Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Improved Chicken Tractor

This morning we put out our second flock in their new and improved chicken tractor. The main improvements were:
  1. No plywood floor - allowing more access to grass and bugs and also eliminating need to clean up coop area.
  2. Larger fully covered area - since I didn't include a wall with chicken door, I made the back area 3 feet deep instead of only 2 feet deep to offer better protection from the elements.
  3. Extended roof over entire area to provide shade (I was surprised how much the chickens did not like direct sun)
  4. Added a small door (to the left of the huddle of chickens) - so we don't have to keep lifting the entire one end of the tractor to get the food and water in and out.
At first the little flock (Rock Cornish Cross) seemed a bit traumatized after being whisked from their nice, warm Whizbang Garden Cart in my basement, to the blustery day we were having. They just hunkered down, and fluffed out their feathers right where I put them just inside the door. But eventually they started moving around and made their way down to the more sheltered area of the tractor.

By the way, anyone know the origin of the phrase, "madder than a wet hen"? I have not had the occasion to see any of my flock wet yet, and I am a little curious as to what happens when a hen gets wet. Let me know if you can shed some light on this for me. Thanks!



At June 10, 2009 2:36 PM , Blogger Farmer Elaine said...

Just found your blog through Herrick's blog and have enjoyed what I've seen so far. Thank you for the idea about the Whizbang garden cart housing chicks. Currently we keep them in a Rubbermaid tote for the first few weeks with paper towels on the floor, then move them to a large X-pen style dog crate for the next few weeks, and finally outside. I really love the idea of them being mobile. Thanks!

At June 12, 2009 4:07 AM , Blogger tc said...

I'm glad you enjoyed your visit! One thing I found out using the Whizbang garden cart is that I kept putting in new bedding over the old, and toward the end, the growing chicks could look over the side! Fortunately, they never tried to go over the wall.

At July 12, 2009 2:56 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would also like to know what it means as we have free range chickens who will keep on scratching around in a downpour. I bet it is just chickens who have been raised inside totally that would act mad about being wet.Thats my guess.

At December 31, 2009 1:49 PM , Anonymous homestead for happiness said...

I love the look of the new tractor. Do they stay in the tractor full time? If so what kind of accommodations are in the shelter area? I was originally planning on a traditional coop with a caged yard area, but this tractor looks relatively cheap to build.. a definite plus. Great blog.

At December 31, 2009 4:52 PM , Blogger tc said...

There are no accommodations in the shelted area. I use a jar feeder and waterer which I put in and out through the door in the left front of the picture.


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