Need ideas for tractor-building

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by fargosmom, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. fargosmom

    fargosmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 27, 2008
    Pasadena, CA
    I might be getting two or three new hens in a month or two, and I'll need to quarantine them for at least a month before I integrate them with the two hens I have. My backyard is too small to accommodate two coops, so I need to build a tractor to house the new girls just for a short time. It needs to be small, and I want to be able to break it down for storage in case I need it again in the future. So here's my plan so far:
    I got a collapsible wire dog crate 36"x24"x24" to use for their house (I can wrap it in a tarp to enclose it and I'll add a 2-by for a roost) and I'll be building a 36"x24"x6' run to attach to it.
    I'll be building the run out of 2x2's and hardware cloth, in panels that I'll connect with zip ties so I can knock it down easily later. The run will have a couple of hinged openings in the lid for access for feeding etc.
    Here's where I'm looking for input . . . first, will a house that's essentially a tarp tent be warm enough (in SoCal) in February for two pullets approx. 8-9 months old? I could try to figure out a way to add some insulation but I don't want it to be too involved. Second, will the house part be ok on the ground, or do I need to figure out a way to elevate it?
    I'm probably over-thinking this thing, but it's a rainy night and I have nothing else to keep me occupied [​IMG] . I'll be starting construction next weekend so I'd like to have my plan in place.
    Bring on the ideas please!
  2. pharmchickrnmom

    pharmchickrnmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2010
    I am no expert in these matters but will offer my opinion as to your plan. I see that you have been getting lots of rain. I would probably elevate the housing so there would be no worry about it getting flooded out or being constantly wet. The girls need a place that is dry and free of drafts. What are you using as a bottom to the wire dog crate? Does it have a pullout plastic pan? If so, it might be okay if you have enough bedding on it. Easy to pull out and hose off. My big concern is predators. Do you have any problems with predators now? It would be easy for them to get through the wires on the dog cage. The pullets you say are 8-9 months old so they should be feathered out and able to handle the weather. A tarp should be okay as long as it isnt in the sun because it tends to heat up. ventilation is key. Same predator concerns for the run. Zip ties can be chewed through. Perhaps someone has ideas on locking panels? I saw that somewhere on this site. Might be worth a look as they made them to reconfigure their runs as necessary. Again, just my opinon. I hope it helps.
  3. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    Can you cover the dog crate in hardware cloth, too? That would be a lot safer.
  4. fargosmom

    fargosmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 27, 2008
    Pasadena, CA
    Thanks for the input. So far no predator problems with my existing coup, but I recognize the risk. I'll have the tractor right behind my house, near where my dogs come and go, and I hope this will deter any raccoon explorations. There are also security lights there on motion detectors. I can elevate the house portion although it will make the construction a little more complicated, but I agree about the rain (you should see my backyard this morning! [​IMG] ) The crate has a plastic tray for the bottom so I'm not worried about their feet or about vulnerability from underneath. If the wire of the crate is not enough protection I'd actually rather build a plywood shell - I think it would actually be easier than putting hardware cloth over the crate. As for the zip ties, I only mean I'll use them at the corners instead of nails or screws - but I'll drill holes for them so they'll be pretty inaccessible. I still plan on screwing, nailing and stapling as needed so each panel is solid. For that matter I could use wire instead of zip ties . . .
    Any other ideas?

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