Parking a Chicken Tractor in a Raised Bed

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by wishingbee, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. wishingbee

    wishingbee Chillin' With My Peeps

    139
    1
    106
    Jun 27, 2011
    SW Washington
    We just bought a house and haven't really figured what we're doing with the backyard, so having something that is somewhat movable is ideal. I know that coyotes and raccoons are in the area, so I need to build something that is a bit of a fortress at night. Lightweight, big enough for three hens, and a fortress - Sounds like a challenge!

    [​IMG]

    I've been mulling over building a chicken tractor (4x6 or 4x8) - light enough for two adults to move- that 'parks' within a raised bed. The raised bed walls would be about 6 inches high. In all four corners of the bed, there'd be a leveled cinderblock to ensure that the frame of the tractor is seated properly. Along the raised bed wall, I'd bury chicken wire along the perimeter, buried about 6-8 inches underground.

    And when we figure out where we'll be building our new shed and our fence, we can work on something a bit more permanent and heavier.

    Here's a sketch.

    [​IMG]

    Something I've also considered was making two or three of these raised beds, and planting them with fast growing greens (wheat, lettuce, oat grass) so they can have a buffet every few weeks, but I'm not sure if the build up of uncured chicken manure would be too hot for the plants to grow well. But it'd be nice to have a green run to leave them in if we're ever gone for a weekend and can't move them to a fresh yard patch in the morning.

    What I'm afraid of in this design is that even a 4x6 square coop and run will simply be too heavy to move often. So if you have sneaky tricks to make the construction lighter without compromising stability, I'd LOVE to hear them. The coop would be raised off the ground to allow foraging underneath, so they'd have full access to 24 square feet of run, but I wonder if 8 sq/f per bird will be enough. I grew up with chickens, but they were completely free ranged, so this is really a whole new concept for me. [​IMG]
     
  2. whistlinchicken

    whistlinchicken Out Of The Brooder

    27
    0
    22
    Sep 5, 2011
    Northern KY
    You probably have already built what you need...but I live in KY and have the same predator issues. We built 6 a frame arks, easy to move. The top triangle portion has a nest area at each end and a roost between them. At night, the ramp pulls up after the birds go up to roost. They are totally safe and "fortressed in"! During the day the ramp is let down and the birds come down, onto grass, eat bugs, etc. I put 3 hens and a rooster in each ark. Works like crazy!
     
  3. wishingbee

    wishingbee Chillin' With My Peeps

    139
    1
    106
    Jun 27, 2011
    SW Washington
    Thanks for your response, Whistlinchicken! I haven't built anything yet, I'm stuck in the twilight zone of knowing that I want chickens but not being 100% sure how to house them. [​IMG] It has been a lot of fun browsing all of the great designs on this forum, but I haven't been able to make a decision to save my life! [​IMG]

    Glad to hear that you've had success with securing your chickens in a tractor. That makes me feel a lot better about the tractor system already.
     
  4. chicken farmer 1997

    chicken farmer 1997 Chillin' With My Peeps

    337
    2
    101
    Jun 26, 2011
    lewis county ky
    i live in ky with 60+ chickens guineas and bantams. i seet coon traped and never have a problem. i live in lewis county probley the biggest coon population in ky. i also sell my coons for $10 each.
     
  5. I-Have-Happy-Hens

    I-Have-Happy-Hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 16, 2010
    Carrboro, NC
  6. GardenGnome

    GardenGnome Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    22
    Aug 20, 2010
    Oley, PA
    You want to let the manure age. It will burn up your plants if you put it on right away.
     
  7. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    5,381
    131
    303
    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    Andy Lee as I recall is the one who popularized the phrase "chicken tractor" by doing just what you have in mind.

    [​IMG]

    http://www.amazon.com/Chicken-Tractor-Permaculture-Guide-Healthy/dp/0962464864

    I use chicken tractors extensively though not on raised beds. They get moved every day so as not to kill the pasture grass and it's done wonders for improving my pasture.

    If you're going to till it under before replanting the manure load won't bother anything as fast growing as grain seed if you don't allow it to pile up too much. It's all in how much you allow it to accumulate before tilling it under.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by