We all want our chickens to have the chance to roam, but we also know the dangers of letting them roam too far. A solution that many backyard chicken raisers have turned to is chicken tractors. These nifty contraptions allow your chickens to stretch their legs without them wandering off and into danger. Learn more below:
Essentially, a chicken tractor is like a mobile home for your chickens. It’s an entirely portable chicken coop with food, water, a nesting box, a roosting perch, and a small free-range area. It has wheels that allow you to cart it around different areas of your backyard. This ensures that your chickens won’t destroy just one spot of land.
What are the advantages of a chicken tractor?
Why might one use a chicken tractor for their flock? There are a number of reasons, ranging from the safety to the health of your chickens.
Your chickens won’t wander off
The biggest advantage of a chicken tractor is that it allows your chickens to free range without them wandering off. Any chicken owner knows the risks involved if one of your chickens leaves your property. They could become ample prey for potential predators, not to mention they could become a nuisance to your neighbors. A tractor will keep them relatively confined but still able to stretch their legs.
Your chickens won’t destroy one area of your land
If you keep your chickens in just one spot in your backyard, then they’re bound to make a mess of things. Chickens need space to roam to be truly happy. A chicken tractor may keep them somewhat confined, but since it’s portable, it also allows them to move about your property.
They’ll be safe from predators
Even if your chickens stay within your property, there is always a risk of predators getting in as well. Chicken tractors, however, are tough and sturdy. They’ll keep your chickens well-protected from any predators that may wander into your yard.
Chicken tractor components
At this point you’re likely wondering, what exactly makes up a chicken tractor? It may be called a tractor, but it isn’t like the tractors we humans use. Instead, a chicken tractor is made up of two parts: the coop and the run.
A chicken tractor’s coop is a square box that sits on the ground. Most don’t have a flooring, as that way you don’t have to clean up any chicken feces. However, some chicken owners prefer a more solid base to their tractor as it makes it easier to move the chickens around. The size of the coop varies depending on how many chickens you have. Remember, your chickens need ample room in order to stay happy and healthy. For larger-sized birds, this means providing 4 square feet per bird (smaller sizes require 3 square feet).
In addition to a coop, a tractor will also have a run or pen area for your chickens to walk around in. When it comes to runs, the longer they are the better. Your chickens need space to walk around and get some exercise. We recommend providing at least 8 square feet per bird, but it’s always best to provide as much space as you can.
Building a chicken tractor
You can’t buy a chicken tractor in the store; you’ll likely have to build your own. Thankfully, there are many DIY chicken tractor guides and instructions available online. This guide from Green Willow Homestead offers chicken tractors for various sizes. Additionally, Morning Chores has compiled 27 DIY chicken tractor plans for you to choose from. While some are more complicated, there are others that even total beginners can handle.
Have further questions about caring for your backyard flock? Then contact Chickens for Backyards today!