Newbie's A-Frame Tractor 3D Model

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by d(>_<)b, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. d(>_<)b

    d(>_<)b Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 29, 2008
    Loganville, GA
    I threw this together on Sketchup. This will be mine and my wife's first time raising chickens. We are looking to get about 3 hens and then maybe a rooster one day. The floor is 4' X 4' and 26" from floor to ridge. It will be elevated 15" off the ground. The nest boxes are 10" wide by 8" tall by 10" deep. The run area is approximately 10' with access under the platform for shade. Is this big enough for 3 hens and a rooster? Are the nest boxes big enough? Thanks for the feedback.

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  2. SterlingAcres

    SterlingAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 17, 2008
    Poconos, PA
    Oh that's totally cool [​IMG] I think it'll work fine for a few hens. Great job!

    [​IMG]
     
  3. coffeelady3

    coffeelady3 Froths Milk for Hard Cash

    Jun 26, 2008
    Tacoma, WA
    That does look awesome!

    One word of advice, though. I did a lot of research when planning my tractor, and one thing that I heard over and over again is that with the triangular runs is that the chickens will mainly utilize the area of the run where they have room to stand up straight. Their hens ended up sticking to the center of the run and not using the sides. One thing to consider would be to straighten the sides to give them more scratching room. I've seen people easily alter their design by building a basic box frame and placing the triangular run on top of it. I've learned the hard way that the more room they have to scratch, the less often you have to move the tractor around!

    Have fun building!

    (What computer program is that? )
     
  4. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    If you are in a warmish climate where the winters aren't too bitter I think it would work great - basically all the chickens would do in the shelter area is sleep and lay eggs.

    If you are in a climate were you may need to lock them in due to inclement weather for more than overnight, you may need to think bigger...

    Also, please make that chicken wire into 1/2" hardware cloth. Chicken wire is pretty good for keeping chickens IN, but not so good at keeping preds out. A predator like a raccoon (found in pretty much any suburban area) could stick their paw right through the wire and snag a bird by the neck, or even rip through the chicken wire.

    It would stand no chance against a determined dog. Dogs are probably the #1 most common predator of back yard chickens, judging from the daily 'my dog' or 'my neighbor's dogs' or 'some stray dogs...ate my chicken' posts here.

    Also consider making a skirt of wire extended out from the bottom about 12" all the way around. That will deter any diggers. You don't need to bury it if you are going to be moving the tractor around - just invest in a few tent or landscaping stakes to hold it down well.

    I'd also second the idea of making a box frame to set your A-frame on top of, or changing it to a box format to give them more floor space over the grassy area.

    Great start! Enjoy your chickens!!
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    d(>_<)b :

    We are looking to get about 3 hens and then maybe a rooster one day. The floor is 4' X 4' and 26" from floor to ridge. It will be elevated 15" off the ground. The nest boxes are 10" wide by 8" tall by 10" deep. The run area is approximately 10' with access under the platform for shade. Is this big enough for 3 hens and a rooster? Are the nest boxes big enough?

    The total area is IMO good for a 3-4 chicken tractor. However I would join everyone else so far in urging you to seriously consider a box-shaped design instead of A frame. It is not really much of any harder to construct, requires only minimally more materials, and gives significantly more useable room for the chickens. At the very least, consider making the HOUSE part box-style -- being a rather broad triangle, as per your plans, they will only have about 2-3 x4' of actual usable room, making it somewhat of a waste of construction materials for the rest of the supposed area [​IMG]

    Remember that, if necessary for weight purposes, you could make the house and pen separate (latch-together) parts.

    I couldn't tell from the plans, but hopefully the house part has good ventilation (like, at least 1 sq ft on both front and back, even when pop door is shut)?

    Also, where are you located? Tractors are real hard to comfortably and effectively winter chickens over in Northern areas, for a variety of reasons including but not limited to the great difficulty of providing sufficient winter ventilation while at the same time not having a frosty blast of wind aimed at the chickens. So if you should happen to live somewhere up North, you might want to consider how/where you will winter your chickens.

    Good luck and have fun,

    Pat​
     
  6. d(>_<)b

    d(>_<)b Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 29, 2008
    Loganville, GA
    Wow. Thanks for all of the feedback everyone. I will start on a redesign tonight. Oh and BTW, I am in Loganville (just east of Atlanta) GA so winter is not a huge issue. Biggest pred issues would be opossums, coons and dogs. I am building in my back yard which has a 6' privacy fence. Actually my biggest pred issue will probably be my dog (Weimaraner). *fingers crossed*

    To answer your question coffeelady3, the program is called Google Sketchup Click Here to check it out and download. It is a great little free tool. I like it because I can figure the exact amount of materials needed to build.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2008
  7. utahmethodist

    utahmethodist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 7, 2008
    SLC, UT
    I like that design plan you've done! Very nice. [​IMG]

    My two standard hens live in an A-frame tractor and with regards to the roost, they actually do sleep right up against the roof inside so they utilize the whole roost. Or, I should say, my Buff Orpington (who is the alpha female in a flock of two) always pushes my Australorp up against the wall every night. However, my A-frame has a steeper pitch than yours so it might make a difference in how well those end parts of the roost could be utilized.

    Here's a view of the inside of my roost area:

    [​IMG]

    I would also second the recommendation use hardware cloth instead of chicken wire and to put a predator-proof barrier around the bottom. In the last couple of weeks I've been noticing rat burrows appearing around the perimeter of my tractor in the mornings.

    Finally, you may want to consider adding a little lip around the base of the nest boxes. It will prevent poop from getting kicked into the nest (yuck!) and will keep the eggs from rolling out. You could also eliminate two of the nests since three hens will only really need or use one.
     
  8. d(>_<)b

    d(>_<)b Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 29, 2008
    Loganville, GA
    Quote:You know I wondered about that. I don't know why I thought they would each want their own little nest box? HAHA. I guess they are not worried about germs or individualism or anything else really.
     
  9. utahmethodist

    utahmethodist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 7, 2008
    SLC, UT
    No, they're "monkey see, monkey do" little critters. If they see one hen using a spot to lay they figure it must be a winner and everybody will follow suit. [​IMG]
     

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