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Question about tractors and predators

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by littlelemon, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. littlelemon

    littlelemon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yesterday our neighbor bestowed us with a wonderful gift. He said he wasn't going to be using his chicken tractor anymore and brought it over for us! It is so timely as we are hatching some chicks this week and we needed somewhere to put them once they outgrew the brooder and before we put them in the coop with the grown-ups.

    Now, the tractor is in excellent condition, but I am worried about predators and I need some advice. Since my chicks will be in there I am going to need to make some improvements to make it safer for them. I will need to put some hardware cloth over the wire that is on there now as it is NOT safe for the chicks. I am also worried about predators getting underneath the tractor. For those of you with tractors, have you ever dealt with animals digging underneath it to get to the chickens inside at night? I do not have electric fencing and I do not want to have to get any. Also, I am thinking that the best thing for me to do is modify the "house" so that I can close it up at night. The way it is now the chickens can go in and out at anytime because there are two big holes cut out of the house on either side. I would feel safer with them locked away at night.

    Suggestions anyone? This is the first time with a tractor=
     
  2. willheveland

    willheveland Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have never had anything dig under one overnight.If you are worried about it,I would lay some wire fence like 1x2 down on the ground all the way around the coop so if they did try to dig under they would have to tunnel 3ft before getting in.Put a few rocks or cinderblocks to hold the wire down. Will
     
  3. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

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    Is there a way that you could attach a hardware cloth "skirt" along the bottom of the tractor? We did that when we modified our Chick-N-Barn last year and haven't had any problem with critters trying to dig into it (our Australian shepherd helps keep the preds run off, too).

    Hardware cloth skirt...

    [​IMG]

    Corner...

    [​IMG]

    We used 4" garden staples/stakes to hold the wire down to the ground...

    [​IMG]

    The skirt is a pain when we move the Barn so I just twisty-tie it up out of the way until it needs to be secured again.

    I hope this is some help!

    Dawn
     
  4. littlelemon

    littlelemon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Those are great ideas thank you!!!
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    What Dawn said about the skirt.

    I would *definitely* build latchable doors to close them into the house part every night.

    If you're worried about predators, I don't suppose by any chance that your regular run is large enough to put the tractor *in* it? Probably not but worth mentioning just in case - it would be the safest arrangement.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  6. littlelemon

    littlelemon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Dawn. My regular run is definitely large enough to put the tractor in, but I would prefer for it not to be in there. I like my children to have access to the chicks and we have a rooster in the run that I can't trust to be near my kids. Plus, my run is really just a big fenced yard(chain link), and it is definitely not predator proof. I lock my chickens up at night in their coop and I have never had a problem with predators during the day.
    Right now the tractor is near my garden and my hope is that once the chicks have moved out of it I can use the area that the tractor was sitting on to expand my garden. I'd hate all those droppings to go to waste [​IMG]
     
  7. mooman

    mooman Dirty Egg Eater

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    The skirt idea works, but even easier and less permanant solution, just set the tractor on top of a piece of hardware cloth that is a bit larger than the tractor. The wieght of the tractor will keep predators from getting between the bottom and the wire.
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    mooman, do you mean just a length of hardware cloth under each side of the tractor (which experience with doing that with part of mine suggests that a strong digging animal could pull it out - tho this will vary among tractors)? Or do you mean have hardware cloth under the *entire* area of the tractor, which would be kind of expensive plus prevent the chickens from scratching in the dirt which to me is a large part of the whole point of a tractor?

    Pat
     
  9. naturemom

    naturemom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine has a door that I close and lock at night. We have never had a predator problem so far. I wouldn't trust just the weight of the tractor on top of wire to keep everything out. I have some friends who had raccoons lift their (fairly large) tractor just high enough and pull the chickens out under it piece by piece.
     
  10. littlelemon

    littlelemon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here it is:

    [​IMG]

    It really only needs to be cleaned up and painted-isn't it great?!?!? I am over the moon!
     

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