I’ve been really busy lately, we moved out of our apartment, I have been teaching a lot, plus the day after our moved I left for a 2 week resident Chemistry for Haz-Mat Response course. (My brain still is mumbled up mush) While most of our stuff is still packed in boxes, I just had to get started on my urban homestead. Genny and I spent last Saturday making our first Chicken Tractor.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a chicken tractor is a cross between free-range chicken management and keeping them in a coop. What we did was build a 6×12 A-Frame and covered it on all sides with chicken wire. This allows the chickens protection from predators. Eeven though I will need to beef up my screen. Raccoons can tear through chicken wire I’m told. It also allows chickens to peck the ground to supplement their feed.
Each week we will move the tractor to a new location in our yard so that no one spot gets mangled too badly.
I was going to take pictures of the construction process, but:
- We got too enthused about building and forgot to start taking pictures
- No plan was used. The entire thing was build off pictures on the internet.
- Genny and I lack serious carpentry skills. She got to used a circular saw for the first time Saturday. There is not a square angle on the entire tractor.
I know that 8 pullets in the tractor is a lot. However, as they grow, I plan on eating the worse 3 layers. Which we will keep only 5 in the tractor at a time.
Process of Building a Chicken Tractor
We built it with a single roll of 4ft chicken wire. Next time we will only use chicken wire on the floor. With something more substantial on the walls. 12ft 1×4 boards, 8ft 1×1 boards, and a single piece of exterior grade sheathing.
Basically we cut most of the 1x4s into 4 ft sections and cut a 45 degree angle into them. We set them together with glue, brads, and those metal supports used to make trusses. Then we nailed them into 12 ft sections of 1×4 to make a frame. Next, we made a door and more supports with the 1×1 boards.
We cut two triangles into the plywood and then cut the remaining 4 ft piece into two 2ft sections to make a “weather-proof” coop. a door was cut to allow the chickens inside, and a door was made to allow me to get the eggs.
Once the pullets get old enough to lay, then I will make two nesting boxes out of old milk crates I have around the house.
Since we moved, we had to buy all the materials, (including tools) so we could not use any scrap. so this cost about $200. But it was an easy enough project for two novices to build in about 10 hours.
I have also heard of people experimenting with Rabbits in the same way, if this works well, I plan on trying that also… If so, then we will make sure to have better pictures and a step by step plan for you…