A friend of ours delivered this chicken tractor today. It’s part of our mini co-op to raise these 8 little nuggets as a continuing experiment in homesteading and self-sufficiency.
The idea is that you move the chicken tractor to a new spot every 2-3 days so that they don’t completely destroy the land underneath them. If you leave them in place, they’ll eat every blade of grass and leave themselves with little more than a muddy pit. For instance, our 3 hens started out with a chicken run that looked like this:
But they soon devoured their salad bar and turned it into a patch of dirt:
With that in mind, the tractor was built with more lightweight materials and included a rope to pull the whole contraption.
Half of it is covered with a tarp to provide protection from the elements and I was able to hang their water from some of the conduit. Hopefully having it raised off the ground will keep it a little cleaner!
It uses the plastic conduit as ribs and has chicken wire stretched and stapled over that to provide protection from local predators (raccoons, possums, local cats/dogs, Bear Grylls, etc.).
The only thing I’m a little worried about is animals digging under the sides at night. I’ve seen evidence of that with our other chicken coop, but I flared out about a foot of chicken wire at the bottom of that one to make sure they couldn’t get in. I might need to do that to this one as well.
This is plenty of space for 8 meat birds. At approximately 30 square feet, that’s more than double what they actually need to stay relaxed.
And as an after-thought, I think I might be able to re-tool this slightly in the winter to make a hoop house and grow some lettuce or spinach while the snow falls…