Jane's Delicious Garden Blog


Chicken Tractor

Posted in Garden Diary by Jane Griffiths on the October 5th, 2011

I first heard about a chicken tractor from one of my American magazines about ten years ago. It was a review of a book a homesteader had written about using chickens to till and fertilise the land. I wanted one. And now (finally!!) I have a chicken tractor with four happy hens installed in my garden.

It is all thanks to Keith who hammered and sawed the thing together (with a tiny bit of ‘hold this’ and ‘pull that’ help from me) We decided to make it using as much recycled material as possible.

This is the wood from an old fence that we took down a few years ago. It was more difficult to work with than purchased wood as it is quite uneven, making it harder to fit all the bits together.

After looking at plenty of designs we decided on a A Frame with the shelter on one side at the top of the A. This would maximise the amount of ground space the chooks would have.

The sides of the A being made:

Power tools help! (You can see it is still winter – the creeper on the house is not green yet . . .)

One side with reinforced edges

Joys of recycling – having to gouge out bits from uneven wood to make everything fit.

A man with a plan!

A frame taking shape:

Cross beams added for support.

Securing the top . . .

It was cold when we were working on it and we’d read that chickens don’t like being cold so Keith pulled out some polystyrene boards that had been used on some film shoot and used them as insulation. Lucky chooks!

Recycled roof.

A door so we can clean and feed.

The tractor finished and the chickens just arrived. Not sure who is more fascinated!

And the chooks settling in . . .under Tilu’s watchful eye!

Tosca having a sniff.

By the next morning the fascination had not worn off.

And now finally the lawn is back to normal instead of being a coop construction zone . . .

6 Responses to 'Chicken Tractor'

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  1. Dani said,

    on October 5th, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Jane – Have you considered putting wheels on one end and a handle on the other – that way you can move the tractor round your garden and fertilize the whole area (as well as get rid of any pests / chicken weed lurking where you don’t want them) 🙂


  2. on October 5th, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Hi Dani, it does have handles on either side so we can pick it up and move it around. It is a tractor!

  3. Carolize Jansen said,

    on October 27th, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Dear Jane,

    when I read ‘chicken tractor’ I was hoping to see some chooks harnassed to a plough. I still hope to see that.

    Are these Venda chickens?

    It reminds me of another account I’ve read of a chicken coop built in a Seattle backyard, raised on cedar posts on account of their weather (http://thetanglednest.com/2010/02/our-urban-chicken-coop-plan/).

    The photos of your dog intently watching the chickens are marvellous.

    Kind regards,
    Carolize


  4. on November 3rd, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Hi Carolize,
    The speckled ones are Koekoeks, which is a South African breed and the black, Australorps – an Aussie breed. The chickens and dogs are getting along famously. The hens slipped out of their run after a week and the dogs just followed them around, but didn’t eat them! I don’t know if I would trust them to be out when I am not around though . . .

  5. Carolize Jansen said,

    on November 22nd, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Good dogs!

    Are you going to be writing about the Francistown Gardening Club? That’d be super-interesting. I love Botswana, I once wrote to Pres Ian Khama and he wrote back!

    Happy rains (and pula),
    Carolize

  6. Tim Bourne said,

    on July 14th, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Hi Jane

    I see the plans being used are from a book, Would like to build the same as have lots of “Scrap” lying around, could you let me know the title or ISBN number so I get the same plan.

    Regards

    Tim

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