Thoughts on my chicken tractor......

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jimbob86, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. jimbob86

    jimbob86 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 7, 2015
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    My Coop
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    Chickens Tractored! This was inspired by BirdsinBethel's tractor, but was heavily modified- made much heavier (2x4 framing on first level), larger (roof is a bit over 4x8 in area, footprint of run underneath is 4x10) and more waterproof (we had a 4+inch downpour last night and the upstairs was dry as a bone this morning). It's home to 9 Buff Orp pullets right now, debating whether to donate 1 to my dad...... they are supposed to get to 8+lbs apiece ..... might get crowded in winter..... it is a bit on the heavy side ..... but the wheel system gives a leverage advantage ..... and with the wheelbarrow wheels with greased axles I used, it is not to difficult to move 10 feet every morning....... I need to figure a way to raise the "handlebars" about 8 inches or so....... and a I need a ground level door to shoo the birds into when I want them back in after letting them out to free range ...... they are easy enough to pick up, but it would be a whole lot easier if they'd put themselves back in........ I also need to add 2 nest boxes on the forward end...... but I've got a couple of weeks to get that done yet, I think. Thoughts?


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    My House! Let me Show You It........

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    Door propped open ...... note tiny baby Orps....



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    A shot showing the framing and layout.
     
    2 people like this.
  2. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    Very nice!
     
  3. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Love the gambrel roofline. You're in Nebraska, right? Winters will be pretty harsh and won't allow for free ranging. I'd give 4 of your birds to your dad. The remaining 5 will appreciate the extra room. I have Buffs and Barred Rocks, both big breeds. Buffs are pretty docile but keeping 9 of them in a 4'x10' space is still asking for behavior issues due to overcrowding.
     
  4. jimbob86

    jimbob86 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Winters can be harsh, or they can be downright mild....... very variable...... I don't free range them now (too many feral cats!)- just move the tractor 10 feet each morning ...... and have not had any issues since moving them out of their brooder box.

    ....and dad is having problems with his chickens...... neighbors complaining about his roo crowing....
     
  5. jimbob86

    jimbob86 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 7, 2015
    Nebraska
    My Coop
    So .... after reading much on this site, it seems ventilation is stressed quite a bit ...... right now, it's a non-issue, with the two large screens in the floor ....... but I was planning on closing those up this winter, and putting in 3-5" of straw ....... are the two 4"x8" windows on each end sufficient?
     
  6. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think those two windows are enough for the size coop you have but not enough for the number of birds you are keeping in it. If you give away four of your birds there will be less ammonia and moisture produced and you can close up your floor screens without worry. I know I probably sound like a broken record, but 9 birds produce a lot of poop and the odor will build up. Your coop is small.

    Unfortunately, I don't see where you can add more ventilation without it blowing in at bird level. It looks like you're better off leaving one of the floor screens open or cover it but make it adjustable so you can regulate the air flow as needed.
     
  7. jimbob86

    jimbob86 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 7, 2015
    Nebraska
    My Coop
    Anybody have any idea where to procure/how to make a tin cupola to make a vent in the center?
     
  8. jimbob86

    jimbob86 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 7, 2015
    Nebraska
    My Coop
    Trophy Wife sez that with the price of eggs, we are keepin' all the chickens we can ....... so, 9 birds it is ...... it has been suggested the rule of thumb is 1 sq. foot ventilation for each bird, right?

    Right now, the short term plan is to park the tractor after the first hard freeze, remove the wheel assembly (and store it in the garage- it's the single most expensive part of the whole deal) and put heavy plastic sheeting over the west and north sides of the run....... the roof gets painted flat black ....... the plywood on the east end (on the right in the first pic) is going to get replaced with hardware cloth ...... thinking of extending the roof to cover the access door, just for more wind protection..... I figured if one of our Alaskan member can run a 3 sided coop to 40 below, I can do it in Nebraska!) I also want to fabricate at least one galvanized tin cupola ...... with a Rooster themed weathervane atop, of course ........ as soon as I get the nest boxes finished, I'll get right on that.......


    Longer term, I may start over and apply the lessons I've learned thus far ........ 1x2 framing on the first floor ....... cut weight wherever possible ..... the second level needs to be higher, and overhang the first a bit, to allow for ventilation on the south side at the soffit ....... the ramp door to the second level needs to be on the north side, for easier cleaning ....... thoughts?
     
  9. jimbob86

    jimbob86 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 7, 2015
    Nebraska
    My Coop
    My chickens seem to be spending a lot of time mid-morning and mid-afternoon loafing upstairs ..... do you think a low roost in the run below would cut down on that?
     
  10. jimbob86

    jimbob86 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 7, 2015
    Nebraska
    My Coop
    Also, I have found that the 1/2" hardware cloth "poop screens" are harder to clean than the plywood floor, now that their poops are adult sized .......
     

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