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Questions about whether or not to build a tractor and advice on it...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by fmernyer, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. fmernyer

    fmernyer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 9, 2012
    CT
    So I'm thinking a chicken tractor for various reasons. I like that I don't have
    to change any bedding. I like that they can scrounge around and get some
    ticks/bugs and still be safe (although I want them to forage free, too). I like
    that they can scratch at and hopefully renew some grass in our yard (or not -
    we're doing fine killing it all by ourselves).

    SO NOW....I have to think about the plans...I'm not very handy and my husband is
    sorta handy but doesn't have a lot of time and I *refuse* to pay out of pocket
    for materials we can dig up in our yard or on craigslist...

    I'm thinking a simple A-frame design. But I have a few questions:

    1. I hear 2-3 sq ft per chicken inside and 4-5 sq ft outside...So should my
    tractor be at least 12 sq ft of covered space and 24 sq ft of outdoor space? (I
    have 6 chicks)

    2. I want to use it as a permanent coop. Am I crazy? Is this done? Should I
    alter the dimensions if its going to be their only home?

    3. How many nest boxes should I put in there for 6 chicks? Are 3 enough?

    4.Do they need to be fancy? I noticed the TSC had nest boxes that were little
    more than L shaped boxes but I know when we raised cockatiels they had a
    completely covered box. Are the L shaped boxes okay?

    5. Do I need to make the indoor space larger to accommodate the nest boxes or
    can they be included in the dimensions I mapped out? (perhaps using the high
    end of the dimensions = 18 sq ft for six birds?)

    or finally 6. Am I crazy for trying to build a tractor for 6 birds?? A conservative size would be 36 sq ft which is entirely too large for me to cart around (we don't actually have a *tractor* to drag it on a daily basis). In my situation should I just build a permanent coop and put up with the litter changes?


    Er. Am I missing anything?

    Either way - thanks for all the help!!!

    ~Dawn
     
  2. Scooter&Suzie

    Scooter&Suzie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 23, 2011
    Pennsylvania
    My answers are in green
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  3. Jaxon4141

    Jaxon4141 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 18, 2012
    Nebraska
    I have a system that is movable that my chickens stay in year round. It's not a tractor, more of a chicken tunnel. The only hard part in building one is the coop. I use 2"x4"x60" 12.5 gauge galvanized welded wire fencing. Each section is 5'x5'x2' and weigh about 45 pounds. Each section butts up to the next and are clipped together with fabric clips use for hanging curtains in greenhouses. I use my chickens to work over bed in my garden before I plant and after I'm done using a bed. When put together they look like this.
    [​IMG]
    The runs are very easy to make, taking about 45 minutes to put together using a wire cutter, some zip ties, and hog ring.
    This coop at the back will easily hold six chickens. The setup pictured here has five run units and one coop or about 175 sq. ft. of space. If this would work for you there are more pictures in my default photo album.
     
  4. applefalls

    applefalls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 25, 2009
    Cockeysville, MD
    [​IMG]
    We built an A frame tractor for our eight chickens. It turned out to be much heavier than we could easily pull around. For that reason, and because it has no protection from critters digging under it at night, we chose to keep the tractor inside a well-fenced garden plot. (see pic of when they first moved in)
    One part of our A frame opens like a door and we let the chickens into their fenced garden every morning, locking them back in the tractor at night.
    The tractor gets moved to a different section of the garden plot (usually only moved by a few feet this way or that way) every month or so.
    We have three of these fenced garden plots in our yard and grow vegetables in the two plots where the chickens are not housed. The tractor is always moved to a new garden plot after the last vegetables have been picked in the fall. Since it is so heavy, that move requires my husband and I both.

    The chickens always follow the squash garden, the squash garden follows the tomato garden, and the tomato garden follows the chickens in a circle or 'rotating crops'.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  5. Purdy

    Purdy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 4, 2011
    Sparta, Michigan
    I have built several chicken tractors
    Most of them are not as movable as on would think.
    wheels are always a problem go flat or sinking into the ground.
    I stop putting wheels on chicken tractors. I make the dragable
    the bigger chicken tractors I move with 2 or 3 inch PVC pipe
     
  6. applefalls

    applefalls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 25, 2009
    Cockeysville, MD
    How do you move the tractor with PVC pipe? I'm curious and I've love to find an easier way to move mine.
     
  7. Purdy

    Purdy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 4, 2011
    Sparta, Michigan
    Sorry it took me so long to get back to you.
    Anyway. I use 3 or 4 pieces of PVC pipe 2 , 2 1/2 or 3inch. Most of the coops I build are for resale as hobby builder.
    I build the coops in my garage and then move over 200ft until they are sold.
    The large coop are about 8ft wide and 14 or 18 foot long and i guess they weigh about 1000 + LBS.
    with two people moving the pipe and one pusher you can move just about any where.
    Do not cut the pipes, keep the 10 foot long so you will be able to steer it from left to right.
     

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