard, instead of your whole yard. There is some benefit to rotation of soil, in preventing worms.

    You might consider making them a fenced in area where they can roam but you would have to consider predators, them flying out, etc.
     
  5. barnaclebob

    barnaclebob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah the person who built the boxes just had it for a section of their run and they never gave a long term update, I'm not sure how it would affect their feet if it was full time. If the grass is pressed tight against the hardware cloth then it might be ok. Poop getting stuck on it could be another problem.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012
  6. PucciChick

    PucciChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks again guys! I wonder if there's a certain grass that grows fast that I can use just in the places I would use and rotate with the chicken tractor. If anyone has any ideas it would be greatly appreciated.
     
  7. Pharm Girl

    Pharm Girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I went through the same thing. Even worse, the rats figured out there is free dinner inside and kept digging under even with constant moving. We gave up and made a proper floor and parked the thing. Not as much fun for the ladies, but it was as much for their safety as the yard's! I turn the little 2ft garden trays upside down and stick a couple of tent stakes to hold 'em steady, then plant grass seed in them. It's only a small area, but they can easily walk on the plastic and still get a little greens.
     
  8. UrbanBYC

    UrbanBYC Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 13, 2012
    Im no expert, but I think maybe half of the run with those grazing frames (hardware cloth over the grass) with maybe some wood running across as perches so they can stand on that when eating so it doesnt hurt their feet and the other half, you could attach some plywood and put some sifted dirt or shavings as bedding, That way, they have the best of both worlds, they can still take dirt baths and graze on the grass but you dont get holes left behind and all the grass ripped, you get evenly "mowed" grass where the grazing frame was. I'll clarify if that doesnt make sense.
     
  9. PucciChick

    PucciChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 14, 2012

    Yikes! What did you use to build the floor?
     
  10. Pharm Girl

    Pharm Girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We put down some pavers and a big piece of plywood over that. We painted the ply with house paint. We actually only had this coop for about 7 months and upgraded to a much bigger one.


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