So, if I build a 4x10' chicken tractor, add eight pullets . . .

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MistyK, Apr 25, 2007.

  1. MistyK

    MistyK Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 17, 2007
    put it out in my yard and move it daily, will I basically just wind up with bare patches wherever it's been? We still have the babies in their box but I need to build something soon. I liked the chicken tractor idea but after reading the book, I'm *more* confused. Somehow, I was picturing the tractor going over my plants in the garden. Didn't think about the manure needing to "cool off" so to speak. I don't want to build a permanent run if it will be all mud and flies and immovable 2 weeks from now! What other options are there????
    Thanks!
    Misty
     
  2. MistyK

    MistyK Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 17, 2007
    Mmmm, you all are worrying me! Do I not want to know the answer to this question??? [​IMG]
     
  3. CindyJean

    CindyJean Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 12, 2007
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    My assessment of the situation is that there are no other options, except to let them free-range, which in my book means "put them out for the local predators' dinner". It is OK to have a stationary pen -I toss hay on the floor and throw in weeds, kitchen scraps or garden vegetables every day with their store-bought feed. They seem happy. I also have a chicken tractor and don't move it as often as I thought I would. Also, with a tractor - don't predators dig under? I've yet to have it happen, but the potential is there. By the way, even if the manure were not "hot", the chickens would eat down your plants - and they will do that - down to bare earth if the tractor isn't moved frequently.
    As to flies - I don't think that will be a problem - the chickens will take care of that in a hurry.
     
  4. Newchickenmom&kids

    Newchickenmom&kids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2007
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    Well....don't know if this will help but.....

    I have five chickens in my tractor and i don't move it daily...have even left it for a week or so. With five I don't get bare patches at all! I can't see it would be that much more different with three more. I move it whenever I feel like it and have been moving it often lately just because...mowing etc.... In my situation...when they were smaller I left them in the tractor by the garage and covered them with a tarp while it was pretty cold at night and some days. They were there for a while and ground got bare...no grass at all...just matted down bedding, straw etc... but being near the garage....for where I live...provided them with a much needed wind break. When it got warmer...we moved it...raked up everything...put it over the garden and threw down some grass seed. This winter....I personally do not plan to move the tractor...I'm a big baby when it comes to cold!!It will be stationary next to my shed...the ground in that area is no big deal to me and it will provide them with a good wind break away from the house so I don't have that bare patch up close to the house.
     
  5. MistyK

    MistyK Out Of The Brooder

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    This was very helpful! And we actually were looking at building a coop very similar to the one you built. Did you keep any sort of materials list? How long have you had your chickens in this coop? It looks like all one would really have to clean with a tractor like yours is the nest area; is that correct? Are you using both ends as nesting areas? I think I need 2 nesting boxes since we have eight pullets (but I'm not exactly sure--correct me if I'm wrong). This is all very helpful
     
  6. Newchickenmom&kids

    Newchickenmom&kids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes...that is correct about cleanup...just the nesting boxes. As far as materials...we used 1"x4"x8', furring strips, the wire is a steel mesh either 1/4" or 1/2", I think the roost is a 2"x2"pine, wood screws, hinges, some corner reinforcers, handles. For the top we bought an aluminum roofing cap and cut it down....oh and we used u-nails for the steel mesh. We did use some scrap plywood for the bottom of the nests (which btw there are two...one on each end with roost in the middle....should be plenty for 8 birds) and we also used scraps for the walkway. We attached the walkway with a hinge and put a hook and eye on the end so we can hook is up to make moving easier. The only thing I would change would be to make the nesting boxes a little bigger....we're going to wait and see how they work..they may be fine. If not we can drop them down some. Also I would make both ends to open...I thought one would be fine but now will be opening up the other. I will probably also be bringing the edge of the roof line down on one end to provide a little 'cubby'...I don't know...they seem to be happy going up to roost on and off all day...but may be hot up there this summer.
     
  7. MistyK

    MistyK Out Of The Brooder

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    That's great! And you said you have them in there most of the time, right? I was confused as to whether we still needed a real HOUSE--a totally enclosed coop, I mean--or whether the tractor's nesting boxes and roosting areas would be adequate? Also, any idea how much you spent? Thanks so much!
     
  8. Newchickenmom&kids

    Newchickenmom&kids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well...not having a truck I had to pay $65 just for delivery!!! If not for that it was approx $100 when all was said and done...maybe less. I was determined to do it so didn't pay too much attention. I have the figures at home...if you want a more exact price idea...let me know....we got lumber from Menards.
    Yes they are there all the time except in the late afternoon when I get home..if we have nothing going on we let them out for a little while. They are doing really well!! Now because we live in Illinois this winter will put it by the shed...probably cover it with tarp and open up during the day... may put heat lamp in...will have to see how bad the weather is and how well they do...we now have the nesting boxes blocked off 'cause all they did was stay in there at night (not a good idea--want them only for nesting)also...roosting keeps them warmer too!
     

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