Square ft. chicken tractor question.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by tenthingsfarm, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. tenthingsfarm

    tenthingsfarm Out Of The Brooder

    30
    0
    22
    Mar 2, 2008
    Hello, All,

    I'm planning to set up multiple small 'flock-lets' of chickens, each having 4 hens and a rooster. For just five birds, how much outdoor and indoor square footage do you think I'd need? The hens will be white rocks and the roos are white laced red cornish - so good sized birds once they're full grown.

    I'd like to keep the tractors small enough that I can move them by myself. However, if the white rocks are brood on their own, I'd like to let them raise their chicks, rather than incubate and start yet another tractor. Also...if I lose a rooster, I'd probably split those hens amongst the other two...so maybe I should be figuring for a total of 7 birds in a tractor - I'd rather have it a little too big than a little too small. I'm pretty strong, and if I can't move them by hand, I have a small garden tractor if push comes to shove (pun, hee).

    I have a permanent coop that everyone can fit in for winter. I cold also use it exclusively for hens with chicks in the warm months. Don't know if that matters or not.

    Your suggestions, thoughts and experience are most appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. Cheryl

    Cheryl Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think everyone here will tell you one rooster for about 8 hens...or else you're going to have some hurtin ladies!
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    85
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Other people who've done this can tell you better than I can, but I have to say that the concept of trying to have a broody raise chicks in a tractor with 3 other hens and a roo does NOT sound real plausible to me if you want actual live chicks out of the project.

    As far as your basic question about space, it's not really any different for a tractor than for a permanent coop. They need at absolute least 2 sq ft per bird (preferably more like 4, especially if you get hot or cold or rainy weather or if you will shut them in the shelter portion at night) of indoor space; and something like 6-10 sq ft per bird in the rest of the tractor. You try to pack 'em in more than that and you're going to have much more chance of running into problems with picking, cannibalism, poor health, etcetera.

    Others may have good suggestions for you, as I kinda suspect there is probably a better way of going about that kind of a project.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  4. tenthingsfarm

    tenthingsfarm Out Of The Brooder

    30
    0
    22
    Mar 2, 2008
    Thanks for the replies. Ultimately, I want to be down to 2 roosters anyway, with about 6 hens apiece. So maybe I'll narrow my choices sooner rather than later. Also, my pullets got backordered, so I can up the quantity on the white rocks if I want to.

    I wasn't sure if the square footages were the same for tractored chickens - because of the new pasture every day or two. I want them to have plenty of space - crowding just isn't necessary in our situation.

    As for hens with chicks, I can easily move them to the henhouse/chicken run, away from the rest of the flock.

    More input is greatly appreciated - thanks!
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    85
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Yeah, they are, because it's a matter of how much space the chickens need to feel relatively happy and unstressed not a matter of grazing rates.

    You will see (especially British) tractor advertisements that claim you can have like ten hens in a 4x6 tractor or something like that, BUT to the extent that's reasonable rather than being a backyard version of factory-farming, it's based on the chickens being free-ranging all day every day and only using the tractor to sleep in at night.

    Have fun,

    Pat
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by