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We’ve been raising our own pastured meat birds in a chicken tractor for several years now. The method we use to raise our meat birds is to rotate them on pasture. In the past, we have always made a make shift DIY chicken tractors out of some existing structure or scrap supplies. None of our previous chicken tractors have been what we were looking for because they’ve been difficult to move or structurally unsound.
This time, with our pastured broilers, we wanted to make a “real” chicken tractor using the Salatin style design. Luckily, like I’ve said before, Derek is
a scrap lumber hoarder good at hanging on to leftover lumber from other projects from work so we had all of the wood we needed on hand.
All we had to purchase were the nails, chicken wire, and roofing materials. Once Derek had gathered our supplies, we were set to get our DIY chicken tractor under way. As usual, our whole family pitched in and helped. We built the whole thing in under 3 hours.
We have also made a video of how we built the chicken tractor. The video can be viewed at the bottom of this post.
DIY Chicken Tractor
4- 12′ 2×4’s
5- 8′ 2×4’s
4- 2′ 2×4’s
8- 2×4 braces cut 16″ (45° angle) long point to long point.
1-11′ 9″ 2×4 for center roofing brace.
We also cut 1/4″ furring strips of wood out of scraps for securing our chicken wire.
Nails for nail gun or just good ol’ fashioned hand drive nails
Staples for securing chicken wire
Screws for roofing.
100′ roll of 2′ tall will be plenty. You can use taller wire but you will have to cut it and leave sharp points exposed.
3- 2’x8′ sheets of corrugated metal.
Dimensions of finished chicken Tractor:
12′ long by 8′ wide by 2′ tall.
The roofing covers almost 1/2 of the top (after overlapping material) for adequate shade and to protect from the weather.
Building the frame: We began our construction by cutting all of our lumber to the sizes we needed. Next, we laid out the 12′ and 8′ boards for the bottom of the frame and nailed them together. After that, we secured the 4- 2′ corner boards in place by nailing.
Next step was to nail the top 12′ and 8′ boards in place. We now had a nice rectangle frame. The 16″ braces were secured on the corners of the chicken tractor frame. The last piece of lumber to be added was the 11′ 9″ roofing brace placed across the very center of the top of the frame.
Adding the chicken wire: Now, we began wrapping the chicken wire around the outside of the frame. we sandwiched the wire between the frame boards and a furring strip and secured with staples. We did this at the top and bottom, pulling the wire taught, all the way around the frame of the chicken tractor.
Attaching the roofing: Next, we placed our roofing pieces on top of the tractor, overlapping the metal on 2 of the corrugated ridges and screwed them in place. We screwed them down across each end and side as well as down the center on the middle brace piece.
Adding the top wire and lid: Last, we stretched our chicken wire across the top and secured it to the outside frame and center support with the furring strips and staples.
For the lid, we left about 18″ of wire unstapled and the entire front edge. This left us with a wire lid to open for feeding, watering, and getting the chickens in and out. We attached a 8′ long 2×4 to the end of the wire (sandwiching with furring strips) as a weight to keep the wire closed and taught.
This DIY project was fairly simple and straight forward. It only took a couple of hours to build, I really like it because it is not very heavy and can be easily moved. It can actually even be moved by one person but it is way easier with 2 or more people.
The chickens have done well in the chicken tractor and like being moved from spot to spot for fresh bugs and grass each day. We usually move our broilers from the brooder to the tractor at around 2-3 weeks old and they stay until butcher time around 8 weeks old.
If you plan to pasture raise broilers on your homestead, I highly suggest this Salatin style chicken tractor. We have been very pleased with how it is working out for us.
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