You Can Borrow My Idea, Continued

Remember the raised bed chicken tractor? Well, the hubster has finished the improvements! It now includes a nesting box, so we can leave the chickens in at night.

I never explained how we move this contraption either. We have slim poles that we slip under the top of the frame to lift it with. As for dimensions, the beds are all four feet wide by 8 feet long, so the tractor fits on top of that, and has short posts that sink in to the soil a little to stabilize it against freak wind gusts and too much chicken excitement. (And by the way, I know I have mentioned before how our place isn’t as idyllic as the photos might sometimes suggest. Off to the right in the above photo you see evidence of that truth: note the crumbling cabin, which now has no electricity because the exterior dry rotted until the power line detached from the side of the house, and no water because the main drain collapsed on the former tenants. It is now empty, and likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future.)

The inside of the nest box: cozy.

Here you can see where the chickens enter the box. The door flips up to close at night.

The means by which the door is flipped. This way we don’t have to get IN to the tractor to close the door. More importantly, we don’t have to reach inside in the morning to let them out–which means our fingers are nipped less frequently.

And here you see our top of the line anti-raccoon security technology, also known as a bungee cord. Unless we strap the doors of our chicken tractors down, raccoons simply lift them up and snag a chicken dinner. It’s like a poultry vending machine!

So now you see how we are not only clever, but also extremely CLASSY and sophisticated. All part of our glamorous micro-farming lifestyle.

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6 thoughts on “You Can Borrow My Idea, Continued

  1. This is great to see, thanks for sharing what you’re doing! Do the shifting poles go in lengthwise or across? I didn’t quite follow about the doors – are you shutting the chooks into the roost at night, and then letting them into the raised bed during the day, or do they free range as well? Would the racoons get in the inside door? By burrowing in under the soil?

    Lus.

    1. Lus, the poles go across width wise/side to side. We slip them through close together enough so that one person can hold both poles–that way it only takes two people to move the tractor. The INSIDE door is opened daily so that they can be in the beds. We close that up at night. This summer, we may move the whole contraption in to the front yard and let them free range during the day, at least when we’re home to supervise. They are the best slug control EVER. The OUTSIDE door is for us to get eggs from the next box.

      No raccoons have managed to infiltrate the chicken tractor–they can’t burrow under because the whole set of beds is laid out on rock mat, and they can’t get in the sides because there’s not quite enough space between the frame of the tractor and the wood of the beds.

      That is, SO FAR. We’ll see, I guess, if they are smart enough to eventually infiltrate. It may sound a bit cruel, but the chickens in this tractor are very old–near the end of their lives, definitely at the end of their useful laying cycle. So they are the experimental batch, to test the security of the tractor. We figure, if a raccoon gets one of them, she isn’t losing much of her life.

      Ah the sad realities of life on the (sort of) farm.

  2. I love it. A chicken vending machine is the best!

    Nice micro farm you got there, though my impression of your yard is that it is quite large. How much space do you have?

    1. Cat, we have an acre, plus like .08 or something like that. The house is built off to one side of the property, leaving more than half of it open and unobstructed except for apple trees. It’s big enough for fairly extensive veggie beds and chickens, but not enough for those things AND well fed goats or sheep. That’s probably a good thing, though, since hubster still goes off to a day job, we’re pretty much operating at capacity now anyway. If we ever win the lottery, hubster will probably quit working for someone else: then we might have to acquire more land. For now, though, what we have is the perfect size.

  3. Once upon a time we lived on an acre and a half. Then we moved to a tiny town lot. I so miss my big yard.

    Best luck on the lottery. Let me know how it turns out for you…

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