Chicken Tractor

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Our big project over the past month was building this chicken tractor.  It’s a mobile chicken coop that can house about 50 birds.  We designed it so that it can be moved from place to place across our property, giving the chickens continual access to fresh grass and worms, while fertilizing the land with the chicken’s waste.  After building it we got a lot of questions about it, so we thought a little step-by-step “how to” about the chicken tractor would make a great subject for the very first Senkos Farm blog post.  Enjoy!

chicken blog2STEP 1: We bought a used 4’ x 8’ trailer off of craigslist. This formed the base   of our chicken coop on wheels.  Before we could start turning it into a coop, we had to rip off some random hardware and plywood that were attached to it.

chicken blog3STEP 2: We bolted 2×4”s to the frame.  We then stapled 1×2” wire mesh (the kind used for rabbit hutches)  to the 2×4”s so that the bottom of the chicken tractor will be open and all of the chicken poop will fall down to the ground.

STEP 3: We framed 4 the four walls and nailed them to the frame and to one another.  We used almost all reclaimed lumber from our barn for this project.

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STEP 4: We sheeted 3 of the walls with ¼” plywood.  We covered oneside wall with the same wire mesh we used on the bottom so that the coop will get lots of light and encourage the birds to be outside.

chicken blog5STEP 5: Our friend Matt helped us frame a slightly oversized roof slanting towards the front of the coop. Eventually we’ll put up a  gutter to capture rainwater off of the metal  roofing.

STEP 6: On the backside we built 6 nest boxes.  The bottom four open from the top.  The top 2 are higher so they open from the side.chicken blog6chicken blog7


STEP 7: Then we crawled inside the coop and covered the next boxes up with ¼” plywood, and cut 6”x 6” holes into each box for the chickens to get in and out. We installed 8 roosts to help the chickens get up to the boxes and to give them somewhere to sleep at night. For the roosts we used  big straight branches that we found out by the creek.

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STEP 8: We made it look nice.  We painted it barn red, trimmed it in white, and spray painted the metal trailer frame black. Also, we bolted a piece of 1” plywood to the front of the trailer so we have a little shelf/storage space to keep food, water, and other heavy thing and we mounted a small solar panel to the roof.

chicken blog9STEP 9: Since we don’t have a real tractor yet, our “chicken tractor” had to be moved to its first location by our one and only work horse.

chicken blog10Thankfully our friend Max lent us a hand.

chicken blog11Lastly, we set up 164’ of electric fence, powered by the  solar panel on top of the coop.

chicken blog12In the end we built one more small addition- a feeder.  Eventually we’ll paint it to match the chicken tractor.

chicken blog13The coop turned out to be more than plenty of room for the 25 hens and one rooster that we bought  from our friends Mike and Linda at Terra Farma.  So far they appear to be loving it!

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