Thursday, June 7, 2012

Building Chicken Tractors

Sean and I have been working on designing and building this year's chicken tractors. They are 5 feet wide, 6 feet tall, and 8 feet long. This one is going to house Aloysious (our Cochin rooster), 3 Buff Cochin hens, 1 Black Star hen, and our 2 Black Australorp hens. This mix will give us the probability of getting Cochin-feeted chicks at least 4 out of 6 times... I hope. I am no geneticist, but since the rooster is Cochin-footed, I think that will stack the odds a little in that direction, as all the Cochin hens MUST produce Cochin chicks and the black hens' chicks will also have a 50/50 chance of inheriting that gene from their Dad. I guess we will see what we end out with. I am, of course, keeping good records of this.

I love the design Sean created for our tractors. I think they look just wonderful already. The only thing left is to cut more than one entrance into the coop area. So far, I have no suggestions for improvements on them. They are just what I was hoping for. And, get this: EVERY SINGLE PART OF THE TRACTOR WAS FROM MATERIALS WE HAD UNUSED OR RECYCLED FROM OTHER PROJECTS. Total Cost? Nothing. Nada. Nyet. Love That!

Sean is making another one this week of the same design. In it will reside Rufeo (our Rhode Island Red rooster), 2 barred rock hens and 3 Lacey Wyandotte hens. This combination should give us red sex link chicks, called Red Stars. We will be able to tell hens from roosters when they hatch since the all hens should be red in color and the roosters should all be white. Very convenient, that.

This arrangement will leave Sebastian and White Snake (both Americauna roosters) to live with 2 Americauna hens, 4 Buff Orpington hens, and 4 Rhode Island Reds. Their chicks will be a mixed breed, but 2 hens in this group will produce pure Americauna chicks and the other 8 hens' chicks will have a 50/50 chance of producing chicks that will also lay green or blue eggs. I will only incubate the blue eggs found in this pen for the now, since I can guarantee myself those to be 100% Americauna. The other eggs will be sold by the dozen for eating purposes.

While I was attempting to capture some video of the first batch of hens moved to the first chicken tractor, I caught a video of Aloysious crowing, which was very cool. Then, I captured footage of him getting friendly with his ladies. I was worried that the hens would not enjoy this new arrangement. THAT is no longer a concern. With 6 ladies all to himself, Aloysious seemed to be doing just fine.

We will build a third tractor for the chicks currently living inside with us. The box will probably be affixed lower to allow them easy access, but this will give them a safe place to grow until they can be moved to live with an appropriate flock of chickens. Since we believe that most of the chicks we hatched already are Americaunas, they will live in the large pen and coop once they are large enough.

So much still to do, but it is moving along slowly and surely. Thanks for stopping by!
Sonja ♥


  1. Seany Sean inherited his Dad's carpentry skills! He should be proud of that chicken tractor! Daddy Dale just unloaded the wood to make Abby's tree house, but since Ryan Dale got his thumb banged up I am not sure how much he can help. I am afraid I will only be good for handing out sweet tea and snacks, I am not good at heights.
    I like chickens with feathery feets, they are my favorite!!!

  2. Where can the chickens get shelter from rain and such in your tractors? We have a portable tractor using old rabbit pens and they have a part that they can get in for rainy times or lots of wind. they can roost there till it improves and their nest buckets will be in there also. just wondering. I love seeing all kinds of chicken tractors. Deb

    1. Hi Deb!

      Good Question. If it is raining, the chickens can either go into the coop area attached to the back to stay dry, or we bring them back into the main coop yard with the others. We used these all summer long and had no complaints from any of the occupants. :)

      This was our first year building and we have some modifications for next year's tractors already in mind. Keep your eye out for those posts this Spring! :)