We're building a tractor, but it has to be fully enclosed. Question about the floor

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by cinnamonrooster, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. cinnamonrooster

    cinnamonrooster Just Hatched

    6
    0
    10
    Mar 30, 2017
    We cannot free range any chickens on our property. Literally every time they are out, we lose one or two, even in the middle of the day. We are down to 9 and are getting 15 more in the mail tomorrow. We're building a chicken tractor for when the newbies get older, but most designs have an open floor. We really can't make a tractor that isn't fully enclosed by some kind of wire.

    Based on their natural scratching behavior, I just want to know if it is going to hurt them in the long run to have a chicken wire floor. I have seen one design where rabbits were kept with the chickens in the tractor and so the floor was enclosed, but as with most posts, it was "here's a thing we just did" and not "6 months later here's why we wish we hadn't done that."

    The plan is for the birds we are keeping as layers to stay in the tractor until fall when they are big enough to be introduced to our existing flock.
     
  2. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    2,151
    367
    196
    Feb 15, 2017
    Texas
    I would not use wire on the floor.
     
  3. Cluckcluck1215

    Cluckcluck1215 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wire on floor, cover with dirt that should be good.
     
  4. cinnamonrooster

    cinnamonrooster Just Hatched

    6
    0
    10
    Mar 30, 2017
    But we will be dragging it to a new place every day
     
  5. jmurf

    jmurf Out Of The Brooder

    48
    12
    44
    Apr 7, 2017
    SE Louisiana
    Are you losing them to predators? Could you rip some cedar fence boards and space them out attached to the bottom? I'm new to all this, but you could have 3-4" gaps between the strips, where they could still scratch, but would prevent a predator from getting in.
     
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    20,859
    4,093
    421
    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Slats. It's a very common method for rabbit tractors to keep the rabbits from digging out, but still allowing access to grass.
     
  7. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    2,151
    367
    196
    Feb 15, 2017
    Texas
    $200 chicken tractor you can stand up in.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. PorchChickens

    PorchChickens Out Of The Brooder

    19
    10
    39
    Jan 15, 2017
    FLAR-duh
    What kind of predators are you worried about?
     
  9. cinnamonrooster

    cinnamonrooster Just Hatched

    6
    0
    10
    Mar 30, 2017
    Primarily, fox. Though I did have two birds taken by a red-tailed hawk while they were ranging earlier this month. There are several foxes, not just one, and I see either them, their scat, or their footprints (circling the coop of course) every morning. We live on 30 acres, over 2000' from the nearest road, in the middle of a bunch of orchards. I have seen raccoon tracks, but never seen one; I assume we also have weasels. But it's the fox that is the most persistent. A few nights ago, he even snuck through the cracked barn door and got one of our injured chickens nursing a wound from a hawk (you see what I'm up against here...)


    This sounds excellent. I hadn't thought of that and I'm sure it's much better for their feet.
     
  10. PapaBear4

    PapaBear4 Out Of The Brooder

    86
    13
    44
    Feb 25, 2014
    Maryland
    I use 2x4 welded wire across the entire bottom of the run. The floor of the coop area is mostly wood. In my experience the 2x4 wire seems to be enough to deter predators but enough to allow chickens foraging.
    I would also advise going around the outside of your run area (lowest 24" maybe?) with a finer mesh hardware cloth to keep predator arms from reaching through to grab your hens. I've found that, generally, mine know when something has come to eat them. If you can design your run to give them a "safe" place to hide when a predator comes calling, it may help. Or they may just run around like nutters. They are chickens after all.

    Good luck to you! Let us know if you're able to resolve things.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by