A Chicken Tractor To Call Home

[Dino] didn’t want to keep the baby chickens cooped up when he was at work, but he didn’t want them to escape, or become a juicy treat, either. His solution was to build this chicken tractor. It’s a complete chicken ecosystem with wheels, kind of like a double-wide trailer for our feathered friends. On one end is a small coop that contains food, water, and an incandescent light bulb for heat. The other end is a chicken-wire box that lets the young birds stretch their legs and get some fresh air.

It’s easy to see the wheels which flip down when [Dino] needs to move the contraption. Like we said, he puts it out when he goes to work, selecting different parts of the yard so that the grass gets evenly fertilized. It’s a nice solution if you don’t have enough area to dedicate to an automated chicken coop.

We’ve embedded [Dino’s] video after the break. He covers the beginning and end of the build, and fills the middle of the video with a time-lapse recording of the construction process.


15 thoughts on “A Chicken Tractor To Call Home

  1. I did the same with my guinea pig, I didn’t even need to mow the lawn the funny rat always toke care of that :P Too bad a random dog came over one day and punched a hole through the fencing.

    The fencing on the pictures don’t seem too hard either, I would reinforce it to be safe from other animals.

  2. mobile coops are nothing new. Often times a large coop is built on a trailer. The farmer will move to disired location, let them out for the day and when they come in to roost lock them up for the night. The next day move the coop with his tractor to new location. I applaud him for scaling the mobile coop down to “chick size”

  3. How cold must it get there for the chickens to need heating? Ours have done just fine down to -15C. They squeeze up close together to keep warm when roosting in the coop.

    Also: evenly fertilizedutterly destroyed.

  4. @MrX, you’re right, the fencing is light weight, but it’s only outside during the day. At night, they come in the garage. I’ll be building them a new full sized chicken coop soon with much stronger wire.

    @ nes, it’s not that cold here, but when I first got them, they were very small with only their first pin feathers so they needed to keep warm. They don’t really need the light for heat now, just to light up the interior during the day. They seem to like it. :)

  5. I would put some barbed wire on the outside to discourage predators, or maybe even electrified wire. I’ve had chickens stolen during the day, especially with wide mesh chicken wire. They get pulled right through.

  6. I keep asking, when they ban bulbs how are we going to keep our baby chicks warm? Heating pads now have a 2 hour timer, to make them idiot proof.
    Definitely, chicken hacks are cool. Even rubber ones.
    As a certified storm spotter I an worried about the lack of tie-down straps on that poultry perambulator. It’s tornado season. Oops they just put up a watch for our area.

  7. @Rachel – where do you live & what predators? We let our hens run free in the yard during the day. I wonder if we should keep them more protected.

    @echodelta – There used to be a product for people who keep reptiles that was basically an electric warm brick. If you need an alternative to bulbs you might look for one of those.

  8. I’ve heard some companies are starting to sell incandescent bulbs as “heating devices” instead of as light sources. Might be cheaper than the warm brick (although the warm brick would be better to leave on at night – I can’t imagine chickens would sleep well with lights on).

    … also, am I the only one that read “chicken reactor”? Too much Half-Life 2 I guess :/

  9. @Headbonk

    I’m in Minnesota, and the main predators are raccoons, coyotes, and big dogs. I used to let them run free too, but if I was ever late in locking them up, one would go missing. One was even taken in the middle of the day by a coyote.

    In my experience, chicks sleep fine with the light on. They always huddle in a pile right below it.

    I’m a bit concerned by the small size of the pen. My free range chickens were all over the place, and hated being confined. They liked to fly around a bit too.

    Is the bottom covered in wire too? I’ve known predators to sneak underneath coops to get to the chickens, which is why I fully enclosed mine.

  10. @ Rachel… the bottom is open. This only a temporary enclosure. As I mentioned, I’ll be building them a much larger area with a full coop soon. They’ll have roosts and room to fly around. I don’t think I’ll free range them here due to Hawks. The local folks tell me they’ll get swooped!
    I’ll most likely build a bigger tractor this summer that could house two or three at a time so that they can have some time outside the coop.

  11. I loved your flip down wheel idea and put them on my chicken tractor this afternoon. Especially genius was how simple and inexpensive, yet practical they are. Thanks for sharing!

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