Predator-proofing the chicken tractor

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Annichka, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. Annichka

    Annichka Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 27, 2008
    I'm building a tractor just for them to run around in the yard with, since I'm afraid to let them out free because of the potentially-testy neighbors. There can be no possibility of them getting into another yard (in addition to dogs in the other yards being a problem). We have a dog who's pretty laid-back; I'm not too worried about him with the birds. There are neighborhood cats, however. We live near Portland, OR, so not many other daytime predators. They'll be in their coop in the garage at night and won't often be unsupervised even in their tractor.

    However - I really want it to be at the very least cat-proof, and should some neighbor dog somehow get into our yard (really not much danger of this), I'd really like it to stand up to heavier assaults. So, I think two things must be important: tip-proofness, and strength against battering by large mammals.

    As it stands now, for temporarily housing 4 hens, the tractor is 6x3x3, and I haven't decided what construction for the roof. Seems like a sloped roof would be stronger than a flat one as well as less predator-accessible (harder to stand on).

    Suggestions?
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2008
  2. Whirlwind

    Whirlwind Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    Tuttle, Oklahoma
    Here is a pic of my chicken stroller that DH helped me build with stuff we had laying around. Now I have a piece of old tin over part of the top in case of rain. We used the handle and wheels off an old mower to make it easier to move around. They seem to need moved a couple times a day and I only have 3 hens. We used 1/2 inch welded wire we had left over after building the coop. A board slides down on one end for the door. Very simple. I think this is 4' x 8' x 2'. Never had anything get in it yet. I have also had 2 batches of babies grow up in here and locked them up in a pet carrier at night.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. NorTracNY

    NorTracNY Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 1, 2008
    Macedon, NY
    I don't think you have too much to worry about in terms of a tractor tipping over. Go 4' wide if you really have concerns. If you are using 2X4s then the weight would be plenty. I'd make the height based upon whatever hardware cloth you buy. You don't want to have to cut more than you have to. I think csquinn has shown a great tractor. I would bother with a roof. Maybe some temporary top just to stop the rain.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    A sloped top will be more expensive and heavier, and unless REALLY sloped will not prevent things from getting up on top anyhow. So since this is just a daytime 'recreational' tractor (I gather?) and you have the coop and run for bad weather, I would just make a strong small-mesh wire roof. You can flop a piece of plywood on it on rainy days, or just keep the chickens in the coop/run on those days.

    I would not be TOO sure a dog couldn't flip a 3' wide tractor. A couple cinderblocks on the frame edges might help. Making it wider might help too.

    I really like the above-pictured design (it probably doesn't *all* need to be 2" lumber, though - much could be 1", which would be lighter and maybe help you make it larger). LOVE the lawnmower handle [​IMG]

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2008
  5. Agilityscots

    Agilityscots Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2007
    Central Ohio
    I LOVE that cute little chicken stroller! (and that name, too) I've been itching to make something to schlep them around the yard in, and I'm sure my DH could build something like that for me. It looks light and cheap. I'm desperate to get my girls out of their run so they can eat more greens and Japanese beetles.

    Amy
     

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