My chicken tractor exploded!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by AtHomeDaddy, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. AtHomeDaddy

    AtHomeDaddy In the Brooder

    Aug 24, 2008
    Austin, TX
    OK, be gentle. This is my first try at chickens. And I have a 4 year old and 6 year old helping me with all stages of coop design, building and chicken care.

    I was going to build a chicken tractor. Lots of recycled lumber to work with, so that we could have 2 chickens in the backyard. One hen for each kid. Then I decided on 4 hens. That way, if one hen dies, neither kid is left without.

    Then I decided I wanted the tractor to be larger than most I have seen, so that the kids could go inside to help with feeding and cleanup.

    Then I bought 6 chicks! And despite our ignorance in all things chickeny, they seem to be thriving.

    Well, now I have a half coop/ half chicken tractor thing. Too big to be a chicken tractor, too small to be a real coop. I call it the Coo-tor!


    Over all dimensions, 4ft by 8ft and 4 ft tall. I still have to add some type of roof but the Coo-tor is almost too heavy to move already. I am going to add some heavy duty wheels to see if that helps. In the end, I [plan to let the chickens out in the yard as much as I can, but this will be their primary housing, once they are ready to move outside.

    But my biggest mistake, I think I am building the hen house side too small for 6 hens. 2ft by 4 ft and 3 ft tall. I am hoping to have two nesting boxes in there and one roost going across the longest side.

    Too small inside area for 6?
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2008
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Just put a cover on the top and it will be fine. That way they don't have to be "inside" all the time when it rains.

    I see that the wire doesn't go all the way to the bottom, this might be a problem with digging preds like coons. Coons can tear off chicken wire from frames and if you can't lock the birds up inside the enclosed part at night, they could be prone to being taken during the night. Even if you have never seen one, they're there and chickens like to draw out everything that wants to eat them. Might consider laying down a wire skirt and reinforcing the chickenwire with something tougher.

    As for size, don't worry. My first coop is a "tractor" and was 8x8x5 feet... and now has a 4 foot tall a frame addition to keep rain out. It's seen better days, but can be moved by being carefully picked up by two people. It was moved about 3-4x a year for the past 10 years... but is in it's final stopping spot now... I don't think it's gong to be able to stand after another move since a few cross braces and part of the frame are broken.
  3. HEY THATS GREAT~! I think you and your two sons have done a great job! You can always expand later on if you need to.
  4. shelleyb1969

    shelleyb1969 Star Bright Farm

    The tractor I just finished (my first one!) is the same size as yours. I put 10" lawn mower wheels on the back, and 2 handles on the front..also a large screw-eye on the bottom 2x4 on the front so I can pull it with the 4wheeler. The 10" wheels make it pretty easy to move. My enclosed area is 3x4x4...and that is just enough room for 2 nesting boxes and a roost. I've got 4 barred rocks in mine, 2 of which will be leaving in a couple of months. For now, this size is fine. But in a couple of months, it will be way too small for . So I imagine that 6 in yours will be really cramped. Do you have a roo? If you could downsize to just 4 hens, I think you might be ok. Also, just some extra info...if it gets cold where you live, stack straw bales around the entire tractor..even on top if you have the support. It will insulate the tractor very nicely. [​IMG]
  5. wegotchickens

    wegotchickens DownSouth D'Uccles & Silkies

    Jul 5, 2007
    Sevier County, TN
    If you free-range a little every day then they can make do with a little less space inside the tractor. Just so long as they get to stretch their legs and wings, and forage. Been there, done that [​IMG]
  6. AtHomeDaddy

    AtHomeDaddy In the Brooder

    Aug 24, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Oh, you guys will make me a happy chicken farmer if this can work for a while!

    But the wife of the wannabe chicken farmer will be even happier, since I won't be requesting a "farm loan" from her checkbook.
  7. Quote:New chicken owners are usually freaked out because they hear so many different thing from so many different people.

    The only thing you need to make sure of is that they have feed, water, and protection from predators. It doesn't take an expensive coop or high priced building materials to keep chickens. Recycled pallets and chicken wire work just fine.

    What you have built will be just fine for quite some time. Plus you have the added safety of a privacy fence to keep out stray dogs etc...

    I'm thinking you're doing good so far...
  8. EngieKisses

    EngieKisses Songster

    Jul 10, 2008
    Collinsville, Oklahoma
    I think it looks awesome. I also think the slowly adding to the flock size is cute. My DH and I did that, we bought 5, then added 4 more, than added 10 more (these were inherited). We have had to find other homes for a few extra roos, but the flock is growing slowly above our original plans. [​IMG]
  9. mfranti

    mfranti In the Brooder

    Aug 12, 2008
    salt lake city
    New chicken owners are usually freaked out because they hear so many different thing from so many different people.

    you're telling me. i just posted about my tractor- 10Lx4wx3h with the extra large plastic dog house that's bigger than the coop the OP built(it doesn't take up run space because it's attached to the back/front of the run) i only have 5 girls but everyone is telling me i have to build a bigger home for them. 8sf per bird is too small?

    i'm so confused. they seem to be doing great and i got two eggs from the older girls yesterday (btw-thanks for the tips on the fake egg and firm pettings when they squat-i really think it helps)

    it seems my girls like to be close together at night. the older ones alway took the younger ones under their wing (no pun) and they still continue to be close at night. (it's salt lake, it's hot here during summer nights)
    i would hate to build a bigger coop and have them all huddle together wasting space, time, materials and money.

    anyways. i'm still willing to build a bigger home, just need to know why.

  10. Quote:Read all the publications from the agricultrual extension services, and the poultry guides. In a cage situation 3 to 4 square feet per bird is sufficient. If they get time out of the coop 1 to 2 square feet per bird is sufficient.

    Take a look at my website. My coop is 4x8 and is two story. I have 3 hens and 1 rooster in the top level, and they live in there the majority of the time. In the bottom level, I have 5 buffs, 2 blues, and a white showgirl, and they all do fine.

    As long as your birds a healthy, happy, and nourished, your fine! By the way your coop is 40 square feet, which is 8 square feet per bird, which is DOUBLE the recommended space, so you've OVERDONE yourself if anything!

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