Friday, April 27, 2012

Daytime Chicken Tractor PVC Hoop Coop

The 2 most important things you will learn about chicken is that they poop. Lots of poo! And, they will get into trouble.
I want to let them pasture all day if they want but, I just cannot be there to watch over them. Predators can get them, they could go into the road, they could will scratch up my garden and poop all over the deck.

I also wanted to be able to keep the birds in one spot so they could "mow" and fertilize for me.

Solution: Chicken tractor! Perusing the inter-webs for ideas, there are several great ones, I decided on the PVC hoop style. Reasons: lower cost & lighter weight

in progress
I had 2 long treated 2x4 and 2 short ones that were salvaged from a section of the deck that was dilapidated.
Free, outdoor friendly, and re-using materials that would otherwise fill the landfill.

I also have long screws that were from the same salvage operation.

I bought a big roll of chicken-wire to use for protecting my baby fruit trees and will use that for the cover to keep the hawks out and the chickens in.

I had to purchase the following:

flexible PVC 50 foot roll 1/2 inch $15
pack of pipe straps $2.50
wheels and hardware to attach them to the runners $18

the corner 2x4 are dual purpose: bracing/stability AND for chickens to stand on.
The entrance corner has double brace because I wanted a place to put the water and feed.
i had to use the flexible pvc because the regular  would snap and break as the tractor is only 4'wide.
The shade cloth is leftover frost blanket for gardens.

I get the girls in there by playing fetch the treats. throw the treat in there and they go get it - easy.

So here is how it turned out:

Happy and safe foraging!
Remarkably sturdy
Remarkably lightweight
I can move it laterally by lifting and moving one end at a time over to where I need it.

I am pretty sure I am going to trade out my salvaged strap handle with a longer rope handle. Why: so I won't have to bend over as much to pull it and so me hand won't get squished between handle and door.

Downside is I have to wait till they all have laid before I can put them all in at once.

It occurred to me this is slightly larger than the width of a garden row. What a great way to have the chickens do tilling work for you!

All I need is a mini feeder and some more clothespins to hold down the shade cloth.

There are so many cool tractors out there on the web. Mine was a fly by the seat of my pants one (no plans)
It took 3 days to build ('cause I also have other things to do besides build tractors).
I tried to use as much of what I already had.
If you have any questions about my project please comment.

This post joined the Chicken Chick Blog Hop Here


  1. Now, hook it to a winch set on a timer, and you can move your chickens every 8 hours automatically.

    1. Nice. I also would like a chicken herding dog to round them into and out of the thing & a remote control door :-p. No, but really, that is a great idea for those who have it out in a field or orchard with flat long spaces (and bigger tires).

  2. So, here are a few changes I would make:
    * add an extra handle at the back and for those "just in case" moments.
    * add wheels at front too so you can just tow it around without lifting - nice!
    * make the rear corner braces longer so there is more roost space.

  3. Oh, I forgot another addition:
    * make the cover the length of the tractor with grommets on the bottom. That way on sunny days I can only cover the feed side. On rainy days I can roll it out to cover the whole thing and keep them dry.

  4. Great post, Danielle! Thank you for sharing on the Clever Chicks Blog Hop and I hope to see you back for next Monday's link party with another clever idea!

    The Chicken Chick


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