After ordering our chickens straight run from the hatchery, I needed a place to keep the extra roosters until they grew to a delicious size. Commercial chickens only live a couple of months. My roosters would live several months in the summer and into the fall. I decided to build them a moveable pen, called a chicken tractor. The chicken tractor has the following benefits.
Benefits of a Chicken Tractor
- Allows birds to have fresh air and sunshine.
- Provides access to pasture.
- Moveable so that birds don’t destroy the pasture by over grazing.
- Keeps the chickens safe from predators.
I have written up a material list for this chicken tractor.
The chicken tractor I built was inspired by the working wings chicken tractor. It is made from 2×6 pressure treated lumber for the frame. The frame is 12 feet by 4 feet. Half inch (1/2 in.) EMT metal electrical conduit is used for the hoops. Chicken wire is used to enclose the structure. The ends are made from half inch (1/2 in.) pressure treated plywood. I have hung a feeder and automatic watering bucket from the conduit. I used the only 4 foot tarp I could find to keep rain off the broilers. The tarp is designed to cover a stack of firewood. When it wears out I plan to replace it with camouflage tarp.
There were two details that I didn’t see when I originally viewed the working wings page. The first was the handles. How did they move their tractor around? Which leads to the second detail, did they use wheels? I decided to use rope for the handles of the chicken tractor. The rope is connected to the frame with 1/2 inch EMT conduit straps.
I also decided to add wheels. I used rigid wheels that I found at Farm and Fleet. They are connected to the frame with lag screws.
Update: These roosters have been harvested.
Please share any feedback on this chicken tractor or web page in the comments below.
How heavy is it? I’m curious how difficult it is to move…
I won’t be able to answer your question exactly. The heaviest components are the 2x6s and the sheet of plywood. But the weight is spread out. If I build another one, I will try 2x4s for the base.
I found that this chicken tractor was easy enough to move. I sized the rope handles so that when gripping the handles and standing up, one side of the tractor would be off the ground. Then I would walk backwards dragging it about 12 feet at a time. The wheels on the back definitely helped. I got good at lifting it just high enough that the wheels would roll but that the roosters wouldn’t get out.