Is there such a thing as a coopless tractor, hand movable? If so, how does one get birds in and out of the coop? I'm thinking that it would be nice to have the birds in various places during the summer.
We keep one. We haven't finished it yet but have been using it for weeks. We move it to a different spot each morning.
It is lightweight enough that i can move it alone by simply moving one side and then the other. We have a wire cage that our hen has been sleeping in until the coop is finished. We place it under the drop door of the tractor and she runs into it. At night same routine in reverse. Once the permanent coop in in place, we are planning to build a small lightweight enclosed space that will attach to the tractor right below the open door. That is how we will be moving the birds from one area to another and will also give them a nice safe space to lay during the day.
It is really nice knowing that the chickens are safe but still have a fresh clean patch of earth to scratch around on.
I'm sure it could be done, you'd still want to provide some protection from the elements though. You could build either a walkway into the coop that you can attach the run to, or something so similar, you can get the birds in at night.
People on this forum tend to call them "mobile pens" or "day tractors", you could try doing a search on those terms.
Many people have them.
Basically, people with just 2-3 chickens sometimes hand-carry the birds to the tractor (either in hand or in a pet carrier or etc); people with more birds usually wheel the day tractor up to the coop or run, "dock" open doors together, shoo the birds in (they will figure it out real quick!), then move the day tractor to its intended site while the birds walk along inside.
Make sure you have shade, feed/water, and a nestbox in the mobile pen.
I have two separate daytime tractors. They work great! I also have two stationary coops with attached runs.
Chickens do learn quickly what you want them to do, and it's not hard at all once they get the hang of it to move them from pen to pen. Now that I have chicks to herd, I use a rake in one hand and a handled pan in the other hand to guide them:
Yes, I use my dog's old puppy exercise pen. I hook up a water bottle for them on the side and use a piece of plastic trellis on top for shade/prevent them from flying out. I only do this when I am home though, in case of predators. I will either carry them by hand to the pen, or I have it outside their coop door, they run in, I lock the door and then drag the cage over the lawn, calling "chook, chook, chook," and they run behind me. They caught on really fast what I wanted them to do. also, Usually give them a treat or some scratch when they are in the pen, so they will till the garden faster, lol.