Two dumb questions about tractors

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by dsp217, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. dsp217

    dsp217 New Egg

    Aug 10, 2011
    Hi, new to all this and surely these are stupid questions, but I looked around for a while and wasn't able to find anything on them. Apologies in advance if I've missed something obvious.

    I'm interested in building a chicken tractor. Two questions:

    1) I can't figure out if there's supposed to be chicken wire (or whatever other netting is used on the sides of the tractor) on the bottom. That is, is the bottom of the tractor open, so the chickens are walking directly on the ground (but then, I'd think, predators could easily dig in), or are they essentially standing on wires (which I'd think would make scratching the ground and otherwise foraging difficult. I've looked at a bunch of different designs, and it seems like some go each way

    2) I will be building this in Maine, so I'm going to have to contend with extremely cold winters. Should I keep them in the tractor all winter, or do I need to build them a winterproofed, warmer permanent coop for winter, and use the tractor just as their summer home?

    Thanks very much, love the site, have been reading it obsessively the last week or so, and hope I haven't missed anything obvious
  2. TheIrishChickenLover

    TheIrishChickenLover New Egg

    Aug 10, 2011
    (1)Well I've just finished my chicken tractor and I made that I could take the run off when moving it and put it back on when moved I made it out off metal crates so it was fairly heavy and i havent had an intruder yet (up for a month now) [​IMG]

    (2) If your tractor ha good installation it should be good for the winter remember to check that theres no leaks and if there is silicone is always handy to fix em up hope that helps [​IMG]
  3. florida lee

    florida lee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2011
    i can't answer question # 2 as I live in Florida.
    As far as the tractor, my chicks are now 18 wks old. and have been in the tractor since taking them out of the grow out pen at about 5 wks. My tractor is a double decker,. the coop is on top and run on the bottom. At night they are locked in the upper coop - it is very secure. The bottom has hardware cloth around the bottom sides. The bottom is open to the ground. Yes, a predator can dig under that is why they are secured up stairs at night. My dogs have never tried to dig under and I leave them (chickens) out in the bottom run all day ( drop door is open for unlimited access to coop) even when I'm gone for the day. My dogs are out all day and night, I'm hoping that they are also keeping predators away. I tried wire on the bottom but the chicks did not like walking on the wire and trying to eat thru it. So I removed it.
    Be sure to have plenty of access doors and window vents.
    I move the tractor every 3 days ( 8 chickens).
    Chickens now are too big for tractor , my regular coop will be finished tomorrow so they will be leaving the tractor. Tractor is 5 x 10 on bottom and 5 x 6 on top. Also I have an additional "low boy" tractor that mates up with the main tractor giving them more ground space.
    I have two smaller access doors , one very large access door( almost full side), six vent windows with covers for cold or bad weather.


  4. ChickiKat

    ChickiKat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2011
    Eastern Kansas
    1. No wire or anything on the bottom. They need to scratch and make dust bath tubs.
    2. We had out chickens in our tractor last year and we had record low temps and snow fall. They did just fine...
    Good luck!!
  5. dsp217

    dsp217 New Egg

    Aug 10, 2011
    Thanks, everyone!
  6. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    I would put the bottom wire around the outside, not inside, of the tractor. It's called the apron wire and it helps to predator proof the tractor.

    This is the way I do mine.


    So long as it's at least eighteen inches wide and lays relatively flat to the ground it works great.
  7. BarredRock971

    BarredRock971 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 20, 2011
    1) I agree with the apron. If you put wire on the bottom it would be harder for them to scratch around.

    2) They would probably be fine, insulation would be a good idea, mainly make sure it's leak proof.
  8. juliaaa

    juliaaa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2011
    Syracuse, New York

    We live in New York.
  9. babyrnlc

    babyrnlc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 30, 2011
    Tulsa, Ok
    We made ours big because we wanted more chickens. We had to use 3 wheels on each side to make it move, we have nothing on the bottom. The only predator we have are hawks, so we wired the top of the run. (My dog scares away the other predators. She has been seen by the neigbors scaring off 3 opossums!)

  10. nursepinch

    nursepinch Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 29, 2011
    babyrnlc - Your tractor is similar to the one I'm attempting to build but much larger. Can I ask you the dimensions of the coop, run, and how many chickens you house there? Are they comfortable in it?

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