I had the pleasure of facilitating a community chicken tractor build day last Saturday. It was sponsored by Danby Land Bank. And you can see information with a few photos at danbylandbank.com
Part of what we were out to accomplish was to have our experience contribute to others interested in this way of raising chickens.
There are photos, drawings, anecdotes, material and tool lists being compiled.
I invite anyone interested in this to contact me. I plan to have the first set of drawing/plans and photos available in the next week.
This looks great. I hope you'll be able to make the plans and photos available.
We don't have much level land at our house, so rather than build a chicken tractor, Buzz is planning on enclosing an area for our meat birds, and building a rustic shelter for them. We have fenced the whole property, so we are hoping our losses to predation will be minimal. This is the first time we're trying meat birds, and I'm curious to see how much area they need - will we need a tractor or will the area he's planned be big enough for them?
How many are you raising? We keep about 25 in ours, and move it daily to fresh grass, it's about 8 feet long, with cover at one end. Works great! I made it out of scrap lumber and chicken wire. Old mower wheels work great on them if you want to make them easier to move...we have ours on a hill, so we didn't put wheels on it. (Can you say chicken amusement park ride? That would be funny to watch going down hill! LOL)
How do you keep the racoons from reaching in and tearing the birds apart with this design? Are you planning to bring them into a barn at night?
Oh, guess I just can't see the chicken wire in the photo.
Yeah, we have had both the experience of the racoons tearing through the chicken wire (the woven wire, too, is a good plan to prevent that), and also, I swear, they work in teams. One will make a lot of threatening noise on one side of the tractor, and, yes, the chickens move away.... and the other 2 racoons on the other side will then start pulling chicken meat off the chickens from the other side.
But, we live in the middle of a veritable nature preserve...
Here is a report on the predation issue that was a concern of many of you. I worked on with people in the Danby Land Bank building two of these chicken tractors. We raised about forty Rock Cornish Cross chickens. We lost no birds to predators. From my observations the quality that made a difference is having no openings for predators to get through. This design is covered with chicken wire from sill to top; the sill connection to the ground was sealed. The sill is a square wood frame that is easily sealed to the ground with wood 4 x 4s placed up against the sill. The tractors are moved regularly so animals that would dig under the perimeter will probably not get under before the pen is moved.