Started my chicken tractor today

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by LoupGarou, May 4, 2009.

  1. LoupGarou

    LoupGarou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 15, 2008
    One of my friend gave me a slightly rusted 36" dog exercise pen to use however I saw fit. Normally, I don't use exercise pens for my dogs when I travel, but I thought I could use it to frame a decent chicken tractor. this particular pen has eight metal panels that measure 2 feet by 3 feet, connected by metal hinges to form one long panel that can be placed in various shapes (often placed as a hexagon). I decided to make my tractor 2 feet wide by 6 feet long.

    Today I purchased one 10 foot role of 1/2 inch hardware cloth, a 25 foot role of chicken wire, and a can of RustOleum paint, along with a bag of 100 8 inch zip ties, a couple of S hooks, and a few fasteners for the door. I connected the wire today. Tomorrow I'll trim the ties, paint the entire thing, and place it where I want it--not sure where that is yet and secure it with something like tent spikes. I think that the chickchicks can go in there tomorrow, as long as it seems secure, but I'm thinking of leaving the dog crate for them until I can make something as an alternative. So far I'm pretty happy with it, but I'm already thinking of something a bit more permanent made of either PVC or wood. I think I can do this! [​IMG]
     
  2. spook

    spook Chillin' With My Peeps

    most certainly you can accomplish this. I need to get photos of the tractor I just built, I'm pretty proud, so if I can do it, you can too.
    Can't wait to see your pics when you get it done!!!! Kel
     
  3. Omran

    Omran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    Ofcourse you can do it, if I can do it anybody can do it
    If you can drive a nail you can do it. [​IMG] just watch your nails, I learned my lesson thogh [​IMG]
     
  4. EricShane

    EricShane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2009
    SouthWestern Ohio
    I need to be doing this!
     
  5. LoupGarou

    LoupGarou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 15, 2008
    Thanks for the encouragement everyone! I'm already thinking of ways to improve and expand the tractor, so that it will turn into a permanent home for my bantam chickens (about 6 or so). I would like to add lattice to the top of the tractor, lined with more chicken wire, probably making a house along the entire length of the coop roof. (I might reduce this to 4 feet, which will be half the length of the expanded run). I'll probably end up putting this on PVC "runners, in part to make it easier to move, but also to stabilize the bottom to accommodate the added weight above. One end of the coop will open to allow access to the nest box(es). I'm in an area with pretty temperate winters and very hot summers, so I'm thinking that lattice will be fine if covered with a tarp in the winter. I do have a few questions, though (which will probably develop into more as time goes on):

    1) Should the "coop" part have a solid bottom or can it be hardware cloth? I suspect that most of the time that birds are in the coop, all of them will be there (night, rain), but would it hurt for poop to fall through?

    2) Will the light coming in through the lattice be sufficient for hens to lay, or should I provide a "skylight" too? I'm planning to provide some artificial light for when the days get shorter.

    3) How many roosts should I provide for six bantams? At least two of them (maybe three) will be silkies.

    4) How many nest boxes should I provide for six bantams? Would two be enough or too many?

    5) What is the best way to secure a door for this kind of tractor? There is just wire, no hooks or areas upon which I can attach hardware.

    Thanks for any suggestions that people can offer!
     
  6. LoupGarou

    LoupGarou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 15, 2008
    Any feedback, please?
     
  7. EricShane

    EricShane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2009
    SouthWestern Ohio
    well.. I wouldnt put a "floor" in it.. so they can scratch in the dirt and grass..
     
  8. LoupGarou

    LoupGarou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 15, 2008
    No, the bottom of the tractor itself would either be open or have chicken wire across it to deter something from digging into it. The "floor" would be for the coop part above the wire tractor part. (It would basically be like a double-decker bus, if that makes any sense.)
     
  9. EricShane

    EricShane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2009
    SouthWestern Ohio
    Quote:oh lol okay i get it
     
  10. tdgill

    tdgill Chillin' With My Peeps

    a second story coop you mean? I hadn't planned on that either. just kinda like close one end up was what i was gonna do
     

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