Things we would do different.


May 15, 2015
I finally just built a larger tractor for our layers, I had done a small one first to kind of get a feel and learn some lesson. Well I learned more lessons on the second. New run is roughly 5x10x4ft high, coop is actually a separate piece and the adjoining wall is plywood, there is a hinged door on the run to block the coop and the coop has a drop door, so I can lock them in either when I separate to move
Almost immediately after building the larger tractor I regretted doing an inset door, for my access to the run. The first time I moved it from the garage the natural unevenness of the yard lightly bound up the door when the opening went out of square. I might go back and do a door that rests against the surface, that wouldn't be affected by the tractor frame twisting on uneven ground.

I just put the chickens in the new tractor today and just let them have free run of the whole thing, in hindsight I should have locked them in the coop at least overnight. I went out just after dark to find them in a pile in the run, so I had to go in to move them to the coop, well I didn't have a way to latch the door from inside. Found a bungy cord and managed, but tomorrow I will put a latch on the inside.

Sofar I would say use surface mount doors they are more forgiving.
If the coop or run are large enough for you to enter make sure you have a way to keep the door closed behind you.
It is easy as a well placed screw but I also ran screws in next to the latches to hang the carabiner clips on when I am working with the door open. On the small tractor I always held onto them or set them down, dropped them etc. one time even failed to latch a door and had some escapees. with the clips hanging next to the latch I don't have to hang onto them and they are hard to forget to put on. I have real racoon concerns, hence carabiner clips on lockable latches.

I know some of that is simple and little but I would rather have done it first than stress out the hens with drills and screw guns while they are in the coop I am working on.

Oh one more lesson I learned from the small tractor. Make them so you can do everything from 1 or 2 sides. I had the drop rood to the coop on the opposite side from my access door to the run and what that meant was when I moved the tractor and them went around the other side to reopen the drop door, I either had to move the coop an extra couple feet or walk in poop.
Doesn't someone else have a detail they would like to share about something they would do differently, aside from the ever popular "should have gone bigger". I am already wishing I had gone bigger on the coop. Rough run dimensions are 5x10x4ft tall coop is roughly 4x5 because I was thinking of attaching it to the run to move as one piece and that would have attached easily but I decided too big to move and made the separate. The tarp is to the prevailing wind, the roof corrogated lexan roofing and lets lots of light in. Think I am going to put a bunch of shavings in, in the next few days to keep them off the garden mud. Will let them have a few days to scratch first.

Wish I had put a lexan roof on the run and pitched it. I want to put a roost or two in the run as well.

Last edited:
Right now, I'm wishing I had prepped the ground better for better drainage. My breeding pens themselves are good, but the area draws water and I'm fighting having birds standing in wet. I would also use a heavier duty tarp for the roof, or use metal roofing in the first place.

My next pens will probably start with a base of decomposed granite. We have it in our horse paddock and it's helped manage the mud quite nicely.

I'll also probably go with a different door latch than the simple hook and eye we're using. With the wood getting wet and swelling, it's making it problematic to latch and unlatch the doors.
I would have like to have made first coop say at least a foot or possibly 18 inches of the ground.... cause I believe mice are prob living under it..... oh also not used old fence boards
I know they were under the floor pallet on the topper shelter... so took out the pallet and put down patio blocks then the big rubber mat(former garage floor mat)
mice also are in the 2nd gated run.. took out that pallet to and did patio blocks under the "dog animal shelter"
Something else---we utilized the 4 foot space between the two hoop pens to make another smaller pen. it's a good idea in theory, but 4 feet is too small. Not for the birds, for me cleaning it! There's not enough room to turn around with a loaded pitchfork without spilling the contents all over the place
. It was all the space we had in the current location, but if we do the same thing again it will be a minimum of 6 feet.
Today I adjusted the windbreak tarp calling for 25-35sustained winds with gusts to 50mph and put some 2x4s on top to create pitch. Scattered bedding shavings around and in run to cope with mud from unseasonably warm temps.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom