Chicken Tractor Build Thread

Discussion in 'Coops, Runs and Housing' started by Keith, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. Keith

    Keith New Member

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    I have started work on my chicken tractor. The whole structure is 12 feet in length, 5 feet in width and 5 feet in height with the actual coop portion being 5' x 5'.

    So far it's been a design as you go project. I finished the frame on Tuesday and last night started work on the coop portion. The plan is to construct a removable floor that will allow for easy cleaning then have fixed roosts structured like a ladder leading to the nesting boxes.

    Very open to suggestions and will continue to update this thread with new photos as I make more progress.

    This is from the first day, it's just the frame built out.

    chicken_tractor.JPG

    This is from yesterday, we have the platform built out that the removable floor will go on. We put the floor at 18" but the floor frame is 17", so should accommodate even larger birds.

    chickentractor2.jpg
     
  2. LdMorgan

    LdMorgan New Member

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    Have you worked out the finished weight of it? I find that any ark over about 90 lbs is a pain to move by hand, especially on soft dirt.
     

  3. Fiona

    Fiona New Member

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    Keith, would you mind giving me a quick instruction on how to put the photos into your text? I tried, but had no luck. I'm sure the two glasses of wine had nothing to do w/it!
     
  4. weirdo

    weirdo New Member

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    Are you putting it on wheels?
     
  5. Keith

    Keith New Member

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    Yep! Back portion will have 2x4's with the wheels attached and then the front will have a tongue to lift up.

    I lifted it yesterday without issue so I am hoping it will be movable by a single person once done.
     
  6. Keith

    Keith New Member

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    Didn't get much done last night.

    Got the floor cut, got the frame for the nest boxes done and a single perch made.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Keith

    Keith New Member

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    Got the nesting boxes done tonight sans the egg door.

    Spent some time thinking about the roost. Decided to go with a removable roost in addition to the removable floor only letting the roost not touch the floor so you could remove the floor without messing with the roost. Going to tackle that tomorrow night.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. ChickenAdmin

    ChickenAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    What do you estimate the overall weight to be?
     
  9. Keith

    Keith New Member

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    I really have no clue. I lifted it and pivoted it last night without wheels with no issue so I think it will work.
     
  10. LdMorgan

    LdMorgan New Member

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    I would recommend that after you have all the woodwork done, you toss the roll of chicken wire you would be using on top, and run a few laps around the yard with the unfinished ark to see how it actually handles in the rough. Doing a weight test before you attach the wire makes lightening the frame (etc.) a lot easier if it turns out to be necessary.

    Ditto for modifying the wheel system, if you need to.

    If the unit is too heavy to move EASILY you'll find yourself moving it less & less often, possibly even delaying until the chickens have a bare dirt run--which is something you shouldn't do.

    The whole idea behind having an ark is to give the chickens fresh graze every day or two. If they wind up eating everything green in their run, they are having to eat stuff they would normally bypass. Less nutritious plant parts, etc.

    Basically, the chickens should never eat more than about 25% of the greenery in their run before you move them to fresh pastures.

    So you will definitely want to be able to trundle your ark around like a shopping cart.

    Re that: You should not have to do anything at all to ready your ark for a move. Just grab it & go. That means no feeders or waterers sitting on the ground, and a floating chicken ladder that won't stub into the ground as you move the ark.
     
  11. Keith

    Keith New Member

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    I am somewhat confident I will be able to move it by hand else I will use the tractor. I got some good all terrain tires and was able to pivot then drag it yesterday.

    Made some more progress. I got the nesting boxes finished as well as the egg hatch. Finished the roost and installed it. I got one side skinned with chicken wire. I made the front door but haven't skinned in. Should make a lot of progress fast this week. Ready for it to be done and starting the next phase.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. rob

    rob New Member

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    looking good. will follow this thread with interest :)
     
  13. ChickenAdmin

    ChickenAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    Looking nice Keith!
     
  14. jn4

    jn4 New Member

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    impressive!
     
  15. Keith

    Keith New Member

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    Got the wheels installed tonight. All terrain tires from tractor supply with a side axle kit for each support board.

    Was able to pick it up and move it around pretty easy, see how well it conveys once it hits dirt though.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. ChickenAdmin

    ChickenAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    It's really starting to come together.

    How long before you're finished?
     
  17. Keith

    Keith New Member

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    I just do a little each night after the kids go to bed, probably have another week left. Working on getting the chickens now lined up for shipping.
     
  18. rob

    rob New Member

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    coming together nicely.
     
  19. Keith

    Keith New Member

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    Thanks rob! Should have a lot more photos tonight and this weekend as I will be finishing it.

    We will be getting 10 Rhode Island Red and Buff Orpington on the 11th so now we have to be completely finished by then and ready for them.