Tractor Design

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by NorTracNY, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. NorTracNY

    NorTracNY Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 1, 2008
    Macedon, NY
    Hi, I'm still learning here. I'm designing a tractor for 4-5 chickens. I'm looking at 13.5'X4.5'. The coop with be raised 18" at one end and be 4.5' X 3.5'. I am looking at having the coop be 2.5' high with a slanted roof of about 8" higher in the front. I'd put in a roost in the coop at about 1-1.5'. Is this height fine?
    The chickens will primarily be in the tractor, but periodically free range when we are outside for a while. (A lot during the summer.) This leads me to another question... I am confident the two dogs I have will be fine, but how big of a problem can cats be for chickens? I hear so much about dogs, but my cats take out rabbits as big as themselves.

    Mark
     
  2. bheila

    bheila Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2008
    Kent, Wa
    I was sooooo confident that my dogs were okay around our chickens. My chickens are free range on 7 acres, all last summer myself, the dogs and the chickens were out everyday together. The dogs never bothered the chickens in the year that we've had them, except to follow them around to eat their poop. Yuk!!! So yesterday I went outside to check on the animals which I do every single day, probably 20 times a day. And as I turned around the corner of the fence, there was our black dog laying on her back with her paws in the air begging for mercy because she has just killed our littlest hen. I didn't even have to yell at her, she knew she was wrong before I found her. So now I'm left with the dilema of who to keep locked up and when. At least I could understand killing the hen to eat her but she didn't even do that. All she was doing was licking her. Not even any blood to lick. I should have known better, who doesn't like chicken. As far as cats, I have had one of our cats try to go after my babies but never our full grown hens. Some of my hens actually chase my cats away. It's pretty funny to see a cat run from a bird.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:It will be pretty difficult to design a tractor that's 14' long, light enough to move, and still sufficiently structurally rigid to not fall apart or flex so far that predators can get in. Also, unless your ground is parking-lot flat, you will have to do a *lot* of filling in of gaps under the frame along the 14' long sides. Have you considered making this as two separate tractors, each ~7' long, that can be linked together. It would be much easier to use, and avoid a lot of weight and structure problems. Or at least have the coop and run parts be separate tractors that link together.

    To answer your question though, if your coop is only 2'6", your roost could only be about 12" off the ground at most. FWIW, my tractor has about 16" of headroom above the roost and while it is sort of barely adequate you SURE would never want to go less than that for standard sized chickens. Personally I would put the roost lower, maybe 8" off the ground, and give them more room to stand up and stretch.

    Also, be reeeaaally careful about this "I am confident my dogs will not touch the chickens" thing. LARGE numbers of people on this forum have said exactly the same thing, with perfect confidence and a lot of good reason to believe it's true, and then gone out one day to discover, well, you know. It's not about whether your dogs are nice or gentle or friendly to other animals or well-trained... at the end of the day, they still have a little bit of predator brain in their heads, and it can wake up when you least expect it. Just sayin' [​IMG]

    Have fun with the chickens and stuff,

    Pat
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Now having said that above about dogs being dogs, I will also point out that it is possible that your dog found the hen already dead, from another predator or even natural causes. Chickens often do just, you know, up and die. And I could certainly see a dog acting like that if it found one of its chicken 'friends' defunct.

    Pat
     
  5. NorTracNY

    NorTracNY Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 1, 2008
    Macedon, NY
    Thanks for the input. I guess I should have stated that I am not worried about the dogs because I know exactly how much I can trust them. One, I sure, would like to carry them around in his mouth, but not hurt it. I do not believe he should do that, but he'd like to. He carried around two of our kittens for months like that. They were not happy being slobbered all over.

    I guess with the cats, I'll quickly figure out what will happen.

    I am aware that I'll have some structure issues. I'll think again about dimensions. The size worked out with efficiently using plywood sheets. Glad to hear that 2.5' would be possible. I plan to fill in holess at times, but I also will need to go with a skirt too.
    Mark
     
  6. bheila

    bheila Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 8, 2008
    Kent, Wa
    I actually saw my dog chasing that exact hen earlier in the day. I'm positive it wasn't the hen just up and dying. Shame on me! I would all hope that we learn from our mistakes, it's just too bad that my little baby had to pay for mine.
     

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