Monday, March 4, 2013

The chicken tractor

If you plan to keep chickens, you need someplace to keep them. Sure, we currently have ours in two blanket-style chests in the spare room, but they will soon out grow them and need some outside time.

(The bigger pullets are old enough, but the temperatures are still too cold for us to be comfortable with leaving them outside.)

Our permanent chicken structures will include a converted dog pen and a chicken tractor that allows the chickens to be relocated to different areas of the yard. (I didn't even know what a chicken tractor was until a few weeks ago.)

I decided to build the chicken tractor first. So it was off to the Internet to research and get a good dose of paralysis through over analysis. There are so many different options and requirements to be considered while building your tractor.

Each chicken needs at least a 4 square foot grazing area. With 15 birds, that comes out to 60 square feet total. So I decided to start with some 2x4s and shaped a rectangular base of 6f feet by 10 feet.

By the next morning, I took it back apart and ripped the 2x4s into 2x2s and added some corner braces. This would lighten the project a little and retain the strength required.

Next came the rafter system. I ripped some more 2x2s and built 6 trusses, adding them to the plate. I tied these all together using a couple lengths of 1x4 along the top. These will allow ventilation and a place to secure the "ridge cap". (I also secured some chicken wire under the ridge board on the forward section.)

If you haven't noticed, I'm kind of making this up as I go along.

1 comment:

  1. I've got a Chicken tractor to make soon (we call them arks over here). I've found that keeping them light is the key. Your's looks a good size


Let me know what you think! Comments and suggestions are always welcome!