The Chicken Tractor

I’ve had a few requests for pictures and dimensions of the chicken tractor.

Hubster built it, and he is therefore more familiar with his methods than I am. I zone out when it comes time to build something, and I’m really only good for holding things and handing him things. Well, and measuring. I measure more precisely than he does. But the chickens aren’t particularly concerned with things being square, so the construction isn’t quite so fussy.

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(If you click on the image above, you can see the whole tractor. It was too wide to fit in the post).

That plastic comes off in the summer–it’s there to keep them warmer and drier in our rainy, windy Oregon winters. Not very attractive but I’m sure they appreciate it.

Honestly I couldn’t tell you the measurements exactly. Hubster says it’s roughly 4′ wide, 4′ high, and 15 feet long at the bottom (obviously shorter at the top due to slanted ends). The middle section is a wood frame (we built ours out of scrap lumber) with welded wire fencing attached. If you are buying new materials, chicken wire/poultry netting is actually easier to work with. The shelters are, as you can see, basically just triangular lean-tos. The bottom of the lean-tos are open, so on hot days the chickens can get out of the sun even if the tractor is out in the sunny part of our field. The nest boxes are in the top portion, with small openings–chickens feel safer laying their eggs in very enclosed spaces.

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The tops of the lean-to ends open up so that we can retrieve eggs and change bedding as necessary.

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Hubster used bicycle tires from an old bike that a neighbor gave us, that was too small for the Drama Princess. They’re nice all terrain tires, so we can move it even in the winter when it’s a bit muddy.

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On the sides, hubster built small platforms with edges, one for the water bucket (a very very well cleaned and rinsed laundry detergent bucket given to us by a friend), and one for the feeders (two cat feeders, with large reservoirs for food on the top, so clean food slides down as they eat). These are set up so that we can fill them from OUTSIDE the chicken tractor, so we never have to open it up unless we need to get in to the birds.

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You can make a chicken tractor smaller than ours, if you plan to move it every day. We decided to make our lives easier and give the chickens more space, so we only have to move it every two or three days. Build according to your intentions. For example, if you want them to tear up ground for you to plant a garden, a smaller tractor moved more often makes more sense. But if you want them to eat bugs in an area, and leave them a little longer, make it bigger. It also depends on how many chickens you have. We have six in our tractor.

There are SO many sources of information on chicken tractors out there. Here’s a site with lots of pictures of various chicken tractors:
http://home.centurytel.net/thecitychicken/index.html

And Amazon has used and new copies of a book on the subject. But check with your local bookstore first!!!! I know mine has it:

And if you google “chicken tractor” you’ll get more results than you know what to do with.

Happy chicken keeping!

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5 thoughts on “The Chicken Tractor

  1. Thanks for the info on the chicken tractor. I was wondering though, if you have trouble with skunks or foxes getting in. My parents had so much trouble with both of those animals burrowing under fences that them finally resorted to laying a “foundation” of cinder blocks around the chicken pen, so the animals couldn’t dig under the fence to get to the hens.

  2. We haven’t had a problem in this chicken tractor with skunks or raccoons or foxes. We had trouble with ones we built before, but for some reason not this one. I’m not sure why that is! But, I think a good way around predators might be to have a nesting box/sleeping roost that you can close up at night so animals can’t get in–wood bottom, sides, top, doors, and make sure the doors latch so a raccoon couldn’t open them.

  3. thanks for putting this post together. Being a chicken newbie I am endlessly grateful to anyone who has passed on their experience. Great work. I’ll keep watching your blog

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