Last spring I was given this large steel mesh cage by a neighbour when I was clearing a pasture for them. It looked to be meant to mount to a flat bed truck of some sort but someone had cut it up a little. Fine by me, I seen a chicken tractor in it from the get go. I ended up carrying it by dangling it with my excavator and walking the machine home with it. I was too busy to do anything with it until winter so it was put aside. Sweet score!
So winter comes and now I have time. I ended up not wanting to run my machine down the hill and back just for that so I just used the tractor. With some swearing and slipping I get it chained onto the bucket of my tractors loader and drag it to the shop in reverse. All things considered it came with very little damage. I was pleased.
After using my oxy-propane cutting torch to clean off all the bits that I didn’t need and trimming the bottom to length I welded a 4″ angle iron skid to each side so it can be dragged on my uneven fields. The cage came with double swing out gates on the one end so I rigged up a locking system and a latch as well as welding a 2″ square tube across the front where I wanted to put a 2″ ball hitch. The hitch got 1 1/2″ square tube to truss it out a bit so the 3″ x 2″ hitch tube that I used can handle all the weight I plan to add to the coop.
Princess auto in the nearby big city (150km away) had a sale on really wide trailer axels and the hitch jacks with a 500lb rated wheel. I snagged one each and a couple wheels cheap. Still the new steel and parts came to about $400 plus oxygen, propane, welding rod and the electricity it took to make the magic happen. She ain’t cheap but I can call it bear proof haha. I need all that and more out here. I lost some sheep to a cougar last spring and I’m not big on feeding my dinners to the local critters too much. My chicken dinner! Get your own sandwich cat!!
Later on this spring sometime I intend to put an A frame roosting coop on the top with tin roofing and 2″ x 4″ lumber. A ladder plank into the bottom, a feed/water system and some roosting perches should be awesome for the meat birds. We should do well with the system I plan to build.
My plan is to start out with 20 meat hybrids from a local hatchery to see how the spacing is for them, the tractor is 11′ x 7′ approximately. Once the coop is added on top I am sure I can up it to maybe 25 or even 30 birds. We will see. Until then I will just tarp it for them and go with less. We have lots of lush grass (come spring), will give them grower pellets and by moving them around with the tractor or a jeep they should get plenty of fresh chow with clean pasture.
So far I am thrilled with my armoured chicken tractor. Even though my daughter says chickens are friends not food I am going to have to get geared up for processing them soon. And get her some fresh pullets to go in her pet egg layers too.
I will keep everyone up to date as we progress with the new food production by adding more details on how we are making out in future posts. And please… get outside and enjoy the fresh air! It is wonderful. ~Scott