Friday, August 26, 2011

Chicken Tractor - Well Worth the Money and Effort

I built this chicken tractor this past winter.  Our original plan was to separate our two breeds of chickens so we could hatch pure breeds.  We had australorp and production red chickens at the time.  We could isolate a few hens and a rooster collecting the eggs and placing them under a broody hen.

Well we never had any of our hens go broody.  Instead we had to purchase day old chicks from a hatchery.  We raised them in one of our bathrooms until they were ready to place in the chicken tractor.  We had a big box in the bathtub.  It was a lot of work but it worked.  I would much rather a hen care for chicks.  I don't like playing momma hen.

Day before yesterday we noticed Amelia our Muscovy duck that was sitting was off the nest and Lily our other duck was on it.  Yesterday we finally deducted what had happened.  Lily stole Amelia's eggs.  Her and the drake for some reason were picking on her.  I noticed a wound on her tail 1 1/2" x 3".  It was all bloody and raw.  We took her in, cleaned it up and isolated her in the chicken tractor that is just beyond our back porch so we could keep an eye on her.

She is doing good so far.  Our Great Pyrenees, Buttercup is happy to have something in there to guard again.  We will keep her there until she has healed then release her back with the others.  In the meantime Lily should finish hatching out the 5 eggs.  I estimate they will hatch somewhere around the first of September.  It will be our first hatching her on the homestead.

Back to the tractor.  I made it 1/2 out of salvaged material around the homestead as we are unemployed.  The rest I purchased at our local Mom & Pop hardware store in town.

It is 4'x8'x3'.  The pressure treated runners, chicken wire, and hardware were purchased.  The 1"x3" boards were stored in the barn as well as the tin which I painted to reflect the sun.  The cross boards are some I brought down from North Texas when I moved and the nesting hatch was from an old crate that was shipped to my father's old company back in the 70's.  The door handle came from a cedar branch. 

I like to use what I have around the homestead.  It is a bit of a challenge but worth it in the long run I feel.  I am very proud of my work.  Of course I had to paint it.  I wanted it to look pretty as well as be functional.  Here are some more pictures of the final product.

Nesting Hatch
Crate Stamp
I love this picture.
It is as though the tractor is being divinely blessed.


  1. Very nice. I have yet to build one. It is on the list though.

  2. I like your chicken tractor and I see a lot of people use them. But I wonder, with all the land you have, why not let the chickens go free range. You can find their nests pretty easily and it is a lot less work. I am not sure if you are still trying to keep two breeds separate and if you are of course that explains it.

  3. Our chickens are free range during the day however we put them up at night to keep them safe. Along with their guardian Opal the Great Pyrenees.

    We use the chicken tractor for breeding, brooding and as a infirmary.

  4. As for the box in the tub, I have found that getting a used baby playpen works wonders. Cut a tarp to size inside and put some shavings in there. The lights clip to the side, and you can put it anywhere. We had ours in our loft, then in the guest room, then the living room before we put them out. And it frees up a tub.

    Sam our Great Pyrenees ignores the chickens too. I thought we were just lucky. I guess they do have some good breeding.