how many ft/chicken for tractor??

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Meesh, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. Meesh

    Meesh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2008
    Rocky Mountains
    Hi,

    Any suggestions as to how much space/bird I'd need for a chicken tractor? This would be for day use in the garden, not for night. I am planning on max of 10 chickens.

    Thanks!
    Michelle
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    You're really going to carry *ten* chickens back and forth from coop to tractor twice a day? <boggle> I've done it with three, but *ten*?!

    Having gotten that off my chest [​IMG] I would say that if you really *want* the ground to get all stomped and pooey, and are willing to move the tractor every day or two (and have a *large* area in which to do it -- do the math, depending on how long you want an area to rest between chicken attacks), then a 4x10 tractor should be sufficient, maybe 4x8 if you really want to pack 'em in. I know some people would go as small as 4x5 for ten chickens, but I sure would NOT.

    These are regular chickens though not CornishX meat chickens, right?


    Pat
     
  3. Meesh

    Meesh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    WHEW. Great. So 4' per bird would be a good starting point. I think I can go a bit larger, but I'm glad they don't require 10' per bird in the tractor.

    Start laughing now... [​IMG] I thought feeding them decadent, delicious chicken treats in the tractor every morning might help to lure them in without carrying them... [​IMG] Am I again 'misunderestimating' chickens? [​IMG] Maybe put the tractor against their run and give them some treats in there from the start, and then slowly move it away from the run as they learn to go in every morning? I dunno. From what I'd read on the forum, I thought they'd be real suckers for treats (scratch or oatmeal or yogurt or...).

    Yep, there's ~1.5 acres of ground to tractor. I really want to get my yard fences up to 8', but that will take me a while to finish.

    Cheers,
    Michelle
     
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Do you want to tractor them to save your garden and to prevent day predators? If not, just let them out and they will go to town tearing up their favorite spots and they won't go very far from home, and will come back every night!
     
  5. Meesh

    Meesh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2008
    Rocky Mountains
    I want the tractor because they can potentially fly into the yard where my dogs are... Right now, the fences are only about 4' tall.

    I also want them to be able to come into my veggie garden and eat grasshoppers and bugs - it's a really huge old fenced garden - and I want to plant unused parts of it in cover crops and let them forage on the cover cropped area but not on the veggies. The garden is pretty close to their chicken run, so I thought a tractor might work.

    Cheers,
    Michelle
     
  6. Smitty's Farm

    Smitty's Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2007
    St Clair County, Il
    It took us forever to finish our coop w/ the attached run, so my sweet husband made a tractor for the flock so they could get out of their double wide box brooder in the garage and get some fresh air, munch some bugs & scratch around. We would open the lid of the brooder and they would hop in my garden wagon and I'd pull them outside to the tractor. If I was home they would have supervised free range time, but I'd put them in the tractor if I had to go somewhere. Eventually we could just open the brooder lid and they fly out of the garage. When they first moved into their coop...they were so confused and all wanted to file in the garage for the night, but they adjusted and file right in their new home just fine.
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:You could certainly try it. Probably hand-carry them the first several times at least, so they learn that tractor=yummies.

    The only thing about moving the tractor with the chickens in it is that it's a big pain in the butt (if you ask me) to go slooowwwllyyy so that they keep up and don't get squished or snowplowed by the advancing back wall. I suppose since your tractor could be quite lightweight and have permanent wheels it might not be too difficult. Bear in mind that if you will be moving the tractor back and forth daily, you will have to remove and replace the feeder and waterer each time, not a problem, just a nuisance.

    Yep, there's ~1.5 acres of ground to tractor. I really want to get my yard fences up to 8', but that will take me a while to finish.

    Just be aware that, with just 3 chickens inside a 4x7 tractor, I was having to move it every 2 days on the lawn to avoid undue damage to grass and pooieness, and when I had it sitting in one spot for a while (trying to kill grass, or letting them work over weedy garden soil) it would turn into a muddy stomped POO PIT in about 4 days. Just sayin'.

    I guess kind of what it boils down to is that what you are suggesting may work, which would be great, or it may not, in which case it would be good to have a plan B ready-to-hand [​IMG]

    Good luck (I hope I dont sound too negative, I think it really *is* possible it may work as you intend, I'm just saying that there are many of us whose experience with tractors has been a little more labor- and poo-intensive than our reading had lead us to expect [​IMG]),

    Pat​
     
  8. pooponshoe

    pooponshoe Out Of The Brooder

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    My tractor is "all in one" 4x8 on 4 lawnmower wheels with 2 nests.

    Yes it is "good exercise" I actually have a round fence pen within the tractor for 6 eleven week old Orps that are going to be released in another week (free ranging) and will hopefully roost with the other gals.

    They move quite easily within the tractor, I have feeder and waterer hanging from top (wish I had pics). I haven't squashed one yet and have over an acre of green fertilized grass/weeds, yes I hose a bit of poo every day, (good therapy) hence my name.

    Working on tractor #2.
     
  9. Meesh

    Meesh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Rocky Mountains
    There are some great ideas here, thanks for sharing them. Lawnmower tires would be really handy. I was going to make a foot-wide skirt for the tractor out of hog wire to stop anything like dogs digging near the tractor, and make it so I can flip it up and clip it so the tractor can move... Then unclip it and let it lie on the ground when the tractor is occupied. I think the skirt could easily be made to cover the tires when it's dropped down. So tires would be great. I will check with the lawnmower repair shop to see if they can salvage me a set.

    I also really like the idea of carting chickens to the tractor (mass transit!). I have an old garden cart that I can cover with a wire frame. That would be handy, esp. when they are large brooder size. The more I think about it, it's a great idea. My wire dog crate might even fit perfectly into the cart.

    In the garden, I want to use the tractor as a mobile fertilizing unit. After they ravage the cover crop, I can till it and the poo under and compost in place. Well, it's the grand plan anyway.

    The garden is about 100 x 100 and has an 8' fence. The other possibility if all else fails is to make a frame that fits over my veggie area (it will be about 12 x 24) and let the chickens range all around it. I found plans for a PVC greenhouse frame, which would be very do-able option.

    Most of the backyard is just dry rural Colorado weedy stuff... No worries about them harming a turf area. I wish I had the water to grow turf! Alas!!

    Cheers,
    Michelle
     
  10. Kittikity

    Kittikity Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you didn't want them to go in the tractor, they would head straight for it every time.. Much like children do..
     

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