Help and ideas for designing my own chicken tractor!


9 Years
Feb 5, 2010
Missouri Ozarks
To make a long story short, I'll soon have to many chickens for the housing I have. I wasn't going to raise any replacement pullets for myself this year, but... ya'll know how that works.
It is SO hard to say "No, thank you." to free one-month-old chicks.
So now I have about 25-30 pullets, and am trying to figure out how to house them. They're gonna start laying in two or three months. Until then I have adequate space for them. But once they start laying, they'll need a lot more room, nest boxes, roosts, etc.

So having figured out that the soonest I could have a new coop finished by would be in October (which is much too late), I looked into making a chicken tractor. After looking at all of the BYC chicken tractor pages, here are my questions so far:

1) How much space do you need per hen in the covered coop part?
2) And the run?
3) Could I make it big enough to house all of them? Or would I need to make two? I know one really big one would be heavy, but maybe I could move it around with the four-wheeler ("A.T.V."). Max width it could be is 8' though (to go through gates, etc.).

Thanks! That's a really great idea! Very large, very lightweight for it's size, and relatively inexpensive to make! Now I just have to decide wether to make it walk-in-able, or just tall enough for the chickens. The latter would be a good deal cheaper to make and sturdier in the wind, but it'd be nice to be able to walk in there too...
Suzeeg made hers 10' x 24'. I'll have to measure out how big that would be. That might not be too big for me. So I could make one of these quite quickly (?), and later a coop to attach to it. My deadline is August 1st for the coop (and ASAP for the run)... So I'll want to have it all planned out VERY soon!
I honestly couldnt see it taking too long to do as long as you have the plan for it in your head. You also have to keep in mind for how wide you want it how tall it will have to be to be able to bend, that is the only issue with PVC, but I don't think it would be too bad. I would think about how big you want it, then start figuring out how many poles you'll need and connectors and how much wire and go ahead and have your layout for the ribbing done. Suzeeg just used zipties and screws to put her side/supports across the ribs and thats much cheaper and just as sturdy (and a little less headache in my opinion) than using a four way connector to attach it all together. once you have all your materials I could see it taking around 10 hours to do, so say like a weekend a few hours each morning to put it together.

You could easily make this with the PVC and the wire for 60$ depending on what kind of wire you'll use, and if you want hardware cloth, just do the bottom 2-3 feet in hardware cloth and the top in chicken wire or 2X4" welded wire to help cut out the cost as 1" chicken wire and 2X4" welded wire is much cheaper than hardware cloth.

Good luck and take pictures!

ALSO you could just do a square/rectangular PVC run as well, but those in my opinion are tricker cause you have to find the right kind of connectors the 3 way connectors either PVC or metal to hook 'em up and when using PVC the hoop seems to be alot sturdier and stronger.

P.S. paint your PVC or use that watery tar stuff on it after putting it together to give it added life and durability against UV damage. without painting or anything you'll have to replace the PVC in about 3 years.
If you didn't want to go that big, I saw the neatest pvc tractor today from a man whom I got some nice pullets from. His PVC tractor was in the shape of a circle. He had a circle on the bottom, and pvc legs to support the circle on top. It was probably about betwen 3-4 feet high. He took wire fencing and wrapped the outside of the circle with it. Then he used a smaller plastic mesh around the bottom half of the circle also around the perimeter, so the chicks wouldn't get out. His top was bird netting, I am sure you could use something more hardier, his chicks had an attached coop to run into at night and he secured them there each night. The tractor was really light. What amazed me is that each circle tractor had different breeds in them and he let them free range for a couple hours each afternoon and all returned to the right tractor! He gave me pointers for training my birds that way. I wish I had taken pictures but I got some great ideas to work with what I do have.
His frame matches that almost exactly but he actually built them himself and they didn't contain metal. He did a lot with PVC on his farm and told me he just gets it from the hardware store. He made a feeder out of the wide diameter PVC by drilling large holes in the side, voila individual feed spaces!
Thanks everyone! Okay, I went and measured out how big a 10' x 20' run would be. It was a LOT smaller than I what I had pictured in my mind. So at this point, that'd be the minimum size I'd wanna make it. Although I wouldn't want to make it too big (i.e. less sturdy). I think I'll make it 10'-12' wide, and 20'-24' long. So now I need to just draw it up and make a list of what I need. I am kinda leaning toward the "walk-in" height. But I'll have to see what the difference is in materials...

Thanks for the tip about painting the PVC! I'll definitley do that.

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