World's cheapest chicken tractor

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by raro, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. raro

    raro Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 9, 2010
    I made what we jokingly called "The Cube" for my chickens out of hardware cloth and PVC pipe. But since I figured they didn't need much vertical space, I made it only about 2 feet tall. The chickens loved it, but I've hated it. It's hard to get into to fill up water, get eggs, etc. As I was chatting with my college student son (who happens to be majoring in mechanical engineering), he gave me a bunch of ideas for starting over. I sighed and said it was going to be hard, since he had been the one to make the coop (and did a fantastic job) and now he's halfway across the country and that means I'll have to do it myself, and I just didn't feel like it. I had resigned myself to an inconvenient tractor for the backyard.

    My son thought a moment, and then said, "Well, with a 5-foot high fence around the backyard, the only real predators in the daytime are the hawks overhead, right? Well, why don't you...just use a tent?" He went on to say, if I cut out most of the bottom and replaced it with mesh so the chickens could get to the grass underneath, I could get in and out easily. And an old catbox full of straw would do for a nesting box (put on a crate to make it higher).

    Well, I am a lousy carpenter, but I can pretty much sew anything. I cut out the bottom of a cheap tent (giving myself a nice tarp for another use) and tacked on the netting (vinyl version of chicken wire, sort of). The chickens love it, I love it, and no more crouching and squatting to deal with! And with the window covers all unzipped, they have decent sunshine but not too much. The chickens go out in the morning and then I herd them back to the coop at night.

    I know this won't be feasible for a lot of people, but I wanted to share it. It's easy to move around (just pull up the little stakes and drag it where I want it and push down the stakes again) and cheap as can be. [​IMG]
     
  2. ajay

    ajay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 1, 2011
    Thanks for sharing! I love the idea. Our plan is to have free rangers, but I know that won't always be possible. I'm not a carpenter either and my Dh has moved onto bigger and better things. This sounds like a good, cheap solution. How long have you had it up and running for?
     
  3. raro

    raro Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 9, 2010
    Well, actually only a week or so. But it's been a rousing success. No problems at all so far. It was kind of a pain to tack two pieces of the netting stuff together, then sew it (by hand, using pretty big stitches!) to the tent. But it took less than 10 minutes to set up and we haven't had a problem yet. [​IMG]
     
  4. reereechickens

    reereechickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2011
    Reidsville, NC
    How do you get them in the tractor in the am? Put the tent where you want and then the chickens or chickens in 1st and move the tractor to the location? Sounds like a great idea! Post pics when you get a chance, please![​IMG]
     
  5. raro

    raro Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 9, 2010
    I put the tent where I want it usually the night before. Then in the morning, I play "Little Bo Peep" with my broom. I open the coop (my coop is right inside my unfinished basement - long story!) - and the girls jump out and (with a little guidance from the broom to keep them from wandering off) I "herd" them outside the door to the tent. At first I had to lift them into it, but now they've gotten the idea and just hop inside.
     
  6. reereechickens

    reereechickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2011
    Reidsville, NC
    Thanks! I bet your chickens really love it!
     

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