Sunday, June 9, 2013

Chicken Tractor v2.0

I put the broilers in the yard the other day.  They're happy there, but the tractor just isn't big enough for 11 of them.  My original plan was to only keep 6 of them.  That didn't happen.  Who knew how hard it would be to get rid broilers?  Everyone wants layers.  Anyway, those guys are voracious.  I can't believe the amount of food that they go through.  I added a second feeder because one wasn't enough.  Whenever I fill it, they swarm around and try to trample each other.  So, I had to separate them into smaller groups.  That required a second chicken tractor.

As luck would have it, Home Depot happened to have 42 in. treated balusters on sale for $0.89.  Regular old 2x2" PT lumber is $2.97.  Ouch!  I think I ended up buying 10 of the balusters.  I already had the 2x4 and chicken wire.

I cut 3" inches or so off of two of the balusters.  I wanted the ones on top to be longer.  That way I could attach a rope for moving the thing around.  I made the height of the thing the same height as the chicken wire.  That way I wouldn't have to spend a lot of time cutting it.
One side done.
Here's a closer view of the side.  The balusters were already cut at an angle at one end.  I'm hoping that this makes dragging it around a little easier.

I made two identical sides.  I cut the angled end off of 4 balusters and used them to attach the two sides together.  

Then I drilled holes in the top balusters that extended past the main part of the tractor.  I fed a rope through the holes a secured both ends with a eye splices.
I put a loop in the center of the rope with a simple over hand knot.
Closeup of the eye splice.
To give the birds some protection from the elements, I bought an 8' PVC roofing panel.  I cut two pieces the width of the tractor.  One was for the roof and the other for the rear.  I had one small remaining piece, so I put that on the side.
I used one of the remaining balusters across the top and attached one side of the roof panel to it.  I also attached a few balusters vertically on all four sides.  These gave me anchor points for the poultry netting and the back panel.  The final baluster was put in on an angle between the rear wall and one of the sides.  This gives the birds a place to get off the ground if they want to.
I used my staple gun to attach the poultry netting.
Back side of the chicken tractor.
I found a piece of scrap OSB in my shed.  It was left there by the previous owner.  One side of it was already painted.  I used it as a removable lid.  It'll allow me access to give them food and water.
I put in a hanging feeder.

Finally, I moved the thing to the back yard and put 5 birds in it.   I don't think they were too happy at first.  They kept looking around like they were trying to find a way out and back into the other tractor. 
I attempted to hang the water, but that didn't last long.
I'm sure they'll get used to it.  They have more space and there won't be as much fighting for food.


  1. I guess the point to meat chickens is you don't fall in love with them! They are doing their job!

    1. Yes, I don't think I'm going to miss them.

  2. This is awesome.... Looks like I have a project for the weekend :)