Chicken tractors, or portable chicken coops, are small hen houses that you can move easily around your backyard or garden. This has several advantages over a static chicken coop:
• Cheap to make
• Easy to keep clean
• Uses little space in your backyard
• Free fertilizing for your garden (the chickens do it for you as you move the chicken tractor around!)
• Constant new supply of insects and vegetation for the chickens (makes for tasty eggs)
• Ability to move chickens into the shade in hot weather or shelter such as a garage when it’s cold
• Off-putting for predators (they do not like targets that move around)
• Temporary housing for the chickens when cleaning their static coop
A typical chicken tractor is 3 or 4 feet long, 4 feet wide and 3 or 4 feet high, usually with a triangular cross-section and some shelter or housing inside. It has no floor. Wheels or skids can be fitted to make movement easier, but these are not essential. A chicken tractor can be made in a few hours, using cheap wood and chicken wire. It will certainly be much cheaper than buying a ready-made one, and you will be able to make it exactly the way you want it.
If you decide that you want more chickens – and have the space to accommodate them comfortably – then you could add a static chicken coop and use the chicken tractor as an extension. This would give you greater flexibility in looking after your hens.
Once you have decided to build a chicken tractor, it is important to get a good set of plans and some professional advice before you start work. Building a chicken tractor is easy but it is not simply a case of hammering a few pieces of wood and some wire together. Your design will depend on a number of factors, such as the breed of chickens and the site where the portable chicken coop will be located. These and other factors will determine your choice of materials, size of wire mesh and so on, and this is where the expert guidance will be needed.
You will often see free plans for chicken tractors offered on the internet but, in our experience, these are invariably of poor quality, virtually useless for actually building a proper structure and, sometimes, positively dangerous for the chickens to be kept in them. We recommend that you put money into proper plans used by specialist designers regarding chicken coops – those who have chickens on their own and understand what’s needed for healthy as well as happy chickens. Good quality plans will likely include full details of all the materials as well as tools necessary.
If you would like more information on building chicken tractors, you are welcome to visit our website. We have some good ideas to help you.