predator-proof tractor?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by SunnyDayz, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. SunnyDayz

    SunnyDayz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How can you make a portable chicken trasctor predator proof? Or can't you...? We have racoons and bobcats, and I'm deciding on what to do now that we aren't free ranging them anymore.
     
  2. catterbug

    catterbug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Use chicken wire on the tops, sides and bottom. This will make it a little harder for them to scratch but it will keep them safe.
     
  3. patman75

    patman75 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Chicken wire only stop chickens. Raccoons can easily rip of chicken wire.

    Use harware cloth or at least welded wire. With welded wire you run the risk of a chicken stickin its head out and getting decapitated or something reaching in and grabing chuncks of chickens.

    My tractor rests on the ground on the wood frame, I have chicken wire on the bottom to keep anything from digging under. The weight of the tractor helps trap the wire to the ground so predators can dig under or pull it off.
     
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Use chicken wire only if you want to keep your chickens in one place so the predators can get them all more easily. Seriously. They ought to call it "chicken death wire."

    If you don't want to use welded wire/hardware cloth on the bottom of your tractor (interferes with scratching), you could fashion an apron attached with hinges to the perimeter. You couldn't stake it down permanently, but you could weigh it down with rocks or blocks on the ends each time you move the tractor. I have something like this on my tractors, not so much for predator protection (since our suburban yard is fenced and I only use the tractors in the daytime), but to prevent our very small bantam chicks from slipping out from under the edge someplace where our lawn isn't quite level.
     
  5. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

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    An apron wire secured to the bottom of the frame so that it lays flat on the ground at least a foot wide will keep out the digging predators.

    You don't have to use my style of tractor as it's intended for ten birds or more but I'll show you what I mean.

    [​IMG]

    That particular wire is two feet wide in the front and that back and a foot wide down both sides. I'm using doubled over (two layers) one-inch poultry netting on that one. It works OK but there may be better wire. Welded wire breaks the welds too easily for this application. It's the only thing I use poultry wire for. The rest of the tractor is coverd in half-inch hardware cloth.

    My oldest tractor is going on four years old now and has yet to have a predator get inside. I have seven tractors now and move them every day.

    There are other tractor designs that are better suited to smaller numbers of birds. It's the apron wire around the bottom and using good wire all the way around that will keep the predators out.
     
  6. vermonster

    vermonster Out Of The Brooder

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    I second the call for a combination of
    - Hardware Cloth
    - Predator Guard Apron. Mine is 18" all around. I also lay board and/or rocks on the apron to keep it on the ground.

    [​IMG]

    Having a dog around helps, too, even if it spends the nights inside. My dog spends a lot of time hanging out around the tractor, checking out the birds. I suspect that her lingering scent is a big deterrent to predators.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. SunnyDayz

    SunnyDayz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A.T. Hagan :

    An apron wire secured to the bottom of the frame so that it lays flat on the ground at least a foot wide will keep out the digging predators.

    You don't have to use my style of tractor as it's intended for ten birds or more but I'll show you what I mean.

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3437/3216257345_93d6b63bcc.jpg

    That particular wire is two feet wide in the front and that back and a foot wide down both sides. I'm using doubled over (two layers) one-inch poultry netting on that one. It works OK but there may be better wire. Welded wire breaks the welds too easily for this application. It's the only thing I use poultry wire for. The rest of the tractor is coverd in half-inch hardware cloth.

    My oldest tractor is going on four years old now and has yet to have a predator get inside. I have seven tractors now and move them every day.

    There are other tractor designs that are better suited to smaller numbers of birds. It's the apron wire around the bottom and using good wire all the way around that will keep the predators out.

    What are the dimensions of your tractor? Are your birds in there all the time, or do they have an enclosed coop also?​
     
  8. chikchick

    chikchick New Egg

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    What do people recommend for the apron of a tractor?

    I see: double layer of chicken wire... what else are people using for their tractor aprons?

    I looked up "predator guard apron" and didn't get back any hits.

    Thanks!

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    Quoted from this thread:
    I second the call for a combination of
    - Hardware Cloth
    - Predator Guard Apron. Mine is 18" all around. I also lay board and/or rocks on the apron to keep it on the ground.
     
  9. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

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    Quote:The birds are in the tractor full time with roosts, nest boxes, feeders and drinkers all inside. The dimensions are dictated by the two 16ft cattle panels and my height. The panels are about 50 inches high so side by side as they are in the photo they make 100 inches. I want to be able to stand up inside the tractor so the hoops have to be at least six feet two inches high. The rest will follow from there.

    Unless you have a fair bit of body strength I recommend fitting them with wheels as this particular design is rather heavy. It does allow for at least ten hens per tractor though.

    As for the apron wire I've used welded wire and chicken wire. Both worked OK, but I think there is better to be found. Two inch no-climb horse wire I think would be perfect. It would have to be cut down from the usual four feet height it comes in which would give you two equal pieces from each length of fence.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2010
  10. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I use the same hardware cloth that I use for the rest of the tractor. I turn under the edges about an inch or so, then flatten it by standing on it. This helps avoid sharp edges.
     

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