Meat chicken tractor design

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mommabear24, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. mommabear24

    mommabear24 New Egg

    Jan 29, 2015
    We are looking to do 30ish meat chickens this spring. We are looking to build the cheapest tractor possible... We live in northern WI so I'm a little worried about predators. Would we be silly to use chicken wire or thick plastic "poultry netting" instead of hardware cloth? We plan on moving the tractor to a new spot everyday. How do we go about keeping predators from digging under? Thanks!
  2. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2007
    Long Island NY
    I would definitely avoid both chicken wire and plastic netting. They are really easy for predators to tear through.
  3. alije

    alije Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2009
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Look at hoop coops:
    advanced search>titles only>hoop coop

    Solar or battery powered hot wire around the bottom would be very effective in deterring predators
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    I agree with Aart. electrify that tractor. Plan on a minimum of 2 s.f./bird. 4 s.f. would be better. Will you let them out to range at all??? Other option would be to build a more stationary coop, which could allow increased s.f. and use deep litter. It boils down to this: Given the size of the coop you'll need, will you realistically be committed to moving it once, if not twice/day, rain or shine? I have 2 tractors, and one 8 x 12 coop that was supposed to be a tractor, but got parked b/c it was too heavy to move. All get used, but the 8 x 12 hoop coop gets used the most for brooding youngsters, grow out for meaties, rooster jail. Small tractor (1/2" hdw cloth) most recently used for broody/chick pen due to heavy hawk predation. That one (3 x 6) was invaluable in basement and later in garage for brooding chicks the first 2 years. The bigger tractor (6 x 8' w/1" c.w.) does not see as much use and is currently parked in garden for a cold frame. No matter what you build, it's helpful to build it with an eye towards alternate and future use. If you'll be brooding meaties in future years, you might look into electro net. It will give you 1600 s.f. and will be predator proof except for weasels and overhead. Great b/c it can be moved around the yard with minimal fuss, and give them LOTS of range opportunities.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by