Need help with an A-frame tractor design

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by blasto, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. blasto

    blasto Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 7, 2009
    Hello all! I*m having my first coop built (hubby and his carpenter buddy are going to have a beer-grill-building day this weekend) and I need some help on the design. I*ve decided on an a-frame tractor type, but there seem to be 2 different concepts and I*m looking for some advice.

    This type seems to have a nestbox/small living area on either end, with an open roost spanning the two. Not a whole lot of enclosed living space.

    This style, is more of a raised coop/a-frame hybrid. The one pictured is much bigger, more permanent than I am looking to build, plus they modified it from the original design so that the coop part is only over half of the run, but you get the idea. question is, do I need the larger enclosed living quarters for 2-3 medium hens, or will the first design work just as well? We live in Central Virginia, so the winters are relatively mild and the hens will get a lot of foraging time out of the coop. Thanks in advance for suggestions and advice!
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2009
  2. blasto

    blasto Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 7, 2009
  3. paddock36

    paddock36 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 24, 2008
    Ocala, Florida
    I like the mobility of the first but the coop part of the second because that way you can close them in if you want. I believe it's suppose to be 4 square ft per bird recommended for the run part. I built one from ideas that I got on line before finding BYC and just partially closed in one end. It's not as pretty as the links you listed but it worked and I had 6 in there. Now I just use it for my younger pullets that I am raising up.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  4. gmzamz

    gmzamz Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 24, 2009
    Monticello, MN
    Quote:Actually if I remember rightly it's 10 square feet in the run and 4 square in the coop, although I might be wrong.

    The first should work fine although you might want to put a floor or something under the roosts. You might not want to trust on this though because I'm new, kinda.

    Good luck when you do build it![​IMG]
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Just my opinion, but if I had to choose between these two and you are planning on housing the chickens year round in this, I'd go for the bigger one. The first one would work fine for a summer house in your climate, but on those cold, snowy or rainy, windblown nights and days in the winter, they will need to spend more time in the coop. I think you run a big risk of them getting bored in the winter and developing pecking problems. As chickens are social animals, they would want to spend their time inside together. The two separate nest boxes don't really double your coop space when they are inside.

    The rule of thumb is 4 square feet per full-sized chicken in th ecoop and 10 square feet in the run. This rule of thumb is based on having room for them to have access to feed and water in the coop, sufficient room to carry the poop load with standard mangement practices, room to roost without fouling the food and water, and room for nesting boxes. It also assumes they will spend some short time cooped up in the winter or foul weather but will normally have access to the run.

    If you feed and water outside, have external nest boxes, and have the climate that all they are doing inside is roosting out of the weather, you can get away with less room in the coop, but probably need more room in the run. If you do everything inside the coop and they spend long chunks of time locked in the coop in the winter, 10 square feet per chicken may not be enough. People from those climates can help better than I can about that.

    If you only have 2 or 3 chickens, you might need more room inside the coop just to fit everything in, if you are feeding and watering inside.

    The rules of thumb are good proven starting points, but they are not gospel. You need to adjust to your specific conditions.

    Good luck on the build this weekend.
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    A very small A-frame tractor is probably the worst possible living arrangements, from the chickens' viewpoint (and, if pecking and cannibalism problems develop, from your viewpoint too). It offers next to no indoor room, much of the indoor room it *does* have is not really useable by the birds (b/c the walls slant down so acutely along the edges of the floor), and is extremely hard-to-warm-and-ventilate-satisfactorily.

    In central Virginia you *could* winter birds over in that if you really wanted to, but it is REALLY not your best shot at having happy and thus healthy getting-along-with-each-other birds.

    I'd really suggest something either larger, or based on a rectangular rather than A-frame construction, or both. No reason it couldn't still be a tractor; there are just more appropriate tractor designs available, IMO.

    Good luck,

  7. blasto

    blasto Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 7, 2009
    I decided on an a-frame (let me clarify--I*m not planning on a SMALL tractor, but rather a regular sized a-frame tractor which I consider a small a-frame vs. the larger, walk-in style a-frame coops) because they seem to be extremely popular in Britain which has very similar winter weather to where I live. I also like the low-profile design (housing chickens within 200ft of a structure is not allowed in my county [​IMG]) that does not scream *CHICKENS ARE HERE!!!*. Plus, the girls will not be shut away in a little coop and run--they get free range of the back yard for a good part of the day. The tractor is just to give them a safe place to sleep and hang when we are not home. Sorry, I should have been more clear!

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