Thursday, August 10, 2006

Chicken Tractor

What is a chicken tractor, a reader asked? It is not what you might think:

A chicken tractor is a small, mobile chicken pen with a small coop. The idea is that a small number of chickens can be put in the pen, and the pen can be moved around, weeding the area under the pen and fertilizing it at the same time.

Our chickens are free-ranged, but must be cooped up at night or risk being eaten. When we demolished the barn, their coop was also demolished, so I had to come up with a coop rather quickly. I built this rather rough chicken tractor in three days.

As you can see, there isn't much room in the "yard" part of it, but there are roosts made of dowel rods in the enclosed coop which comfortably fits all seven chickens with room for more. We let them out in the morning and at dusk, they put themselves to bed. We only have to shut the door. When the floor becomes littered, we push it to a new location (using PVC pipe underneath to roll it).

Considering I've never built anything of wood in my life, I guess I did okay. I do now understand why men building houses cuss.

Here is a better chicken tractor Dh built one winter, which is now being used to house Chicken Licken' and her three chicks:

The three hens looking from the outside in are not interested in the chicks, as you might suspect. They are checking to see that I didn't throw any nice morsels of food to the chicks that they could steal.

The barn is now completely gone. Dh says good riddance, but I miss it. I have many memories in that barn. It was necessary, given that many of the posts supposedly holding it up were rotted at the base and it was ready to come down. I fear the newer barn won't have the character of the older barn, but will be brighter, easier to clean and healthier for the horses.

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