Chicken Tractor Renovations ~ A Mutiny Ranch Project
|The new and improved Chicken Tractor (backdoor view).|
|Our newest hen, Wynonna. She's a Silver-Laced Wyondotte.|
|The "original" chicken tractor was meant just for day use with no coop or nesting boxes.|
It was all working out well until...
|The hay bale chicken coop offered great insulation for cold days and loud roosters but became a haven for freeloading mice as well.|
We hit a design snag around the time the snow was melting and the days were getting long again. The hens had gone through their molt and had stopped laying eggs for a month or two (normal) and were just starting to lay again. We had tons of eggs it seemed. And then they stopped. Cold turkey. No eggs. They also were refusing to go into the coop at night and chose to roost in the trees near the chicken run. Yep, those girls (Frida and Gertie) were able to fly out of the coop yard and work their way into the high branches of the cottonwoods. We'd get them down and lock them in the coop only to hear rustling and...distress. We soon realized the hay fort coop turned into a mouse disco after lights out. They were everywhere...in the feeder, the waterer, the bales, the ground, the walls, the laying boxes...it was so bad that if we went into the coop and stood still for just 15 seconds the mice would come out and run around our feet. The chickens were seriously in distress and couldn't rest because of the commotion of the mice. We needed a solution fast.
|First, Clark cut the top in half to use as a pitched roof...bonus: it was already made out of corrugated roofing material.|
|Avi came out to supervise the project.|
|The roof pieces helped determine the size of the coop. We used mostly scrap materials on this reno.|
|After visiting my friend Kat's place we decided to use 5 gallon buckets as nesting "boxes" since they seem to work fantastic for her hens. This helped save lumber and were light-weight for an already heavy tractor.|
|Here are the nesting boxes in place.|
|An interior shot. The small door leads to the enclosed chicken tractor area. A larger backdoor allows us to let the chickens out in the garden at large. We've added more roosts since we plan on getting a few more hens.|
|The chickens are checking out their new digs. Here you can see the skis on the bottom of the tractor. There's another set at the rear...this way it makes it slightly easier to drag the tractor from either direction.|
|By building the coop section up high (split level) the chickens have a little sheltered area that provides shade and protection from rain.|
|A drop down door allows us to collect eggs without trying to squeeze into the backdoor. While the door is large enough for us to clean the coop it's not so large that we want to crawl in every day searching for eggs.|