Grit Blogs > Learning to Live

Doghouse Chicken Tractor: Update

By Kasey Moomau, Assistant Editor


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So the chicken tractor is fully completed, and I'm amazed how simple it is to care for these creatures when they get fresh ground every couple of days. They were kinda freaking out for a little while (what is all this green stuff?! and is this DIRT?) but they got used to it pretty quickly, and they're experimenting with scratching. We've since introduced them to the idea of eating scraps, and we're experimenting with different foods to see what they like. I've learned that chickens do not get along with potato scraps or chocolate (various compounds in these foods can be toxic to them), but that my chickens, at least, like the bugs on the kale better than they like the kale itself, which I find kind of hilarious. 

Side view

The tractor itself is a bit heavy, as you can probably guess from the pictures, particularly on the doghouse side. It should be pretty durable, however, and my girlfriend and I can move it pretty easily, so it works. At first, I was a bit worried about the neighbor's dog and the chickens, but he comes over quite often and checks on things without ever trying to attack the chicken wire or dig under, so that's a relief. The chickens were a bit worried at first, but they seem to mostly ignore him now. We've seen very few varmints since we moved here, and I'm gonna guess that's at least in part to his doggy diligence. We are planning on adding a screen of 1”x2” garden fencing around the bottom, extending outward parallel to the ground, to deter any attempts at digging. Fastening it with fence staples will let us fold it up when it's time to move. 

Ze Marans 

I still need to build a new roosting bar or two and add some laying boxes. I know that I've got a couple of months or so for the boxes, but they really liked having a place to roost, so I might try and squeeze that in one of these evenings. 

 The Hatch is Open

If you've got any suggestions, let me know at kmoomau@grit.com, or on my Facebook page.

Have fun :)