The Ultimate Backyard Chicken Tractor

Build a chicken tractor and your chickens can forage on fresh ground every day.

| September/October 2014

  • Give your flock room to range while keeping them safe from predators. The nest box on the back allows for easy access for collecting eggs.
    Photo by Elizabeth Williams
  • This chicken tractor is light enough for one person to move easily by herself.
    Photo by Elizabeth Williams
  • Constructing a corner jig ensures that all frame pieces will end up square, and it can also help with construction of the J gussets.
    Photo by Elizabeth Williams
  • Exterior of a side panel, ready for paint. Note that the design accounts for shade and protection from harsh elements as well as fresh air and ventilation.
    Photo by Elizabeth Williams
  • The nest box frame and the nest boxes themselves are designed so that a person can collect eggs and access the nest boxes for cleaning without entering the chicken tractor.
    Photo by Elizabeth Williams
  • Outside of door panel (not shown on illustration): Two (S) pieces are at the top of the door frame, and two vertical (N) pieces on the sides.
    Photo by Elizabeth Williams
  • Wheel assembly orientation of the wheel handles and stop blocks can be done one of two ways, see photo A.
    Photo by Elizabeth Williams
  • The end blocks of the dowel handle will be screwed from the inside with 3-inch screws, and you can position the handle to accommodate varying heights.
    Photo by Elizabeth Williams
  • Stout branches make solid roosts for your birds, and can be easily attached to the mesh with washers and screws.
    Photo by Elizabeth Williams
  • Exploded illustration of the chicken tractor.
    Illustration by Nate Skow

In a perfect world, our chickens would be able to free-range all of the time, eating grass, bugs and seeds to their heart’s content. Unfortunately, chickens are rather low on the food chain and prove easy targets for predators. After losing a few of my birds to some foxes, I knew it was time to consider an enclosure for them.

I wanted an easy-to-build, inexpensive portable pen that would keep them safe from predators. It would need a nest box, roost, and a place to hang a feeder while providing them shade and protection from the elements. It would also need easy access in order to feed, water and collect eggs, and be easily movable for one person. I also wanted to be able to break it down for winter storage.

After piecing all of these requirements together, the resulting chicken tractor I constructed is based on a series of six panels and a nest box. The panels are connected with loose pin hinges for quick assembly and disassembly.


• Tape measure
• Wire cutters
• Table saw or Skilsaw
• Radial arm saw, jigsaw, or crosscut hand saw
• Screw gun with Phillips bit
• 6-inch speed square

Binders & Hardware

• Exterior wood glue
• 3/4-inch drywall screws — 1 pound
• 1-inch drywall screws — 1 pound
• 1 1/4-inch drywall screws — 2 pounds
• 2-inch drywall screws — 4
• 3-inch drywall screws — 4
• Exterior paint and primer
• 1 set of 2-inch hinges
• 1 hook and eye latch
• 9 sets of 3-inch loose pin hinges


Gather and cut all wood according to the materials list.
5/15/2018 10:03:49 PM

I used the plans at WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG to build my own – I highly recommend you visit that website and check their plans out too. They are detailed and super easy to read and understand unlike several others I found online. The amount of plans there is mind-boggling… there’s like 16,000 plans or something like that for tons of different projects. Definitely enough to keep me busy with projects for many more years to come haha Go to WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG if you want some additional plans :)

6/26/2016 7:29:02 PM

Would have liked to see a video of it being moved (on your FB page). Also, that looks waaay too heavy for ME to move (I'm 68/yo).



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