Thursday, November 01, 2012

Chicken Tractor

I like chickens.  There was a long, successful time when I had a secure henhouse and chicken pen where I kept a few chickens, and enjoyed fresh eggs.  Then I got one of my several jobs in the past, I forget which one, and decided I didn't need chickens to chore after.  Then more recently we started traveling, mostly on weekend trips but also a few week-long ones.  Although I was wishing for chickens again, I didn't feel it was fair to get them and then expect someone else to care for them.  
Lately we have seen our travels decrease, and I mentioned occasionally to Cliff that I'd like to have a small chicken-tractor and two or three hens.  The following is pretty much what I had in mind:
I knew mine wouldn't be that fancy, since Cliff is the first to tell you that he isn't a carpenter.  But this is basically what I had in mind, something that I could move around without bugging him.  Chickens love grass and bugs.  You can put this thing in unused areas of the garden; when the chickens have eaten all the grass and scratched down to the dirt and pooped all over it, you move their little house to fresh ground.  You can google "chicken tractor" and come up with all sorts of ideas for building these.  
I honestly thought he was ignoring my talk about chickens, but a couple of days ago he set to work.   He doesn't want to go buy materials for any project if he can help it, so he decided to use what he had on hand.  

I will lift this up to get the eggs

   This is at least twice the size I had in mind, but on the bright side, I could have more chickens if I wanted them.  I'd love to have two hens, or three at most.  Trouble is, most hens for sale this time of year are eighteen months to two years old and won't lay until next February or March.  I would be feeding them all winter for nothing.  If I could find some pullets that hatched last May or June, they would be just about ready to start laying and would lay all winter.  I'm watching Craigslist.  
Chickens eat all sorts of table scraps, and in summer they eat garden waste such as rotton tomatoes and fruit peelings.  This will help with the feed bill.  I'm pretty sure two hens would  keep Cliff, me, and his sister next door in eggs.  I would prefer either Rhode Island Red or Barred Rock chickens, because they are tamer than some breeds and yet lay an egg almost every day.
barred rock
production red
We will wait to see whether they lay in their nest or someplace else; if they use the roost provided; if varmints can dig under the edge and kill them; and so forth.  Animals don't always do what we expect them to.  
We can't turn chickens loose during the day because of hawks and dogs, and they have to be shut in at night because of raccoons, foxes, and opossums.  The chicken tractor should take care of these problems.       


Hyperblogal said...

Certainly looks good to me.

Traci DeSheles said...

We have black stars and they are very tame as well. I want a tractor but I'll have to wait on that! Cliff did a great job!

Leilani Lee said...

Great idea. A local family advertises "pastured poultry" -- turkeys and chickens and gets a premium price for them too. One of my favorite hens was a production red... very big sigh. Uhhh... it doesn't have wheels? That means you can't move it without the tractor?

Forty Pound Sack said...

So not what I thought a chicken tractor was, LOL! I was tempted to Google it but wanted to wait for you instead. Pretty cool! I never knew how pretty chickens were until I visited Hawaii and saw them up close. They run wild - everywhere - on Kauai since a hurricane 20 years ago or so scattered tehm from their homes ~

Jean said...

I like your chicken tractor, and Cliff did a great job. Hope you find your chickens soon.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

There is never a dull moment at your house it seems. Glad Cliff is so handy there. Hope you can find your chickens now

Lisa said...

Awwwww hope you find the chickens you want soon, hugs

Lori said...

That is such a cool idea. I had never heard of or seen a chicken tractor. Cliff did a great job, too!

Donna said...

Leilani, Cliff will move it with the tractor, which is no big deal. He uses the tractor for something almost every day anyhow. Plus, this chicken tractor is so big, it won't have to be moved often.

darev2005 said...

Very cool. Is there anything Cliff can't make?