Saturday, August 24, 2013

Just for Patsy: Here's what was wrong with our chicken tractors.

I tried to describe a chicken tractor to Cliff.  I even showed him some pictures on the Internet.  He worked with what he had, and here's what he came up with.
What you see him working on at this point is a door that I can reach into and get an egg out of the nest.  
Problem #1:  There is no other door anywhere for me to put a feeder and waterer in the pen or house, nor any way I can get in and catch a chicken if I need to.  After I explained this to him, although he still wasn't so sure I knew what I was talking about, he fixed the front end of the pen so it could be opened.  
Problem #2:  A chicken tractor needs to be moved at least every day to keep the chickens on fresh grass.  This thing is so heavy, it takes a tractor to move it.

  Here is a picture I found online to show Cliff.  As you can see, it has a handle on one end and wheels on the other, so it can be moved by one person.  I don't know if it has any opening through which you could put a waterer or feeder, though.  Cliff said if we put wheels on ours, varmints could get in and kill the chickens.  

Here's what the home-made chicken tractor looked like, with chickens.  

Then Cliff saw an ad on Craigslist.  Somebody was making and selling small chicken houses with attached pen, big enough for one or two hens.  "This is just what you need," he said.  
Well, the picture looked good.  The chicken house looked like it ought to work.  I have searched my blog, but can't find a picture of the chicken house with pen, only this picture of the back of the house where the nest area was.
However, on the one I bought, the roof of the next compartment didn't slant and was made of two boards.  If it rained or snowed, it dripped through the crack between the two boards and soaked the straw in the nest.  Also, while there was a door on the side of the house, there was no door to the pen.  There really wasn't enough room for feeders and waterers in the house, so Cliff managed to fix a door in the front of the pen.  
As time went by, the hens decided they didn't want to lay eggs in the nest or roost on the roost.  They took to roosting in the nest area, pooping in there all night long.  They laid their eggs on the floor.  

It was a mess.  So Patsy, if you can get around all these problems, more power to you.  



Oh my. What a dilemma.

patsy said...

I think chicken tractors are made for younger chickens like the ones you eat I have some young bantam pullets I am going to put in mine.

Cliff said...

My daughters latest chickens to succumb to varmints were killed by one of her dogs.
The survivors are doing well however. She's getting at least a dozen eggs per day.
Our tomatoes just hit full production about a week ago. But the season is late anyway and we're about 1 week behind you guys because of our distance north.

Celeste Sanders said...

My chicken tractor is much larger. Problem is Pat forgot to put wheels on it and it would take a TRACTOR to move it! Lucky for me, when tax guy came to reassess our property value he did not include my chicken tractor/pen because of mp foundation!