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.
A good chicken tractor must me easy to move and transport around the yard and grassy area.
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.
A chicken corral made with hexagonal plastic netting is very lightweight and easy to move around
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.
A good chicken coop will have an area of easy access to collect the eggs.
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.
A movable chicken coop, many have a roofed area made with netting.
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.
Advantages of netting
Arks or mobile chicken tractors as they are called are an effective option for confined ranging chickens. Farmers can custom-build their own chicken tractor or purchase a ready-made tractor. However, the chicken tractor
can be of any size, the most important thing to consider is the size of the garden. It is better for farmers to shape their chicken house according to the available space in the garden.
Another very important thing to consider in the use of chicken tractors
to raise birds is protection. The structure has to be protected from predators and pilfering. Considering the gravity of the damages predators can cause, chicken farmers must strategize and adopt a better way to secure their livestock.
There are many advantages in netting chicken houses. First, the main aim is to ensure that predators do not have access to the birds. The netting material if properly installed can withstand the aggression and pressure predators are likely to mount on it. In addition, netting can also prevent other animals that spread diseases once they enter into the chicken house. An example of such animal is rodents. This also depends on the hole sizes of the net. If rodents are problems in a particular area, then the netting’s hole-sizes should be small enough to prevent rodents from gaining entrance into the chicken tractor
Netting can also prevent birds from the wild from coming in contact with chickens. These birds carry diseases that pose serious health risk to birds. They travel far and wide and contract diseases that can affect chickens
Chicken tractors must be both easy to move around and sturdy enough to prevent predators from gaining access and killing our poultry.
Choosing net for chicken tractor
There are few but important things chicken farmers must take into considerations when choosing nets for their chicken tractors. The net is provided as a barrier to predators and other disease-causing animals and so must have such qualities.
Nets are very easy to install on chicken tractors. They are cut to size and placed around the structure firmly. Nets should be installed firmly for proper protection and to withstand pressure from predators. Durability is another factor to consider when choosing nets for chicken housing. UV stabilized nets have the capacity to withstand UV rays from the sun and are also highly durable.
Protecting chicken houses with a net is economical and also makes management much easier. Predators can cause severe losses once they have access to the livestock. There are different grades and type of nets farmers can choose from. It is a matter of choice and the type of predator that are rampant in the area. Anyone can raise birds using netting irrespective of the sizes or number of birds in question. The chicken house can be built to the required size that suits the available garden space.
A shaped chicken tractor, usually they have wheels on one end and a handle on the other to allow easy mobility.