Setting up the tractor for winter in a semi-permanent spot....bedding

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kathleengp, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. kathleengp

    kathleengp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2009
    We have portable tractors (an eglu and a cube from Omlet) that get moved every 2 days. But for winter, they will need to be set up to stay in one spot before the snow really settles in for the season.

    What should we use under them? I have heard large wood chips (like mulch) and to just rake it every so often. Is there anything else I should consider or is that the way to go?

  2. The Chicken People

    The Chicken People Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2009
    Smithville, Mo
    Will the run be dry?
    Dirt floor or wood?
  3. kathleengp

    kathleengp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2009
    the coop portion has a "floor" of plastic roost bars over a dropping pan, the attached run is outside with no bottom and wire top.....wondering what to put in that part when I can't move it to fresh grass every 2 days.

    I will likely cover the run wire with greenhouse film for the winter, so it will minimize, but not eliminate, rain and snow. The end will be left uncovered where the run door is for accessibility and fresh air.
  4. kcravey

    kcravey Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 10, 2009
    East Texas
    We dont get ANY snow here hardly ever, but I saw a cool picture just last night in a place with a TON of snow - they layed out hay to protect the hens feet in the run.
  5. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Do you have an outbuilding, garage, barn in which you could park your tractors?
    Or a sheltered place where they could be tarped and/or have a straw bale wall around 3 sides?
    That kind of thing? You have severe winters...
  6. kathleengp

    kathleengp Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2009
    Hadn't thought of that, but we could tarp and haybale the coop part....good idea!

    I was thinking greenhouse film on the run to try to harness some the natural warming light energy inside the run area....

    ISSOLA Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 6, 2008
    North Shore, MA
    I would recommend pine shavings below the roosting bars in the eglu coop. Change that every 2-4 weeks, depending on the number of chickens you have.

    For the "floor" of the run, I would recommend horse bedding wood pellets. I scoop the litter out every 3-4 weeks and replace with fresh wood pellets. After a rain, I loosen the wood pellets/poop mix. Also sprinkling scratch on the "ground" helps the chickens to dig and mix the "ground."

    If you use hay, it would work for a while, but later, you would get a "mound" of hay and poop. It is difficult to break up matted hay and remove them from coop when in a stationary position.

    The trick is to keep loosening the "ground" so that it does not build up into a hard tough condensed glob of you know what.

    Hope this helps....
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Best place to park the trailers (if 'inside an open-sided shed' isn't a possibility) would be right under a substantial roof overhang on the S side of a building, so they get shelter from snow/wind/cold and some degree of 'heat trap' effect. Drifting would occasionally be a problem but frankly outside Syracuse drifting will sometimes be a problem ANYwhere outdoors, so, [​IMG]

    The most important thing IMO is to set the tractors somewhere that will remain high and dry during thaws and snowmelt. Hopefully this is not your first year on that property and you know where the water does/doesn't flow or collect.

    Straw or coarse woodchips would be good bedding (or footing, or whatever it should be called in the run)... don't put down too much at first, you will be adding more on top as time goes by. It will transform almost instantly into a HORRIBLE STINKING HIDEOUS MESS when the thaw comes -- there is nothing you can do about this, I'm just warning you -- so you will want to be able to get in there and remove it as soon as possible once that happens. But that's just part of the deal, no way around it. Makes good compost [​IMG]

    I would be cautious with putting a tarp or whatever over the run-- I know the eglu run is fairly heavy-gauge but I can still envision without much trouble it collapsing in a couple feet of wet snow if it's got a solid top on.

    Good luck, have fun,

  9. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    Yes, DO move your tractors before the first snow! Mine is a heavy mini coop with attached run, but presently is NOT in it's winter place. We have been moving every 3 days since the grass was still green. Moved it last Friday and asked DH if we should move it to higher ground and park it. He thought we had time................Well the 1-2 inches of snow on Saturday turned into 8 and it snowed another 2 last night and now we are having heavy rain! It may snow Sat or Sun & again next WED!!!!!! Luckily they are not in the summer area that is a swamp now, but they are not where I planned them to be. DO NOT listen to the weather men, they know nothing! Good luck with your placement!

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