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In 2010 I built this chicken tractor. It gave me good service. I reflect on things I liked about it and things I will do different on the next one.
Side view, note the hard small wheels and the egg box in the back.
The tarp was going to be temporary, but we ended up buying a heavy tarp to use permanently on it. It was light and we could peel it back when we wanted to
We ended up using the handcart to help move it because it was easier to pivot and turn that way.
The door worked on a pulley and was functional during the entire life of the coop
The “egg box” you can see the hardware cloth floor.
I set out with some goals.
It must be movable by one person.
It must house at least a dozen chickens.
It must be easy to clean or stay clean.
It must have easy access to the inside.
It must be secure from predators.
It must protect the chickens in my snow-belt atmosphere.
The chicken tractor worked well for about 7 years. In fact it would probably have still worked but as we were moving, I was trying to move the tractor with my John Deere tractor and had it strapped on the loader bucket and leveraged way out and the main support cracked on one side. It still worked after that but wasn’t really mobile.
What I Liked
- The A-Frame design is the best design for wooden coops in our climate. No snow load during our snow-belt winters.
- Hardware cloth was absolutely the best decision. Several predators (read neighbors dogs) tried to break in and couldn’t. My lighter tractor that was covered with Poultry Netting failed to keep them out and I lost a bunch of nearly-ready to lay poults.
- The egg box was easy to get to.
- On hard ground, fairly easy to move.
- The door on the pulley worked great the entire time it was in use.
What I Will Do Different in the future.
- Bigger Wheels and they must be pneumatic. The hard wheels would dig into the mud. My yard was soft and muddy for at least 4 months of the year and frozen for 4 months.
- Not use as winter housing. It was more than adequate to keep them warm. But you couldn’t move it in the winter and the chicken crap would build up and make the first spring move a miserable affair.
- Side hatch on the A-Frame and no small wire (hardware cloth) floor. The Chicken crap would not fall through and build up in their and had to be scraped out to fall through. Then they would lay on top of it instead of in the box.
- a couple of braces across the center bottom.
NOTE: I tried posting video on Dtube but it kept erroring out. I will try again later and come back and update the link if it works. I do have a youtube link but I don’t want to direct you there because I’m trying to move away from them. If I get the dtube to work I’ll post the longer “build video” also.