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Stationary coop or tractor?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kitkat6, Sep 13, 2014.

  1. kitkat6

    kitkat6 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 10, 2014
    Hi all! I'm struggling with how to start building a home for the chickens we were just approved to have. Here's some background info:

    We live in town on .27 acres, fenced in but I think the chickens could fit through our white vinyl fencing.

    I'm in PA so we do get quite a bit of snow but the temps rarely drop below 0.

    I'll be starting with four or five chicks come spring and will have their brooder in our basement, so I have plenty of time to make our coop come spring.

    I have six indoor cats, four little girls and a husband to take care of, plus I work full time so whatever design I go with I need it to be as easy as possible.

    The reason I was thinking of going with a tractor was so I could move it around the yard and not end up with just a dirt run for the girls. They'll be able to be out most of the afternoon after work, but they will spend quite a bit of time in their tractor/coop.

    Any and all thoughts would be great! I've looked over everyone's fabulous coop and tractor designs and while I LOVE the idea of a permanent coop, I just think I may need to go with a larger (6x8) tractor for our needs.

    Thanks!
     
  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member

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    If preservation of your lawn in your yard is an issue, then I really don't think your yard will hold up to a tractor coop. You will be surprised at how quickly they can kill the grass…not by eating it but scratching the roots. And they poop more than I had imagined, and that can kill grass as well. I think, people who seem most successful with this have larger yards or farms where they have acres to move them around.

    Unless you get bantams, chickens get quite large and a tractor that would house 4-5 would be quite heavy to move around.

    With the size of your lot, I would look at the all in one coop with run examples. Likely will cost about the same as a tractor large enough for your flock.

    If you select breeds that fair well in confinement and avoid the flighty ones they would be happy in whatever you select.

    The fence may not be an issue with supervised ranging, but if it is, then you could consider adding netting or wire to the inside of your fence. Don't have a link for you, but have seen some do this and it can be almost invisible not to effect the look of your fence.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I agree. They do poop a lot. That’s why you need to move a tractor regularly. Don’t think of a week, think of every two or three days, especially if the weather sets in wet. They can start stinking pretty fast, especially in wet weather. In dry weather they can last longer before a move. It depends on your weather, type of soil and turf, and chicken density.

    They will quickly wipe out the grass inside the tractor. They won’t necessarily kill it if you move it regularly and the chicken manure will fertilize it so you can have bare patches where it was recently and bright green patches where it was a while back. Not exactly what I’d call lawn preservation.

    Think how you would move it in the winter with snow on the ground. Do you ever go on vacation for more than a few days? So you ever get sick? Who will move it for you?

    They can get heavy very fast, especially when you start adding nests and protected roost areas for winter. A summer tractor can be a lot lighter.

    Many people use tractors and really like them. I used one during one summer and it wasn’t all that bad. But when the weather turned they were in a permanent coop. From your time management, I think a permanent fixed coop is where you should start.
     

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