This week Son began building the chicken tractor for our first chickens. We are looking to house 6 chickens in the tractor. Son designed the tractor in his head.
Dimensions are 4' x 8' x 3' with a taller 4' section in the back end for the chicken roost.
I used to think, based on all the chicken coop plans I saw, that chickens needed coops almost as airtight and insulated as our own homes. Then, I read about open sided coops aka three-sided chicken houses. The idea that chickens are healthier in housing that does not allow the build-up of ammonia which harms their lungs makes a lot of sense to me. It also makes sense that chickens, like other birds, are able to handle the cold as long as they don't have drafts. Birds, after all, roost in trees! So, the tractor is designed to provide a roosting area that is open bottomed and with ventilation at the top.
At the front end will be an access door for entering the tractor to tend to the chickens. The back-end will have the nestbox bump-out where our ladies will be depositing their eggs.
The tractor will move on wheels. Those square blocks on the corners are for adding stability to the structure and to provide an attachment base for the wheels. We got wheels that will carry more weight than the tractor will weigh but figured that would help guarantee ease of move-ability.
Yes, Son plans on closing the gap between the bottom frame and the ground so that undesirable movement between outside and inside is eliminated while still maintaining the mobility of the tractor.
I am proud to report that the structure is quite sturdy while being lightweight enough for even my mother to move. Soon, we'll have six lovely ladies tilling garden beds, eating bugs, and laying eggs in the prettiest tractor in a tri-state area! Only thing left to decide is what color to paint the pretty thing! (Anyone got any leftover outdoor paint they want to donate?)
We might not be quite there yet...but we are quite excited about the progress we are making! (I'll post pictures of the completed coop soon!)