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Question for those of you w/chicken tractors...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ChickMami, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. ChickMami

    ChickMami Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 10, 2014
    How frequently will I need to move the tractor in order to keep my grass alive? And will allowing them to free range cause it to die in places? I really am wondering......I plan to get 4 hens to start and haven't pinned down the size of the tractor as of yet...Any and all input is appreciated :)
     
  2. DStewart PDX

    DStewart PDX Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 25, 2013
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    I started with a tractor years ago and no longer use one. I got one so the chickens would kill all the grass, eat all the bugs, and poop. Then I could move the tractor, let the bare patch sit for a bit, dig and plant with vegetables. It worked pretty well. I can tell you, if you *don't* want your chickens to kill your grass, you will have to move your tractor pretty frequently. Daily is the best, but you may be able to go for a few days. Depends on whether you are willing to let your grass get a bit ratty or if you want it to look really nice. I had a small tractor, 3x4x3, that I made out of 2x2s, and it was heavy. I could move it by myself, but it was not easy. I've since moved to a free range method. The coop is fixed, and the hens range all day. This is much less hard on the grass, so no patches die. But, you can't grow anything you don't want them to get without fencing it, such as vegetables or flowers, and their poop gets everywhere and you will step in it.
     
  3. ChickMami

    ChickMami Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks! Yeah - I'm not a total stickler about the grass, but I'd like to reasonably maintain it. I totally could deal w/moving it frequently if I can manage to make one that is movable in terms of weight :/ I'm afraid that w/the size I'd like (big) I won't be able to construct one that I can move....so I'll have to think about the design some more. Thanks for the info! I'd love to free range but all of my neighbors have huge dogs (one neighbor has 3 huge dogs) and I don't want to take a chance. My yard is a good size though so that's why I'd like a tractor to utilize all the grass that is out back. Hmmmm...back to thinkin' lol :))
     
  4. ChickMami

    ChickMami Out Of The Brooder

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    Why was it so heavy? I would think one that size would be easy to move....were the wheels small on it?
     
  5. bluefrog87

    bluefrog87 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dallas, Tx
    Roughly every 2-3 days. It also helps helps with light digging predators and chicken sanitation.

    Wheels are area dependent. I use skids, wheels get stuck where I am
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014
  6. ChickMami

    ChickMami Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for your input :) I could most definitely handle that !
     
  7. DStewart PDX

    DStewart PDX Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 25, 2013
    Portland, Oregon
    Something to remember about chicken tractors is they are open on the bottom. If you set your wheels high enough to make the tractor easy to move, you will create a gap underneath that makes it easier for predators to get into the tractor. I set mine low to minimize the gap. I didn't have them at the front edge, though, the wheels were a few inches back from the front edge. That, combined with the tractor being low on the wheels, meant that I could lift the back end only just barely in order to clear the ground. I used lawnmower wheels, which do not pivot. My yard was also mostly clumps of crabgrass, so it was extremely lumpy. Moving that tractor was a pain in my butt.

    On top of that, predation and rats were a problem. Sine the tractor has no floor, a predator can just get its little hands under the edge and pull out the chickens. I lost a ton of chickens my first year. I kept getting more chicks to try again. I still get anxious those first few days of transitioning chicks outside. I ended up putting a floor on the tractor, which takes away all the advantages of a tractor, and makes it hell to keep clean.

    I am so much happier with a free standing, fixed coop. It is a fortress that is easy to clean. The girls go out during the day and are safe and secure at night. Good luck!
     
  8. bluefrog87

    bluefrog87 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dallas, Tx
    This is another reason why I like skids. There isn't a gap. Squirrels and dogs are my top 2. I have a problem with squirrels getting in my home (mostly my attic).

    I would try an apron before a floor. An apron wraps around and the coop making it harder to dig around the coop but the floor is still open
     
  9. yogifink

    yogifink Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 16, 2013
    Pinebluff, nc
    My Coop
    How frequently you more your tractor would depend on a few things: how active is your flock and how big is the tractor. Our meaties don't scratch that much and dont really tear up the grass, but the hens will do a number in just a few short hours because our tractor is only 4x4.
     
  10. DStewart PDX

    DStewart PDX Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 25, 2013
    Portland, Oregon
    I could never have moved my tractor by myself with skids. The yard was way too lumpy.
     

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