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The Bayou Gardener Family
Maggie13

Chicken Tractor Build 2016

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We decided the time was right to add a few chickens to our property.


  4FT Wide X 9Ft Long 
I am sorry I  didn't document with as many pictures as I should of.


March 26th 
We purchased treated lumber for the boards touching the ground and rough cut 2" X 10" and 1" X 10"  pine for the rest of it. Our Sawmill guy also sells metal roofing He gave us a couple of cover sheets for the roof. Total $ 175.00



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The deck is made from left over roof sheathing from the Tractor Shed project.

 I urethaned all edges and top and bottom surfaces with 2 coats of Marine spar.We made it in 3 sections so popping them out to replace them when necessary will be easier.
 I hope to find a remnant  of linoleum to set on top of it to make it easier to clean.


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We stained the frame before we covered it with the vertical pine boards so all surfaces are sealed.

The  15"  Pneumatic Wide Profile Tires were on sale at Tractor supply for $19.99 per.While were there we picked up all the necessary hardware.Total $ 101.25 




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Other than the TIME we have in to building it ( and it is taking a good deal of time) the material cost is not too bad ( It could of been done for less but we are keeping all of our building with the same look)

 They are STILL going to be some expensive eggs but at least we will know what what our chickens has eaten to make them.

Applied the battens made the small chicken door, run access door then took it all the hardware off and started to stain.
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Today we will second coat the whole thing  and apply the trim color on the corner boards.

Trim boards are stained and the  coop, run, and chicken doors are reinstalled.

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We used Fender Washers to install the screening.

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Screening complete:

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Installed the electrical Box

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I decided to try the "Poop Hammock" method since I had everything I would need already here. 

To show you how it goes together

The roosting bar is easily removed but secure while in place


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On the other end Jim slotted the board to sit on a couple of  pins.

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It may be hard to see but he used Long Sheetrock screws as the pins.

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I sewed a 2 1/2" loop at each end of a piece of 36" wide Landscape fabric for the dowels to slide into.

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We used some open ended  closet rod cups  to secure the dowels. I have about a 9" sag in the fabric 

This is what it looks like assembled.We shall see if this design works.Also cut a vent in the floor to aid in  air exchange. 
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Added a few braces for the hooks to hold the water vessel and feeder

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Built the ramp:


First coated everything added with stain

Well moved the Chicken Tractor out of the shop.

Still waiting on a Cabinet latch for the Chicken Door. 
 We are in a holding pattern until April 28th. ( That is when our 3 pullets are ready to come home)

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The wheel is attached to the arm.

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You pivot the wheels into the down position by raising the arms. There is a pin and receiving hole to secure the wheels before moving the tractor.
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Ready to move:

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With a little down pressure on the bar the big tires moves it easily across the yard.while the girls ride safely in the coop.

I was able to get a linoleum remnant for $10 it was 3ft X 8ft my coop area is 3 ft X 4 ft so I have a backup piece for down the road.

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image.png.a16be2320a987a8230a768533542fee6.pngReady for the 3 pullets.

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We picked them up on May 4th. Red, Penny and Rusty,.

I put them directly into the coop area and look at how they decided to sit on the roost. 

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The one chicken started lay in the hammock during the day but then on Monday ( I had nothing to do with their decision)  they started facing the "RIGHT" direction putting the  hammock to work the way it was intended to be used. I have not had to clean poop on the coop floor since. 
NOTE: I put a cup or so of sand  in the hammock and use a kitty litter scoop to clean it . So far so good!

Edited by Maggie13
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21' X 48' High Tunnel

Knox, NY

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Looks like nice some  "digs" for the chickens!! 😊  Wish i could have a few chickens....no way in my subdivision,tho.

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It is to keep there water from freezing.

In the summer I have their water in the run 

I put a light bulb in a cookie tin that is 1/2 full of pea stone ( that works as a heat sink) and set their waterer on top of it in the coop.

When I dig it out for the winter I will take some photos and post them. 


21' X 48' High Tunnel

Knox, NY

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No Chips the chickens do not go to the HT for the winter.they kind of get their own HT. I put plexiglass inserts into the run mesh areas on the west and south side to block the big winds and snow.  Then it is parked next to the tractor shed for the winter so I can plug the water heater in. 

 

When I get it set up for the winter I will take some photos and post them.

 

 

 

 

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21' X 48' High Tunnel

Knox, NY

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I haven't moved them in to there winter location yet!

I won't forget to take some pictures for you .

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21' X 48' High Tunnel

Knox, NY

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How we winterize the chicken Tractor:

We insert a panel with a small section of Plexiglas  into the North wall and Plexiglas  cut to fit on West side of the Chicken Tractor.

North wall: You can also see the blue lead cord that lights the bulb that heats the waterer that we keep inside the coop for the winter.

 

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The west side of the tractor has 3 inserts

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We secure the Plexiglas in with strips of wood and screws

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I have to take a few more pictures and will update with them later on today.

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21' X 48' High Tunnel

Knox, NY

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   That is not the work of a weekend warrior, that is serious carpenter ship, fine fitting joints, sleek look, those girls are spoiled, hope they don't send pictures to there fellow chicks, the whole egg laying world will be on strike, gosh that is nice, heck that is nicer than some homes, thanks for sharing with us, been wanting to build me one but other things get in the way, I was planning on build mine with 2 3/8" pipe, the whole thing on skids and move it to fresh grass with the front end loader on the tractor, not going to be as nice as your, thanks for sharing.

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Thanks Joe Dirt!  

We really like the idea of the tractor rather than a fixed coop.All spring ,summer and fall the tractor is moved to fresh grass every couple of days or so .

It is stationary for the winter months.

 When I put it in its winter site I put plastic on the ground  and cover it with a layer of straw for the winter and keep a deep kitty litter pan filled with a combination of sand, wood ash and DE for their bathing needs.

 I feed them scraps scattered on the straw.  Their job is to  scratch and turn and mix  the straw over all winter.

In the spring I drag the plastic with the  partially composted straw mixture to the compost pile to finish decomposing where when the hens while free ranging  continue to scratch and help break down the compost pile even more so it can eventually be added to the garden beds.

PS: We design and build cabinetry for a living so "fit and finish" is what keeps us in business!Peace.gif

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21' X 48' High Tunnel

Knox, NY

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THANKX.gif Judy!

 

The winter water set up:

The can is 2/3rds full of pea stone ( That creates the heat sink ) I push lots of wood chips around the can to hold the heat in and use  a 60 Watt light bulb to generate the heat needed to keep the water from freezing, 

 

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Edited by Maggie13

21' X 48' High Tunnel

Knox, NY

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@Maggie13

Do you have a vent on the can to keep the bulb from getting too hot and burning out?

Is it thermostatically controlled, or on all the time?


Disclaimer: All photographs uploaded here were taken for my own use. You do not see any weeds. It is you imagination.

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On 12/27/2019 at 12:51 PM, BigSkyGardener said:

@Maggie13

Do you have a vent on the can to keep the bulb from getting too hot and burning out?

Is it thermostatically controlled, or on all the time?

There is a small snip of metal removed from the lid but its purpose to to allow the water base to sit flat and a bonus is I can see at night if the light is working, so no venting I want as much of the heat to remain inside the can as possible.

NO thermostat

The light remains on all the time.

I edited the last post to add more pictures of the set up


21' X 48' High Tunnel

Knox, NY

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That notch is probably enough to let the excess heat vent out. If it is totally sealed the bulb won't last long.

Looks good.


Disclaimer: All photographs uploaded here were taken for my own use. You do not see any weeds. It is you imagination.

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 I guess I got lucky and that little cut out must be enough because it is the same bulb I have been using for going on its third winter.

We have used a similar method to keep a water pump from freezing by building a simple plywood box with a 60 watt light bulb in it.

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21' X 48' High Tunnel

Knox, NY

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4 hours ago, Maggie13 said:

 I guess I got lucky and that little cut out must be enough because it is the same bulb I have been using for going on its third winter.

We have used a similar method to keep a water pump from freezing by building a simple plywood box with a 60 watt light bulb in it.

Around here a lot of people use 100W bulbs to keep their pump houses from freezing.

Congress in their wisdom banned them, so now you have to order them as a 100w heater instead of a light bulb.


Disclaimer: All photographs uploaded here were taken for my own use. You do not see any weeds. It is you imagination.

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So far this winter has been fairly mild and only one big snowstorm so far so the chickens are very happy. They hate the snow and have no problem telling me so.

Edited by Maggie13

21' X 48' High Tunnel

Knox, NY

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