New Chicken Tractor - Am I on the right course?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by petrel, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. petrel

    petrel Chats with Chickens

    Total noob here, planning to start my tractor on Saturday. I thought I'd lay out the overview and hope you all could tell me if I'm doing ok so far:

    Tractor overall: 16'l X 6'w X 6'h with a corrugated galvanized steel roof. Roof pitch and total inside height tbd. I don't want to have to hunch over when tending chix or cleaning the run.
    Coop within the tractor 6'l X 6'w X 3'h leaving 3' of clearance below for added ground access.
    Nest box will hang outside the coop. I'm planning on four nests.
    Tractor will be lifted by three boat trailer jacks and towed with a lawn tractor or real tractor, if necessary.

    All pressure treated materials: 2 X 4 & 2 X 6 framing with plywood coop.
    2" X 4" Wire sides, end and bottom (we have and abundance of predators)
    1/2" X 1/2" Wire 3' up sides
    1/2" X 1/2" Wire summer coop floor with a plywood cover for winter.

    I have eleven chicks on order with a goal of having a final flock size of 8. I won't go into the brooder setup details here. Based on my reading, there may be some mortality or I may get an accidental cockerel. If all eleven work out, I've made arrangements with a seasoned chicken person with excess space to take anyone contributing to crowding. If they seem healthy and happy I'll keep all eleven.

    There will be very little free ranging due to the proximity of neighbors and abundance of airborne and ground based predators. However, I do have a wooded area I plan to fence in for brief supervised evening foraging forays.

    Please let me know your thoughts on the tractor. Thanks
     
  2. 1AcreRooster

    1AcreRooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG] I like the height, I don't like hunching over in the chicken pen either
     
  3. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 11, 2010
    Frederick, MD
    A couple of questions:

    1. how cold does it get where you live? your covered coop area is 18 sq ft. 8 birds will be a little crowded in there if for any reason they have to stay in the coop for a longer period of time. The runsize is kind of ok for 8 birds but my experience is that bigger is better.

    2. why the 6' width? Most boards that you construct these things from come in 4x8 ft sizes. it is much more cost effective to make the thing 8' wide and have the coop area 8'x4' - thus mitigating the issue I raised in #1. Especially because you don't have to lift it by hand so the weight is kind of not an issue.

    3. if you have only 8 birds (and even 11) 4 nest boxes is overkill. You need only 2.

    In general in my experience the "BYC standard" space a chicken needs of 4 sq ft in the coop and 10 sq ft in the run are minimums not maximums. Chickens are much happier when they are not crammed together and they have space to hide from each other when they need it.
     
  4. petrel

    petrel Chats with Chickens

    Thanks for the feedback so far!

    1. maybe I'm looking at it wrong, but I was coming up with 36 sqft of coop 6 x 6 floor with a 3'+ ceiling. Here our winters are usually mild. In the worst years, they would not have to stay in for more than a day or two until there were a few hours of decent weather. Total sub freezing days probably would not exceed 21 all winter and no more than a few at a stretch.

    2. I did the 6 foot width because I want to be able to easily move it onto my utility trailer, should I need to relocate it a long distance. I figured the six foot width, plus the width of the double wheeled jacks would put it right at 7' wide.

    3. I will take the advice and reduce the number of next boxes. Just out of curiosity, is there any harm in having too many?
     
  5. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Chillin' With My Peeps

    937
    36
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    Mar 11, 2010
    Frederick, MD
    Oh sorry, you're right, my mistake. I totally misread your measurements.
    No harm in having too many but you'll find that they cram into 1 or 2 and ignore the rest. Looks like you're on the right track then. Again, apologies.
     
  6. petrel

    petrel Chats with Chickens

    No apologies necessary! Thank you for your assistance.
     

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