Tractor designs and Predators

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sunnychooks, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. sunnychooks

    sunnychooks Songster

    Jul 21, 2007
    We'll be getting our first order of Meaties next week and are constructing a movable tractor. We've had some problems with predators (mainly fox) and I'm worried about them digging under the tractor. What type of predator prevention can we use with tractors?
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I have not done it and I do not know what your tractor looks like. Have you considered mobile aprons? I can envision a strip of wood, say a 1" x 4", with about 18" to 24" of wire attached to it. Put some type of stud on the bottom of your tractor, maybe a big nail, a lag bolt, maybe a regular bolt, and drill holes in the 1x4 to fit over those studs. You could set it up to use butterfly nuts on bolts to hold them on if you think it needs it. Or maybe use eye bolts and carabiners to hold it on. Have 4 of them, one for each side and each end and let the wire overlap a bit at the corners.

    Another option. Instead of using a 1x4, just cut a piece of welded wire or hardware cloth, put eye bolts on the bottom of your tractor, and use carabiners or snap locks to hold it on. You'd probably need to take them off and put them back each time you move it, but that should not be too difficult. You might want to use a 2x4 or something like that to weigh the wire down especially if your grass is a little high. As I said, I have not done this but I'd think along these lines if I did decide to use dig protection on my tractor. I have not had a problem with anything digging under my tractor, but my dentist had a raccoon dig under his. It is a valid concern, especially on uneven ground where the bottom of the tractor may not set flush with the ground.

    I'll subscribe and see if anyone else has some interesting suggestions. It is an interesting question.
  3. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

    May 6, 2010
    My Coop
    Very good questions and suggestions. My chicks were in a tractor outside all winter and I worried every night (our winters are mild). I didn't have a problem even though it would have been easy for anything to get under it. I thought about using 2" X 4" galvanized wire across the bottom (the tractor measures 4' X 8'). That would slow down most things and preventing them from getting inside, except they still could reach underneath and through. I haven't thought much about this because they now have a coop and use the tractor for their day time safe and shady area when they're wandering in the yard and it's always open anyway. I wonder what people with tractors do though. Are chickens in tractors at greater risk from predation than chickens in typical coops/runs? It seems obvious, but maybe folks have thought about fixes for these problems?
  4. CT_Todd

    CT_Todd Chirping

    Aug 5, 2010
    Hebron, CT
    You can extend the wiring mesh 1 foot out away from the tractor on the bottom sides like an 'apron'. I've seen the apron being sold as an extra deterrant to digging under a run..Nothing is full proof but that may be a cheaply added insurance policy..
  5. hallerlake

    hallerlake Songster

    May 30, 2010
    Quote:My tractor has a coop where I can shut them in at night. They're only in the run during the day. I've never seen one during the day in my yard. I second the apron idea. If I put up a permanent run. It would have an apron.
  6. hallerlake

    hallerlake Songster

    May 30, 2010
    Quote:Perhaps you could figure out a way to hook the apron up on the tractor while you move it rather than remove the apron and put it back.
  7. hallerlake

    hallerlake Songster

    May 30, 2010
    I'd make the apron 18" or 2 feet to be safe.
  8. stevephillips79

    stevephillips79 Hatching

    Aug 20, 2010
    Hi Friend,
    I read your message and thanks for posting this message.Coyote and Fox Trapping/Removal: Can we relocate them?The short answer is No. There are many reasons why this is not recommended, and even if it was physically possible, it would not solve the problem.
    Thank you


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  9. hensonly

    hensonly Songster

    May 15, 2008
    upstate NY
    Quote:I've seen pictures of tractors with these flaps of wire, and seen posts indicating that they do work. the overlap at the corners is a good idea, to help foil tiny predators such as weasels. A thought on moving the tractor - If you hooked a couple of double ended snap hooks onto your tractor, one at each corner on each side, you could just lift the wire aprons and clip them onto the snap hooks, holding them up against the sides of the tractor while it's moved. Then just unhook them, let the aprons lie back down on the grass. That way you wouldn't have to make them removeable, which might be easier in terms of construction...or maybe not! Just an option. Good luck and let us know how it works!
  10. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    I have aprons on my tractors (pictures on my BYC page). On my first tractor, I just extended the wire down from the sides and bent it outward to form the apron. This didn't work terribly well because the edges often bent under as I dragged the tractor around the yard.

    My next two models have separate hinged panels on the sides, and I find this works much better. I simply attached the apron panels to the wire of the sides using Loxit rings. When I need to move a tractor, I can easily flip up the apron on the side I'm lifting.

    I did extend the panels so that they overlap on each of the four corners. The other thing I figured out is that if you bend the wire under itself about an inch or two to form a sort of hem, then flatten it down by walking on it, you cover up the sharp cut edges and it makes the apron more rigid so that it lays flat better. I used left over 19 gauge hardware cloth.

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