Help with tractor design for cold climate

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by giantsridge, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. giantsridge

    giantsridge Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 23, 2009
    Biwabik, MN
    Hi, we just got our first chicks and will be building a chicken tractor that needs to keep them comfortable through a cold northern Minnesota winter. We will have about 12 chickens, and would like a design that is light enough for two people to move around in the summer. I can insulate the interior if necessary, and could provide a heat lamp on those *really* cold nights (we get to -40F at times). I have alot of building experience and plenty of tools, so I should be able to build just about anything...we appreciate any suggestions you can give us!

    I LOVE COCHINS ChochieChochieCoo

    Feb 10, 2008
    Quote:Hi and [​IMG]
    Here is a link to the BYC coops page, you might be able to get some ideas from them. And if you find something and have questions just send the builder an email. People on the BYC are awesome and they will try an answer your questions.
    BYC Coop pages.
  3. giantsridge

    giantsridge Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 23, 2009
    Biwabik, MN
    Thanks for the welcome!

    I have looked through the various designs on this site and others- many of them look great. I guess I am looking for more specific advice from those in our cold climate on what works and what doesn't, before I start down the wrong path. Thanks!
  4. rhythmicgoldfish

    rhythmicgoldfish Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2009
    i would love this info too i want to modify the catawaba design for a cold climate i live in NH
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:That is an *extremely* tall order. I am skeptical it can be done. You will need at least 4 sq ft per chicken indoors to keep them from going *completely* batty (and in Minnesota winters, it'd really be a lot safer to have a lot more room for them)... and so you're talking at least 6x8 for the house part *alone*. The weight of materials needed to make it rigid enough to survive moving, and predatorproof, adds up extremely fast. Plus then you need something on the order of a 10x12 'run' portion.

    Frankly I'd suggest rethinking your plans and just building a fixed coop. You won't be moving a tractor for 5+ months of the year *anyhow*, so it is not as much difference as you might think. If you wanted to make a tractor to use just in the warmest part of the summer, that is more doable.

    If you are really intent on building a seriously-winterizeable 12-chicken tractor, and again I am not convinced this is quite possible, I'd suggest thinking in terms of two separate parts (a moveable house part, and a pen part) that dock securely together when you get to where you're going. However, realize that it will be so obnoxious to move that you are likely to have the ground get very badly thrashed under it before you move it... (for reference, just 2 hens in a 4x7-footprint tractor make a very noticeable impact on my own lawn in 1 day, and reduce it to mostly dirt in 4-5 days)

    Good luck,


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