A Chicken tractor is a great way to allow your chickens to free-range in safety without fear of predators being able to attack them. This is a really easy design for using 2×2 and galvanized hardware cloth.
Why We Chose To Use A Chicken Tractor
When we first got chickens we converted an old shed into a chicken coop and allowed them to free-range in a big chicken wire pen. It gave them the ability to graze and forage for bugs without wandering into our neighbor’s yard. That worked for a while but all too soon a hawk and some of our neighbor’s dogs discovered how easy it was to get at our chickens through the wire.
Back To The Drawing Board
Because our old set up was no longer an option we went back to the drawing board and did some research on ways to protect our pens. We knew we wanted to be able to easily move the pen around the yard so that our girls could free range and eat the bugs, but still, look nice. After reaching out to some of our farm friends and lots of brainstorming we settled on the idea of a chicken tractor.
Simplicity Of Design
We chose to do a really simple rectangle shape for our run with a house on the back that could be removed from the rest of the cage and moved separately. This kept the cage light and easy for us girls to move.
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How To Build A Chicken Tractor
- Deck Screws
- Hardware Cloth
- Wire Cutters
- 2″ Washers
- Chicken Wire (optional)
- Hinges (Use black for a more elegant look, or silver to match the wire)
- Paint (White or another light color to repel heat)
- Handles (Pick ones that match your hinges)
- Compound Miter Saw or
- Jig Saw
- Canvas Drop Cloth
- Select 4 – 2×2’s (they should be 8 feet long) that are straight. These will be the top and bottom of your run.
- Cut 2×2’s into 17 3′ sections for side slats.
- Select 2 of your 8′ sections, and 2 of the 3-foot sections. Using screws secure the 8′ section to the top of the 3′ foot section.
- Repeat on the opposite side. Select 3 more 3′ sections and screw them evenly spaced between either end.
- When that is done, flip it over and place the second 8′ section on top and secure with screws. Set aside.
- Select the last 2 8′ foot sections and repeat the process.
- Take 5 of the 3′ sections and screw them together to make a frame. Use 3 vertically and two horizontal.
- Figure out where you want your doors, you’ll need one to allow your birds access to the coop and one for you to get in to feed and water your chickens. When you’ve figured where you want them, measure between the outside wall and the support slat. Cut 2×2 to fit in the opening and screw together.
- Paint the frames, with outdoor paint or stain to protect the wood from the weather.
- Once the paint is dry attach the hardware cloth to frames using screws and washers.
- Place the 3′ sections at either end of the 8′ sections, with the wire on the inside of the frames, and screw them together.
- Run wire over the top of the cage and secure it with washers and screws.
- Screw the handle and hinges on to the door.
- Insert the doors, and attach hinges to the run.
- If you wish you can add handles to either side of the run so it is easier to lift your chicken tractor. You can also add tires.
Now your chickens have a safe place to free-range without being attacked by predators.
To Beat The Heat
I don’t know about your house but in the south, it gets quite hot in the summer. If it gets hot where you live don’t forget to add seasonal shade. Simply add a canvas tarp to the top during the summer to give your birds some shade. Take strips and sew them to the edges of your canvas to use to tie them down to your run so a brisk breeze won’t blow your tarp off and expose the chickens to the hot summer sun.
- How To Build A Chicken Feeder
- How To Build A Chicken Coop
- Caring For Laying Hens
- How To Raise Friendly Ducks
- What To Feed Chickens
- How To Introduce New Chickens To A Flock