Monday, March 08, 2010

New Chicken Tractor:

This is where it all started. Six little baby chickens purchased last march. They were so cute, and so little. They did grow fast, though! We had our first eggs by July/August.

Back to the subject: Chicken Tractor.

I know you are saying, "Gosh, Laura, what the heck is a Chicken Tractor?" Okay, maybe your response is more colorful than that. LOL

A chicken tractor is a mobile chicken coop that you can move around your yard and/or garden areas. The chickens "work" by scratching the ground, eating the bad bugs, and fertilizing the ground all at the same time. Do you know how much bags of chicken poop cost at the farm supply store? LOLI have been researching online for months trying to figure out something better for my six chickens. I really didn't think I could build their house, runs, pens, etc., but I surprised myself and with the help of my parents and my husband, I have created several now over the past year.I am happy with the chicken coop. I am going to make a few changes to the inside, but I am pretty satisfied with what I did. It isn't a masterpiece but it is very solid and serves its purpose. I just need to get it painted.

The first chicken "pen" was so very white trashy for lack of a better term -- no offense to anyone, but it is the only sort of politically correct description I can thing up right now. It was PVC pipe stretched with chicken wire, and it was about 6' tall so I could walk inside to change their water and feed them. It looked like an eyesore in my backyard, but it was functional. After about 8 months in one place, the chickens had definitely eaten every bug and blade of any weeds or grass. In fact, the area started to become a toxic wasteland.

I got the bright idea I would just go "move" it. Well, enter me with fibromyalgia and a knee injury out trying to move a huge pen and chicken coop. Yup, you guessed it. Disaster! The pen collapsed, but the house was fine. I finally got some help to move the house to a new location, and then I set about building a new pen that wasn't so offensive to look at. Home Depot here I come! I went with wood over PVC pipe this time for strength and because I thought it looked better. I went with a much lower pen this time, and made a door on top to access the feed and water. WAY better!Next I build a portable smaller version that I could easily move around the garden and yard. Now the girls can work all day, and then go home to "roost" at night. I think they love it. I went from 1-2 eggs a day to 3-6 eggs per day. I am averaging 4 right now. Not bad for so few chickens.

It is difficult to see the smaller tractor in the background. The longer one in the front is actually their everyday pen. I made a door for it, so they can go in and be moved about the yard. When their work is done, I move them back over to their house. I have two small water and feeders attached for when they are "on-the-job". I did the same thing with the smaller tractor.

I think I am going to go try to find some small wheelbarrow wheels to add to make it easier to roll about my very uneven property.I must introduce you to the Puggle Crew. Hailey and Pugsley are my official Chicken Rustlers. Whenever one escapes, they quickly corner and put a paw on the offender until I can come pick her up. It is rather humorous. I am so glad they are gentle with the chickens. I think they believe it is a really fun "chase-me" game!

The Rewards~ These were some of our very first eggs. Trust me this is the part that the dogs love the very best! They go crazy for their chickie eggies, as they are known around here.

Doesn't the new set-up look much more professional? I never made mitered corners before, and I didn't even begin to dream it would turn out so nice. We definitely are loving what my husband has named our "Pawseeland Eggs".


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