The Chicken Tractor at Our Small Farm

When I accidentally killed chickens moving the chicken tractor, I whined about it on Facebook. That led to people asking me, “What is a chicken tractor?” There are lots of types of chicken tractors and I hesitated to talk about ours because it’s not fitting for what we’re trying to do now, but it’s all we’ve got and it’s the perfect setup for someone in the city wanting to raise backyard chickens for fresh eggs!

So I share photo and some details about it here:

chicken tractor

This contraption was built for me when I lived in the city. It was built for six hens and it was perfect for six hens. I’d move it around the yard once or twice a day and let the girls go at a small area of grass or bugs, then move them to fresh ground. It kept them safe while also keeping them moving and wow, did it do wonders for the lawn! Those girls made healthy green grass!

Eventually I started leaving the lid up and the girls would go wherever they wanted, including across the street (which led to many jokes about why the chicken crossed the road plus the one really embarrassing time when my chickens had traffic blocked and I could hear horns honking and I hid in my house waiting for it to all end!). But they always came back to roost at night.

It is portable plus the part that sticks out is the nesting box with room for three chickens at a time, and the lid lifts up for easy access to the eggs.

When I first moved to the country, I brought this with me along with my six hens and it worked great. Since moving to our small farm and building our chicken coop, we’ve used this chicken tractor to transition chicks from the “nursery bin” to outside, before they get moved into the chicken coop with the grownups.

The reason it has gone from chicken tractor to death machine recently is because I had too many chickens in it–fat, slow moving Frankenbabies.

But if you’re thinking about raising backyard chickens for fresh eggs on a small piece of property, something like this kind of chicken tractor is perfect! If you want more photos of it, like with the lids up, let me know. It even has a roosting bar going across the middle, which the girls always loved to use!

Moving forward, once my husband is finally home, we’ll build a more portable chicken tractor with room for more chickens, because we are going to keep the egg layers in the coop, and use the portable contraption for meat chickens only. That will make it much more lightweight because it won’t have the nesting box! And I will insist that it be as lightweight as it can possibly be so I can easily move it by myself, deployment or no deployment! (I’m thinking PVC pipe and tarp!) I don’t know what that looks like yet, because it still has to be strong enough to keep the coyotes out, so it can’t be totally lightweight, but we’ll figure it out. 🙂

I hope that answers any questions about chicken tractors, but if not, ask away. I am learning lots about starting a small farm by doing things wrong the first time!

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