Anyone have any plans for really slick chicken tractors? - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 04/22/13, 12:41 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Mustang, OK
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Anyone have any plans for really slick chicken tractors?

I see a lot of plans on the net for these giantic chicken mobile homes. They look like you should have a hitch to move them. I'm looking for the ultimate in efficiency. Something that has been well thought out.

Any ideas?

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Old 04/22/13, 01:13 PM
WildernesFamily's Avatar
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Location: Northern Missouri
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What chickens are you planning on raising in them? We built a chicken hoop house to house meat chickens in the Spring and Fall. It works very well for that purpose, although right now it has been housing our ducks. I have seen people use them for layers, you just have to add nesting boxes. With meat chickens it needs to be moved daily.

You build it using cattle panels with a tarp over the top. They are not cheap to build, but they are very long lasting and very sturdy. DH and I can move them if we pull together (built on skids), or we can hook it to our garden tractor and pull it that way. Pulling it any way but backward or forward may be a bit harder though.

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Old 04/22/13, 05:01 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Mustang, OK
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I was thinking for laying hens.

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Old 04/23/13, 10:12 AM
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: east texas
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We want pics

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  #5  
Old 04/23/13, 03:30 PM
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This is our hoop house. You can see more pics here:

http://s187.photobucket.com/user/Cou...y/Hoop%20House





Cons are:

  1. If your area isn't very flat, there may be gaps around the perimeter which smaller chicks can escape through, but I think that is true for most open bottom chicken tractors.
  2. If your chicks are super dumb like cornish cross chicks are, they have to be herded by someone *inside* the hoop house while it moves, otherwise they will get squished by the back beam.
  3. If you are going to attach nesting boxes to the hoop house in some way, it will make it much heavier to move. If the nesting boxes can be free standing, that would be easier/lighter.
  4. We did have the whole thing flip on us the first year we used it, when we had some incredibly strong and fast wind. It is heavy enough to withstand most wind though.
  5. It will take two fairly strong people to pull it. We anchored rope onto the two skids, both front and back, and move it that way.
I hope that helps Like I said, it has worked exceptionally well for our meat birds, and has housed our ducks this past winter, we used some hay bales for extra insulation for them. The difference in meat birds raised in a permanent pen and in this was day and night, they were so much cleaner and happier, and when they were old enough we would open up the door and let them free range a bit during the day. They didn't get as nasty dirty as cornish have a tendency to get. The back tarp can be rolled down so that airflow can go straight through on warmer days, and rolled up for cooler days.

If you still want to know more, you can read about it on our (haven't updated in AGES!) blog: http://wildernesfamily.blogspot.com/...cken-hoop.html


ETA: Someone who put nesting boxes inside a hoop house, pretty neat way to do it: http://adventuresinthegoodland.blogs...r-turkeys.html
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Old 04/23/13, 04:24 PM
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: South Carolina
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Mine does have a hitch, you can move it with the lawn mower, golfcart or what ever you wish. So easy to move my Grand Daughter can move it. The little fenced in yards on each end are winched up with the boat winch on the side.

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Old 04/23/13, 07:44 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: North-central Virginia, Zone 7a
Posts: 676

DH is building a truck-cap layer house this weekend, but we'll be doing a cattle panel broiler tractor in a few weeks. We've been working with this book for ideas--see if you can find a copy at the library (that's where we first saw it):

Chicken Coops: 45 Building Ideas for Housing Your Flock

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Old 04/23/13, 11:12 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Indiana
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Have you looked through "Chicken Tractor" by Andy Lee and Patricia Foreman? It has some good plans that they developed through trial and error. It will give you a tractor that will keep your birds safe, yet still can be moved by one person, by hand. DH used those plans to build ours, but could not be convinced that the author had worked through predator issues. Consequently, he reinforced every area that he could . Now it takes EVERYTHING I've got to budge it.

Good book with a lot of good ideas.

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Old 04/24/13, 05:52 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
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Mine looks heavy, but I pull it with my mower. It's 4'x7' with the coop on top, run on bottom.

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Old 04/24/13, 04:02 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
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I'm raising broilers now, and was thinking to build a tractor too, for next time. But my question is...do you guy's put the chickens in and out every day? What do you do if bad weather hits, or what about leaving them in over night...I did'nt see any any real shelter?
I have 12 broilers in a large coop area, and and a good size dirt center isle, but sometimes move them outside, one by one...big pain. Then have to carry them back in, they're so dumb, and lazy. They are soooo filthy, and smelly, so I need to clear out and clean the area they're in 2-3x a day!! If I don't come up with an easier/cleaner plan, I'll never raise them again.

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Old 04/24/13, 04:38 PM
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: South Carolina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dazlin View Post
I'm raising broilers now, and was thinking to build a tractor too, for next time. But my question is...do you guy's put the chickens in and out every day? What do you do if bad weather hits, or what about leaving them in over night...I did'nt see any any real shelter?
I have 12 broilers in a large coop area, and and a good size dirt center isle, but sometimes move them outside, one by one...big pain. Then have to carry them back in, they're so dumb, and lazy. They are soooo filthy, and smelly, so I need to clear out and clean the area they're in 2-3x a day!! If I don't come up with an easier/cleaner plan, I'll never raise them again.
My chickens have been in this tractor for 2 years. If it rains heavy they just get under the bottom, under the white tarp on get inside.

I have several chicken tractors and they are not removed from the tractor for the weather. I always got something they can get under if it rains.
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Old 04/24/13, 08:33 PM
WildernesFamily's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dazlin View Post
I'm raising broilers now, and was thinking to build a tractor too, for next time. But my question is...do you guy's put the chickens in and out every day? What do you do if bad weather hits, or what about leaving them in over night...I did'nt see any any real shelter?
I have 12 broilers in a large coop area, and and a good size dirt center isle, but sometimes move them outside, one by one...big pain. Then have to carry them back in, they're so dumb, and lazy. They are soooo filthy, and smelly, so I need to clear out and clean the area they're in 2-3x a day!! If I don't come up with an easier/cleaner plan, I'll never raise them again.
I would never raise broilers again either if they couldn't be in a movable pen. They get GROSS!

We leave ours in the hoop house, we don't carry them back and forth. There is an oil tarp over the whole thing and a back tarp that can be pulled up in bad weather, so then three sides are covered. They bed down on the grass at night. We only raise them in the Spring and Fall when temps are neither too hot nor too cold.

They get fed in there, watered in there and the hoop house gets moved once a day.

We haven't had a problem with predators getting at the chickens, but if you have a big predator problem in your area your results may vary.
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Old 04/25/13, 03:52 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
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Oh yes, the predators can be another problem...never know when they'll strike. As we speak, I saw something large, brownish, with a tail. So I set atrap last night, and today It was moved to the other side of the pasture. The door was closed, but the food (can cat food) still in it. Thought my husband moved it, but he said move what?? So unless these broilers taste like something out of heaven, I'm out. If they do...I'll have to come up with a design that covers weather, predators, access for food and water, and mostly to be able to move it.
I have a portable run (hub built) I add to a coop, and the purpose was to be able to move it around...yeah right!! So I really don't know if a tractor is at all possible. I also read here, the hoop house flipped in the wind...we get strongs winds/storms here in Florida, ...another thing to consider. UHHHH wonder why nobody ever told me about the delights of raising broilers...

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