Tractor Run Instead of Free Ranging?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Cluckn Crazy, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. Cluckn Crazy

    Cluckn Crazy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 25, 2010
    Peterborough, Ontario
    We live in a fairly predator heavy rural area. I have lots of space for my hens to free range, but I am worried. Could I build a portable run (something like a pvc 6x10'), for only day time use, to take advantage of our space? Their coop/run has ample room, but perhaps clean up would be less for me - yet benefit the chickens with new ground.

    How do you balance the free ranging risk?
  2. MTFarm

    MTFarm Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 21, 2010
    Just went through a similar question with our new setup. Our birds are now free ranging during the day and doing well. I was concerned about them roaming too far and getting off our place and also area dogs, but they're staying in an acceptable area and our dogs seem to keep other dogs from coming on our place.

    We did the same thing with an earlier setup and it worked well also.

    Before letting them range, when I was still concerned about them being loose I built a pvc run that I could move along with our tractor. This offered them a pretty good area to 'range' in. I actually also used an older one I had built earlier and let them in both. In my view such a setup is best utilized if you're diligent about moving it, but I think it's a fine alternative and offers some of the benefits of ranging with the security of a run.

    Daytime predators are not much of a concern for us and though many protest the use of chicken wire, that's what's on our tractor (they roost there every night and I shut them in) and we haven't had overnight problems, either at our new acreage or our much more rural previous setup. Our own dogs do seem to assist on that.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2010
  3. Cluckn Crazy

    Cluckn Crazy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 25, 2010
    Peterborough, Ontario
    Maybe I need a bigger dog! [​IMG]
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    I have small bantams, and don't free range because they would be vulnerable to even cats roaming our neighborhood (cats can easily climb over the board fence that encloses our yard). So I use a daytime tractor (pictures on my BYC page). It works great, the chickens are safe and I can relax about them.
  5. BWKatz

    BWKatz Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2010
    I use a PVC tractor with a coop in garage. I live in a heavy predator area with eagles, hawks and dogs during day and racoons, owls, fox and coyote at night.Mine are never safe to freerange. my tractor is very lag and lightwt so I move it easily when I lead hens to it in am, usually every couple of days.

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