Tractor or run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Rowzy, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. Rowzy

    Rowzy Out Of The Brooder

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    So due to my recent discovery that my Irish Setter thinks my chickens would make a good dinner (he didnt get any but he snapped at them... I was outside when this happened thankfully) I have decided to make some sort of enclosure for my chickens to be in during the day.
    I either wanted to make a run or a tractor, and I am currently leaning more to the tractor side because I can put them in the tractor inside the horse pastures and the garden and whatnot and control what they scratch up and fertalize.
    I read for full sized hens that I need 10 sq feet a hen in a run, I have 7 chickens (6 hens and roo) so I would need 70 sq feet? What about for a tractor? I would think they dont need so much space because you move the tractor every day or as needed.
    What is the best material to build them out of? I live in the seattle area so obviously rain is a factor. I was thinking 5' wide 5' long and 4' tall with some sort of roof/door over half of it. I was going to make it out of 2x2s with Hardware mesh as fencing.
    What do you think?
     
  2. tdgill

    tdgill Chillin' With My Peeps

    hi there...

    I am debating a tractor or run as well... i am thinking i will eventually end up with both. I'd like a movable pen actually....but havent quite figured it out yet. i know that those dog kennel panels would be handy for portabiltity - but way outa my price range....

    I don't really want to commit to anything permanent yet. I wanna stay flexible, cause i have a hard time making up my mind....

    spending way too much time thinking about chickens hahahahahah
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Hidden limitations of tractors: Your ground must be fairly flat and level - if it is real bumpy/lumpy it gets nearly impossible to decently predatorproof the tractor. If you care about the turf/lawn, it is important to stick to your tractor-moving schedule which can easily be as frequently as once a day depending on turf condition and season of the year. A tractor cannot be winterized as well as a fixed coop (temperature/ventilation/humidity issues are far harder to balance, and you may well not be able to move the tractor in the winter but don't want it to become a stinking mudpit poisoning that patch of ground either). And a tractor cannot be predatorproofed as well as a fixed coop can.

    There are ways to finesse each of these issues so they are manageably ok, but it is a lot tougher than with a fixed coop.

    Advantages of tractors: You can use tractors to 'treat' different areas of lawn, they won't be regulated or taxed the way a fixed coop might, the chickens will have fresh grass and bugs without you having to bring them *to* 'em, and they can be cheaper to build.

    If you really want a year-round tractor for 7 chickens I would strongly suggest making it at LEAST 6x10. In your climate, having a roof over at least half of it would indeed probably be smart [​IMG].

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  4. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady Premium Member

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    upstate SC
    I really adore my tractors. [​IMG]
    Our biggest one is 10x10 and 6' tall, which I care nothing about but DH wanted to be able to walk around inside it. I prefer 3-4' tall.

    We also use ours in the horse pasture. It is awesome and we have not had any trouble with it, moving is a breeze and the 6 chickens we have in it are extremely happy. We only move ours once a week but I would like to move it more often. However, DH made it so tall that the extra weight keeps me from being able to attach the wheels by myself. We don't leave them on because then a predator would be able to get under it and the chickens could probably get out but haven't tried so far when we move it. Bumpy ground is not a problem and we are in the foothills so have mega strange terrain.
    It has the PVC panel roof and right now tarps on 3 sides. Something else I don't care for as the rain is able to get in between the roof and sides.

    You can see it on the M*A*S*H thread I posted. He is working on yet another one and is modifying it a bit.
    There are lots and lots of tractors shown on the coop pages.

    I have permanent coops and runs but with all this rain lately, it is a nightmare. The small tractors I just move every day by myself and those chickens are in much better shape and my eggs are much cleaner from the nests.

    Good luck![​IMG]
     
  5. Rowzy

    Rowzy Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 12, 2009
    Renton, WA
    Nadine - I went to look for your M*A*S*H coop and I found the page but it seems like none of the pictures are working. I would love to see them however so I can get an idea of what you mean
     
  6. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady Premium Member

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    Did you look at my BYC page?
    I didn't realize that once you delete photos from your folders it takes them off the pages in a thread as well. I don't have enough storage space for all the photos I put on this forum.
    I will try and make another page and put them there for future reference.
     
  7. blueheaven

    blueheaven Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:i am making a tractor and a run. see my posts for all my photos...getting ready to post more. i am making a 4x4x7.5 tall, a playhouse tractor. i will make a run out front that will be 5.5' tall and 5.5' long and 4.5' wide. i will keep posting photos as it progresses.
     
  8. Rowzy

    Rowzy Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 12, 2009
    Renton, WA
    Nadine - I like your 'quick pens'. They seem easy to make especially because I have no handy-man skills. How did you build them? Is there a door of sorts on them? Where? Any details would be apreciated.
     
  9. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady Premium Member

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    upstate SC
    [​IMG]

    I made the door to open from the top. The first Quick Pen was 33" tall and I have a hard time bending over into it to get eggs, water, etc but I made the other 2 only 30" tall and it is much easier for me to get in and out of if I have to since I am one of those short people. If I have to catch up some birds in it, it isn't hard either.
    Super easy to build. I use 3 or 3 1/2" deck screws on the entire frame.
    Can you zoom in on the image? You can see I didn't do any fancy work on it. But when I roll it up on its side to attach the wire that thing is solid. And if I have to move it far I don't slide it, I go end over end and it is terrific. Naturally no birds are in it! [​IMG]

    I added the new Quick Pen I am building now to my BYC page along with another of the M*A*S*H unit. I can get more photos of close ups and put them on there. I have gotten quite fast at putting them together and could probably easily put the entire thing together in one day with my little woman self. Every project is a learning experience. I am almost 50 and loving all this! You're never too old to learn something new and fun.
    Just let me know what else you might like to see. I am horrid with instructions but photos are great.
     
  10. Rowzy

    Rowzy Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 12, 2009
    Renton, WA
    What are the dimentions? How many chickens do you keep in it at a time? What is the material used on the top and sides (is it that wavy metal roofing stuff?)? Do you have any problems with water just sitting on the roof? (I cant tell if its slanted or not)
     

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