When someone mentions the word “tractor,” most people think of a large piece of machinery used for farm work, but did you know there’s such a thing as a chicken tractor? What is a chicken tractor and what is a chicken tractor used for? A chicken tractor is a small movable coop used to house chickens. It’s designed to be easily moved around the yard so the chickens can fertilize different areas of the yard with their droppings. Let’s take a closer look at chicken tractors!
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What is a Chicken Tractor?A chicken tractor is a chicken coop on wheels that allows chickens to roam freely while still being protected from predators. The chicken tractor can be moved around the yard, providing fresh grass and bugs for the chickens to eat. This coop is also easier to clean than a traditional coop, as the bottom is open and can be raked out. Chicken tractors can be purchased or built DIY style using chicken wire and recycled materials. Whether you have a small backyard or acres of land, a chicken tractor is a great way to keep your chickens protected while they free-range. Read More: How to Train Ducks to Free Range (and other cool tricks!)
Benefits of a Chicken TractorA chicken tractor is a movable chicken coop that allows chickens to graze on the grass while protecting them from predators. Chicken tractors can be built from scratch or purchased ready-made. They can be as simple as a wooden frame with chicken wire attached or more elaborate structures with finished floors and walls. There are many benefits to using a chicken tractor:
- It allows chickens to forage for their food, which can help reduce the feed cost.
- The chickens will aerate and fertilize the soil as they scratch and dig for insects, which improves the health of your lawn or garden.
- Chicken tractors can protect from predators such as dogs, foxes, and coyotes.
- Chicken tractors can be used to raise chickens in an urban setting where space is limited.
How to Build a Chicken TractorChicken tractors are typically made from chicken wire, wood, and PVC pipe. There are many videos and other ways that you can make a chicken tractor, but here’s one way you can do it.
Create the FrameThe first step in building a chicken tractor is to create the frame. The frame should be sturdy enough to support the weight of the chicken wire and the chickens. You can use wood, PVC, and another harder type of material for this.
Add Chicken WireNext, attach the chicken wire to every side of the structure, besides the bottom. Ensure the chicken wire is secured tightly so the chickens cannot escape.
Finishing TouchesFinally, add a roosting bar and a nesting box to the inside of the tractor. These will give your chickens a place to sleep and lay their eggs. When you are finished, your chicken tractor will be ready to house your feathered friends. Here’s a video showing a small-scale DIY chicken tractor:
Tips for Using a Chicken TractorHere are some tips for using a chicken tractor:
- Choose a chicken tractor that is the right size for your needs. If you have a small garden, a smaller chicken tractor will suffice. However, you will need a larger chicken tractor with a large garden.
- Place the chicken tractor in an area of your garden that needs the most help. The chickens will help to fertilize the soil and control pests.
- Move the chicken tractor every few days to give the chickens access to new areas of your garden. This will allow them to fertilize a larger area of your garden.
- Make sure the chicken tractor has plenty of food and water for the chickens. They will need access to both to stay healthy and happy.
Chicken Tractor Plans and DesignsThe chicken tractor is designed to have an open floor for your chickens to freely graze and for them to lay droppings around as fertilization. Chicken tractors protect chickens from predators, keep them safe from bad weather, and provide them with plenty of fresh air and sunlight. They are typically designed to accommodate 10-15 chickens, but smaller-scale tractors are used for 5 or fewer chickens, as well. There are so many different designs for chicken tractors so be sure to do your research when it comes to figuring out a design that works best for you. Most chicken tractor plans include:
- Nesting boxes for the hens.
- Perches for the roosting chickens.
- An access door for farmers.
- Chicken wire for “caging” or “netting”
Pros and Cons of Chicken TractorsChicken tractors are a great investment but like everything, there are a lot of pros and cons to them. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable ones.
Pros of Chicken Tractor
- Great for small or large grass areas
- Portable coop
- Extra fertilization to improve soil
- Free grazing saves on chicken feed
Cons of Chicken Tractor
- You won’t be able to do as much with a chicken tractor in regard to insulation, heating, egg production, and more
- Not suitable for more than 10-15 chickens