tractor feeding advice needed

getreal

Songster
May 9, 2014
271
64
156
Upper Peninsula of MI
I just started putting my girls in a tractor during the day. my question is do I need to have a feeder in there as well as their water? what about calcium? I am thinking they grit from the ground? When I put them in for the night they acted like they were starving, how long do you keep them in a tractor at a time?
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Ameraucanas

Songster
May 15, 2015
671
48
131

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,225
19,947
857
Southeast Louisiana
There are lots of different ways people use tractors but in general, you need to supply all you would in a normal coop and run. They will get nutrition from the stuff in the tractor but they cannot roam enough to get the variety of grass, weeds, grass and weed seeds, decaying vegetative matter, and all the creepy crawlies they would if they were free ranging. Most of us don’t have the variety of foods they need to totally support themselves by foraging even if they could totally free range.

That means you need to provide feed in the tractor. You need to supply calcium. They might get enough calcium from the plants and creepy crawlies they eat but it’s not likely. If your basic rock is limestone they will get some calcium from the rocks they eat as grit, but I strongly suggest you offer a calcium source like oyster shell on the side even if you feed Layer.

They should pick up enough pebbles for grit from the ground. You can offer them grit if you want but I wouldn’t bother. They are really good about pecking at the ground and finding grit for themselves in practically any soil.

When I kept mine in a tractor they were in there 24/7. I had a roost area built in. You can keep yours in there as long or as short as you like. There are no rules about that. It’s up to you as to how you manage them.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,373
17,725
856
Holts Summit, Missouri
The tractor is best looked at as a method for dispersing feces onto the ground rather than in a coop / henhouse / run without causing as much harm to the plant community. Nutritional benefits are typically limited. Therefore complete nutrition needs to be supplied while they are confined. They can be kept in the tractor indefinitely so long as needs met. With smaller flocks, you can also train them very easily to leave tractor and go to a centralized roost each evening which can have numerous benefits with respect to predator management and feces management.
 

getreal

Songster
May 9, 2014
271
64
156
Upper Peninsula of MI
thank you for all the advice. I put them in the tractor to let them explore safely. my coop is right on the edge of the woods so free ranging would be dangerous. I added feed with calcium and grit added in all together. and fresh water. they go back to their run when I go somewhere or it's raining. and in the coop safely locked away for the night.
 

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