Shade cover and latch for hoop tractor

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by PatS, May 8, 2011.

  1. PatS

    PatS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2009
    Northern Califonia
    My hoop tractor is almost done. The base is 8 ft. long 2x4s. The hoop is made with metal electrical conduit. Whole thing is covered with1/2" hardware cloth. There is a gull wing door in the side (as opposed to the end) of the coop. I can drag it by myself, or if there is an extra set of hands it is a breeze to lift and move.

    NOW, what is the best material for shade/ rain protection. A shade cloth isn't water proof, and wouldn't just a tarp concentrate the heat? (In Cali we have HOT summers.) What do y'all use in warm areas?

    And suggestions for the latch--I'm open to brilliant ideas. We have a 6' fence around the property but occasionally a possum finds its way in. I haven't seen any coons since the fence went up, but that doesn't mean they aren't able to get in. I'm thinking a coon could figure out bungee cords? So maybe one or two of those locking hook and eyes? What do you do?


    Another question: Once the lil guys get used to the tractor, would they return to it at night if I decided to let them free range with my egg birds during the day? We will have too many with the meaties for everyone to go into the coop at night, which is why we are making the tractors. The meaties are red broilers and dark cornish, someone said the dozen dark cornish will need more room than an 8X8 tractor will afford them.

    Edited because apparently I am incapable of catching spelling mistakes before I hit "submit."
    Last edited: May 8, 2011
  2. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2010
    I have both shadecloth and tarp (shadecloth is underneath). Not much heavier than tarp alone, and beats the rain. [​IMG]

    However it can still get too hot in full sun, so I keep the tractor near some trees. If it gets even hotter I usually chuck a few palm fronds on top — anything pruned in the garden can be a useful temporary roof. Just lay them on top. I've never had birds get too heat stressed when I've put tree loppings over them.

    For the door I use a hook and eye — made out of an offcut of fence wire. One top and bottom is enough for me. Ramshackle but works. However we don't have any really big or determined predators.

  3. RareBreedFancier

    RareBreedFancier Surrounded by Broodies

    Nov 5, 2010
    Australia :)
    Hi, gets very hot here in summer too. I'm planing on using 90% shade cloth on the roof and only adding the tarp when rain is forecast. I'm home pretty much all the time so this isn't inconvenient for me.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by