THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CHICKEN TRACTOR AND A REGULAR CHICKEN COOP
A chicken tractor is also a chicken coop, however, unlike the permanently fixed coop, it is movable. While the permanent poultry pens are fixed permanently in the yard, a chicken tractor has a wheel fitted to it that makes it easy to be moved about.
Also, because chicken tractors do not have floors, unlike the fixed structures, it is easier to clean and to maintain.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CHICKEN TRACTOR
The basic principle behind chicken tractor is that, it lets birds to forage freely as in an extensive system, but all the while still protecting birds from predators.
The movable coop is built without a floor, but is covered all over with mostly chicken wire that allows a good flow of ventilation.
Every few days, the chicken tractor can be rotated around the yard, making vegetation available to forage in.
Not only do the birds pick at the weeds and pests around the property, they also leave behind nutrient rich manure that can fertilize the soil. This is a great way to prepare a portion of land for some garden planting.
Most importantly, a chicken tractor is not completely covered with chicken wire. The part covered with chicken wire is called the chicken run. A nesting area is also provided. The nesting area is weather proof and is well covered with wood. It is where the birds sleep at night, and also where they lay eggs. In the nesting area, they are protected from harsh weather condition at night and from desperate predators.
The importance of a chicken tractor over a regular permanently fixed chicken pen is that it allows the birds to move about freely and exercise as in the extensive system. It also reduces the cost of feeding the birds, while still protecting them from adverse weather condition and predators. Using the chicken tractor is the best option of a semi intensive system.
THE DIFFERENT FEATURES OF A CHICKEN TRACTOR
THE FRAME: the chicken tractor is lightly built around a frame, mostly a single wooden one. This frame could be a rectangular or triangular shaped one. It provides the structure for attaching the poultry netting. Sturdy wood should be used for this frame, especially at the base. Instead of using a wooden frame, you could also opt for much lighter PVC pipes as well. Attached to the frame are ropes for pulling, or two handles for pushing from the back, like a wheel barrow.
THE WHEELS: some chicken tractors come without the wheels, but these are usually the smaller model. While it is optional to fit a wheel on the smaller coops, it is absolutely necessary for the larger ones to have wheels, for easy mobility. One important thing to consider is to make sure the wheels do not raise the coop so high for a bird to easily wriggle out, or for other animals to go in.
CHICKEN RUN: this is the area covered mainly with chicken wire. It is where the birds roam about in the day time. A feeder and a watering device can also be left here, if need be.
NESTING AREA: this is an enclosed part of the chicken tractor built like a pen. The poultry lay eggs and sleep in it at night. It should be built in such a way that eggs can be easily collected. A small hatch provided can make the eggs accessible and cleaning easy.