Building a Chicken Tractor: 4 Key Considerations
A chicken tractor is a portable chicken coop and run that is joined together. Building a chicken tractor normally means that you have the structure on wheels. The biggest benefit of a chicken tractor is that you can move it around your land. This prevents your chickens from turning a patch of your grass in a mud pit!
So if you’re ready to start building your own chicken tractor, let’s look at the 4 key things to consider before you start.
Is A Chicken Tractor Suitable For Your Flock?
The first thing you need to take into account is whether a chicken tractor is suitable for your flock and particular situation. Chicken tractors can be used for nearly all types of flocks; however, I wouldn’t recommend placing chicks in a tractor, because they may be able to squeeze out underneath the sidebars!
Also, it depends on the land and climate which you’re planning to use the chicken tractor in. Chicken tractors are suitable for most climates, apart from exceptionally wet areas. In wet areas chicken tractors tend to get bogged down, not ideal. Also, chicken tractors can’t be used on hilly terrain which isn’t flat.
How Big Should Your Chicken Tractor Be?
The next consideration you need to take into account is: “how big should your chicken tractor be?”
This will depend on whether you’re intending to make the chicken tractor their permanent residence, or whether you will use it just during the daylight hours. If you’re just building a chicken tractor for your chickens to roam in during the daytime, you should ensure that for each chicken you provide 10 square foot of run space. Bantams require slightly less with 8 square foot of space. So if you have 6 medium sized chickens your tractor should be 60 square foot.
If you’re building a chicken tractor to be their permanent residence, then in addition to the space outlined above you should add 3 square foot of coop space per chicken.
How Should You Design Your Chicken Tractor
Perhaps the most important consideration mentioned in this article is the design of the tractor. A poorly designed chicken tractor can be dangerous for your chickens because it might allow predators access to the pen/coop area.
When building your own, you have two choices either: design one from scratch or take an existing plan and modify it to your needs. My preference is always the later one because I’m not very creative! Plus I can learn and improve on other people’s plans then. If you want some existing plans you can find a chicken tractor plan tool here.
How Much Money Will it Cost to Build?
Once you’ve decided how big the chicken tractor needs to be, it’s time to sit down and work out a budget. A good rule of thumb to use is $1-3 per square foot. So if you’re planning to build a chicken tractor that is 100 square foot, it should cost between $100-300 depending on the materials used.
If you have a small budget it will impact the materials you use. You can use reclaimed materials to save cost, a common example of this being wooden pallets. One area you shouldn’t cut cost though is with regards to the netting used. Remember chicken wire is designed to keep chickens in, hardware cloth keeps the predators out. So I would always recommend using hardware cloth.
Now you have considered the four key points you are ready to start your chicken tractor build! I wish you the best of look and be sure to get in touch if you have any questions about your build.