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I had a few days when I was home from work and build 3 new tractors. I had built some patterned after Joel Salatins tractors that were 8' x 10' and covered partly with sheet metal. I have found them for our smaller areas that are uneven and rocky to be difficult to use. They were too heavy for my wife and kids to move, even with the wheel dolly under the back. My new tractors are about half the size at only 4' x 8', but are way lighter as I used no sheet metal only tarps for a covering and much less wood as the top is framed with conduit. We will see how they work in the next few months, but I think they will be much better. The access is easier with a door in the end and they are much more airy inside, so I think will be better for the chickens as well. Hard to see in the pictures but there is a treated 2x4 running down each 8' side as a runner and therefore a 1 1/2" gap in the front and back, which makes it easier to pull around. I attached chain to be able to move these with the 4 wheeler, but they can actually be pushed around by hand quite easily.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
The door is still small at 2' x 3', but definitely better than the Salatin design with the top hatch and only 2' height throughout. I am not knocking his design and we are still using the tractors I built like his, but I have done away with the dolly. I placed treated 2 x 4 runners down each side to act as skids and drilled a 1/2" hole in each corner where I used a bolt to attach small pieces of chain (about 4 links) I then have a short light chain with hooks on each end and we hook it to 2 corners and use the 4 wheeler to move them.
 

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BTW, the roof is framed with 3/4" conduit. I used 3, 10' pieces and it is 4' down each slope. A person could probably get away with 1/2" and may even be able to make the slop less steep and use 8' pieces or so, but since it comes in 10' sticks I am not sure much cost would be saved. This one has a 8' x 6' tarp on it and I will also show you a picture of one I used a 8' x 10' tarp on, which should offer more protection if used in the winter.
 

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Here is a picture of the one with the bigger 8'x10' tarp. I used zip ties to attach both the upper wire to the conduit and also to attach the tarp. These went together real quick, with a minimum amount of material. I expect this will be the design I use to make more when needed, but we will see after some actual use. I like the big Salatin tractors and on a big open field I think they would work great, but when we are working in smaller yard spaces or places with trees and uneven ground they were just difficult. Keep in mind with chicks the bottom has to sit pretty flat all the way around or it will leave little gaps where the chicks can go under (ask me how I know??)
 

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Here is a picture of 2 of my Salatin design tractors for anyone unfamiliar with them. They are a simple 8'x10' box 2' in height. Access is by a 4'x4' hatch located on top. Half of the top is covered with tin, the other half wire. Half of the sides are covered with tin, the other half wire. I think in the winter or harsh weather they will offer more protection, but they do require flatter more even surfaces to use, and much more effort to move.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
dfr,
Thanks for the kind words. Again I will say none of these are my original ideas. I have taken ideas from those I have seen here and other places and changed their design a bit based on my needs and materials available to me. Here are a few other threads on some different tractors I built a few months back that might interest you if you are thinking of building some new tractors. None really better than others, just made different for different uses.

http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/livestock-forums/poultry/520882-my-new-garden-tractors.html

http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/livestock-forums/poultry/520896-my-new-field-tractors.html

Hope this helps with some ideas. Please let me know if I can answer any specific questions, glad to help another HT'er. I know many have helped me.
 

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Household Six
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I have sent Household Seven links to this thread and the garden tractor one! Quick question: where do you get the nipples to make those waterers?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The nipples I ordered on e-bay. you can get them in different size packages I think I got a bag of 50 and they were fairly inexpensive. they also make a similar nipple with a cup under it for very small chicks. They learn to use these nipples very quickly. I suspect the red color helps and they can not resist pecking at blood colored things.

here is a link or you can simply visit ebay and enter "Poultry Water nipples"

http://www.ebay.com/itm/50-Pack-Nip...515?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2ed0394023
 

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Great chicken tractors.Great thread.:D Hindsight is always 20/20. Thanks for letting us in on yours . I just got a harbor freight trailer to build a trailer set up like this.[ame="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wI9Arel9tQ"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wI9Arel9tQ[/ame]
Are hawks thick there too thats the only downside i see on this set up.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I have seen some hawks around, but never heard of anyone having issues with them. Since I have been letting my chickens out into the pig pasture during the day, I actually have pigeons coming in from somewhere eating along with them. But then again, I only have full grown chickens running lose, I intend to keep the pullets in the tractors until they are full grown then out them out to pasture. Now once I move over to the 20 acres where it is more wooded, I may have more issues with predator birds??
 

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Oh, if those are ultra light, mine are super ultra light~ haha. I built mine out of 1x2s and they last about 2 seasons until the joints start giving. But at $15 to build and me being able to move alone its worth it!


i do like youur food systems, though. i need to some up with something ike that, too
 

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(formerly Laura Jensen)
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Nice tractors! Can you show more detail on your feed and water systems, please?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Laura, I will see if I have better pictures on my computer. If so, I will post them. The water part is made from 3" pvc. The lengths are totally random, you can make them what ever length you want and they will still work, just will have more or less capacity. I think on these I used a 90 degree elbow, a 24" piece and a 6" piece of pipe. 2 pipe caps and 4 nipple waterer's. Glue the pipe cap onto the end of the 24" piece, glue the 90 onto the other end of the 24" piece, then glue the 6" piece into the other side of the 90. The six inch piece points up and this will be where you pour water in and the 2nd pipe cap is the cover for this, you take on and off (note; drill a small 1/4" hole in the cover or it will create a suction and not let much water out of the nipples). I do not remember the thread size?, but then on the bottom of the 24" pipe you will drill and tap the holes for the nipples (I use 4 nipples evenly spaced apart, which seems to be enough) I know some have been able to screw these in without tapping the hole first, but I found it easier to run a tap in the hole first. make sure your glue joints are good or it will leak. Then I use plumbers tape to attach these to the wooden frame, at what ever height I choose. Keep in mind there is no perfect height. If you make it low enough for bittys, when the chickens get older it will be too low. I use small jar waterer's when they are bitty's and locate these higher up so they can use them from pullet size on up. I have been trying to think of a good way to make them where I can move them up and down as needed, but have not got that one figured out yet, as it has not been a big deal for me.

The feeder's are basically the same thing, but I use 4" pvc pipe. 2 pipe caps, one 90 degree elbow, one 30" piece of pipe and one 16" piece of pipe (again random lengths, many sizes will probably work). Glue the pipe cap on the end of the 16" piece, glue the other end into the 90, then glue the 30' piece into the other side of the 90, the last cap is your fill cover to take on and off (do not drill a hole in the feed fill covers, as it is not needed and will only let water in and ruin your feed). Now stand it up as it will be in use with the 30" piece pointing up and make the holes for the chickens to feed out of, in the 16" section. I have tried 2 different ways for this. The first time I cut the 16" pipe half into, removing the top (leave the pipe cap on the end whole, only cut up to it, not into it.) then I removed the top piece I cut out, but with such a big opening they scratched a lot of feed out and wasted it. (someone here suggested using a piece of wire to place in here where they have to reach through to get the feed, which is probably a good idea) This time I used a 3" hole saw and made 4 holes in the top, still waiting to see how well this will work, or if it will be better. Also, important to drill 1 or 2, 1/4" weep holes in the bottom of the pipe, so if water does get in somehow, it will drain out the bottom and not fill your feed pipe up like a bowl.

I know, I hate reading directions too and a picture is worth a 1000 words, but I hope this helps, and I will look for some pictures to see if I have some more.
 

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(formerly Laura Jensen)
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Thanks for all the info, Muleman!
 
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