This might be obvious, but... RE: Tractors and Predator Proofing

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Mallory, May 2, 2011.

  1. Mallory

    Mallory Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 19, 2011
    Walbridge, Ohio
    This might be obvious, but is there any way to secure a chicken tractor from predators digging under it? I see lots of stationary coops have hardware cloth down into the ground, but that's not an option here.

    The only thing I can think of is it completely wrap the entire run in hardware cloth. "Floor" included. But I can't imagine that would be very nice to walk on...
  2. hennyannie

    hennyannie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2011
    North Carolina
    I have seen some with slightly larger wire in the bottom, so that they can eat some but predators could not easily get through.
  3. crossgirl

    crossgirl Day Dream Believer

    Mar 15, 2011
    Lakeland, FL
    I have a hardware cloth apron going around mine.
  4. swatskee

    swatskee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 19, 2011
    Cleveland, OH
    Here's the bottom section of my run


    4' x 8' Layout
    2 8' treated landscape boards ($1.97/ea at HD)
    16' of 1/4" hardware cloth ($30 for 25' roll at HD)
    Galvanized tacks ($2.97)
  5. ladysfield

    ladysfield Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 14, 2011
    I just built a chicken tractor whose base is a discarded gate.

    A 16' cattle panel cut into sections forms the sides, top and front door of an open air portion. The housing portion is scrap 3/4" exterior plywood. The plywood house is screwed to the cattle panel sections. The whole thing sits on top of an old gate constructed of welded pipe and 4 x 4 cattle panel. A small portion of pipe in the gate had rusted out on one side. I turned the rusted side to the ground. No predator aside from a bear?! could tear through this gate used as a bottom. If we had weasels in the area, I might be concerned they would be slender enough to slip through the bottom when the ground was uneven. I did line the top and sides with chicken wire to keep small birds in and stop our host of local predators from reaching through: raccoons, skunks, possums, dogs, foxes, bobcats, hawks, coyotes, etc.

    The round pipes on the gate ride more easily across rough ground when we drag it to a fresh area than square material would. When the gate was laid rusted side down, the side facing up had a sliding bolt welded on for a latch which stuck up. I didn't want the birds to injure themselves on this bolt. I didn't have a way to cut this bolt off, so I divided the housing portion of the tractor into two equal sections by sandwiching the bolt between two pieces of scrap plywood. With the bolt encased, it was no longer a hazard.

    Another plus of utilizing a gate were the welded loops at one end for the L hinges to hook on. When the chicken tractor needs to move, I pass a round tow rope through the loops and knot the rope around a heavy S hook. The S hook neatly drops through a hole on the tow plate of the lawn tractor and off we go.

    A third benefit - the pooh drops through. What little manure may be clinging is shaken loose by the ride to a new location.

    Because it is mixed housing for chickens and a pair of geese, house division worked well since the geese want their own sleeping space and drive out any chickens who try to roost with them.

    My husband joked I was making the chicken tractor so strong it could double as a bobcat cage, but I've had too many losses over the years, mostly from coyotes.

    As for the unpleasant walking surface, that problem is solved another way. The chickens have little problem navigating the 4 x 4 inch wire mesh but the geese flounder. Each time the tractor is moved, I dump a fresh bag of last fall's leaves into the housing. Viola! Cushy flooring which becomes fertilized litter for my compost heap.
  6. Snegurochka

    Snegurochka Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 7, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    My tractor/retirement home has 2X4 welded wire and chicken wire double-layered on the bottom. Since my hen sleeps in it, she has a modified plastic dog house with a door/ramp on the front, and most of the time she sits on the threshhold of the doghouse. She is 8 years old so she doesn't walk around much, but it doesn't look like the wire floor bothers her.
  7. Mallory

    Mallory Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 19, 2011
    Walbridge, Ohio
    Thanks for the replies!

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