A chicken tractor is a handy and functional structure that every homesteader should have. Here is everything you need to know if you are looking to add one to your homestead.
In this article:
- What Is a Chicken Tractor?
- How Does It Work?
- Why Is It Called a Tractor?
- How to Build Tractors?
- Where Can I Put a Chicken Tractor?
- When Can I Use Tractors?
Everything You Need to Know About a Chicken Tractor | FAQs
What Is a Chicken Tractor?
A chicken tractor is a floor-less but portable shelter that is moved around to provide poultry with managed and fresh pasture. The shelter's regular movement allows you to efficiently manage the soil health while availing fresh vegetation for your birds.
Remember: Not only is raising pastured birds in mobile shelters beneficial for the soil and animals, but also human beings.
How Does It Work?
Usually, the idea is to move the mobile chicken pen around your backyard each day or every few days for your birds to have fresh vegetation to feed on regularly.
As a result, this will lower the pest population in your backyard since chickens enjoy eating tender weeds and grass tips and insects like slugs, bugs, and snails.
Also, by moving the tractor around, you add nutrients to your soil by leaving behind the nitrogen- and phosphorus-rich chicken manure.
Why Is It Called a Tractor?
When out in the “chicken tractor,” the chickens' continuous scratching action effortlessly denudes the ground, which then loosens the topsoil hence the “tractor idea.” As a result, you can use it to get rid of weeds in your garden in preparation for planting.
Moreover, if you want your chicken to fertilize your pasture or help in pest control without stripping the ground, ensure you move the tractor around daily. This ensures the birds don't work a particular area bare.
How to Build Tractors?
While these tractors come in all shapes and designs, all of them have several essential components: a wire mesh covered chicken “run” to keep off predators, a secluded nesting area, and a wooden frame with wheels for easy movement.
However, how well you pull off your DIY chicken tractor will depend on the materials and your building skills.
Remember: The more creative you are, the fancier your tractor's design.
Where Can I Put a Chicken Tractor?
There is technically no right or wrong place to position your tractor. Where you put it, it will depend on the availability of fresh pasture for your poultry.
Besides, how much you want the ground stripped will also dictate the right tractor position at any given time. For instance, if you wish to prepare your garden for a planting season, having the tractor in the same place for a few days to a week will do the trick.
When Can I Use Tractors?
A tractor will only be impractical to use when the ground is frozen. Otherwise, you can use it whenever you want as it pretty much serves different functions simultaneously.
For instance, a tractor is a perfect way for your birds to enjoy the outdoors while staying in a controlled environment during the plant growing seasons. This will prevent them from feeding on your seedlings.
Watch this video by Sow the Land on how to build a DIY chicken tractor:
There you have it, homesteaders. Though challenging to build, nothing beats the functionality that a chicken tractor brings to your homestead. Moreover, you can customize it to meet your needs and the space of your backyard.
Have you built one of these before? Please share with us your pictures in the comment section below!
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