Chicken Tractor Plans – Part 3

Last year I had to add detail to my parts list, which lead me to create the below outline and part list.  If you’re familiar with carpentry,  you should be able to take this blog and build a very sturdy and versatile chicken tractor.   Add this post to the basic diagrams in my earlier two posts, part 1 and part 2, and enjoy.

That’s not all.  This outline inspired me to write a 75+ page step by step how-to guide with illustrations, additional information, and personal experiences.  If you would like this detailed how-to guide, CLICK HERE.

As always, thank you for checking us out and all your support by liking and  sharing.

 

Supply List with  details.

Main Items

      • 3 – 16’x50” cattle/feedlot panels
        • Form the “hoop” structure Slightly overlapped
        • May want to cut one rung off end to shorten it so tarp can be stapled wood base easier.   Tarps come a little short because the measurements are raw not finished.
      • 5 – 2x4x12 treated
        • 2 – 12′ base sides
        • 2  – Cut 10′ base ends – 2′ extras become door diagonal supports
        • 1 – Cut 43″ for door frame top & cut 2 – 50″ sections  for back diagonals
      • 1 – 2x4x10
        • 1 – Cut 2 – 59″ door frame sides
      • 4 – 2x4x8 treated (3 if using 2×2 back upright)
        • 1 –  cut into 2′ lengths for corner braces for bottom frame
        • 2 – Rip in half to use for door
          • Or use 4 2x2x8 furring strips, but should stain them if not treated
          • Gives 4 2x2x8
            • 1 –  cut into 55″ and 31.5″ for side and top of door
            • 1 –  cut into 55″ and 31.5″ for side and bottom of door
            • 1 –  cut into 31.5 for middle brace on door
            • 1 – (optional) cut 61″ for back upright instead of using a 2×4
        • 1 – Cut 61″ for back upright
      • 75’ – 4’ Chicken wire
        • 50′ for 3 passes over the cattle pannels
        • 20′ for the ends
      • 50’ – 2′  hardware cloth, ¼” mesh
        • Perimeter of entire house.  Critter protection.
      • 20’ – 3’ 2×4 wire fence
        • Put over ends of coop for K-9 protection
      • 2 ½ – 3′ x  5-7′ scrap for back end weather board to give extra shelter
        • Should be fairly light
          • Thin pallet wood, what I used.
          • Sheet of tin roof
          • 1/4-1/2″ plywood or OSB
      • 12×16′ medium duty tarp, or heavy duty if you prefer.  Note the extra gets wrapped around the ends
      • 2 – 3” hinges
      • 2 – bolt latches
      • 1 – handle
      • 1 – large bag of zip ties. Used to fasten all the chicken wire, hardware cloth, fence, and cattle panels together.  So you want plenty.

Misc. Hardware

      • 2 – 3” hinges
      • 2 – bolt latches
      • 1 – handle
      • 24 – 3-3.5″ Lag screws. To assemble base, including corner supports
      • ~26 – 3″ deck screws.  To assemble door & frame and back upright and diagonals
      • 1/2-3/4″ Staples for staple gun
      • ~32 – 1 3/4″ Galvanized Fence staples.  To attach the cattle panels to the base and anchor the door and back upright.
      • Fasteners to attach the back weather break that won’t penetrate the 2×4 it’s going into.
        • 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 16GA staples (pneumatic stapler)
        • 1 1/2 – 1 3/4″ screw (Better than hand nails)
        • 3d-4d nail (d=penny)
      • 12’x16′ medium or heavy duty tarp.

Optional Apron

      • Ends
        • 25’ – 2′  ¼” hardware cloth
          • Will actually use approximately 12′, 1′ overlap on the ends.
        • 2 – 1 1/4″ x 10′ PVC pipe
        • For front and rear aprons
      • Sides
        • 25’ – 2′  ¼” hardware cloth (Can us e leftover from front and back apron if only 12′ was used for ends)
          • Will use approximately 13-14′.  Thirteen feet will give a 6″ overlap of the front and back apron while using just 1- 25′ roll of hardware cloth.
        • 3 – 1 1/4″ x 10′ PVC pipe
        • 2 – 1 1/4 PVC coupling

 

How I build the chicken tractors. 

    1. Start with the 10×12′ frame.  The 10′ end pieces should be raised about an inch to help pull the tractor over clumps of grass.
    1. Add diagonal corner braces.
    1. Hoop 3 sections of cattle panels.  They will overlap slightly. Nail them to the base and wire tie hoop sections together
    1. Assemble the door.
    1. Cut the door frame and attach to base and hoop with screws and fence nails.
    1. Cut and assemble the door.  I wait to attach it after I’ve stapled the chicken wire to the door.
    1. Put in rear vertical attaching the top to the hoop with fence nails.  Attach the diagonal supports.
      1. Add your end material for additional shelter.  Note: This side of the tractor will go to the most windward side, west for me.  The upper section is just covered by the tarp and can be raised for additional air flow. (don’t attach tarp yet)
    1. Cover the hoop with chicken wire, 3 passes of 4′.  Overlap slightly. Staple to wood frame and zip tie together and to the hoop.  I use a pneumatic staple gun with 5/8 staples, but a hand stapler should work fine, especially if you use a hammer afterwards to ensure they are tight.
      1. Note: If you don’t have a continuous 75′, such as two rolls of  50′ and 25′, plan it out first.  Cover the hoop, then back.  Save the front (door end) for last as it uses  3 smaller pieces.
    1. Cover the back and front sections and door with chicken wire.
      1. Note: the bottom 2′ will be hardware cloth and the upper section will be chicken wire.
        1. If you purchased 75′ you should be able to piece together the entire door and sides if you prefer.  I do the front and rear end across bottom with hardware cloth,  then the piece in the tops with the chicken wire.
    1. Surround the perimeter with 2′ hardware cloth.  I added this to stop predators from reaching in through the chicken wire and grabbing birds sleeping near the edge.
      1. Cover the back bottom 2′ that isn’t protected by your end material with  Hardware cloth.  Optionally you can cover the entire back for extra protection depending on what back end material you used.
      1. Start from the back and move to the front.
      1. Note:  If you don’t have 50′ continuous role, plan you’re cuts accordingly. IE, for 2 25′ roles, start in the back and wrap up to the door using one role for each side.  Then do the door.
    1. Add 2×4 fencing to ends.  This is added for K-9/coyote protection.  Three foot  doesn’t make it impossible for a K-9 to get over it, but that height with the chicken wire too makes for pretty good protection.  So far we’ve survived 2 K-9 attacks.
      1. Note:  Use a type/size predators cannot force through.  I use 2×4 3′ 14 gauge welded wire.
    1. Attach door with hinges and add latches and handle.
    1. Cover 2/3 of the hoop with the tarp, wrap extra around back.  Staple the tarp to the wood base and wire tie the eyelets to the hoop.
      1. Note:  My medium duty tarps last one season.  I remove and re-add each season.
    1. BONUS: Add an apron to the front and back for added protection.  You can also do the sides.
      1. Staple 12-14′ of 2′ hardware cloth to the front and back base, leaving 1-2′ of overlap past the tractor.  I try to leave it a little loose so it has a little “hinge” to it.   I don’t know that it’s required.
      1. Wire tie a PVC  pipe to opposite end of the hardware cloth for weight.
        1. Note:  If you cut the PVC end of the hardware cloth and bend the points down, it’s more of a deterrent for critters that might burrow under.

-Jason

 

Copyright © 2018 by Jason Maples