Monday, September 23, 2013

The Chicken Tractor Comes of Age

Early this spring, I posted about a chicken tractor I built, and then I introduced the three ladies who will live there, who eventually grew to five.

That proved to be a non-winning idea:
  • The tractor was built for 3 hens, and we discovered we could have 5. 
  • The tractor needed to be moved weekly, or actually, on a lawn, twice weekly, and still it chewed up the lawn where they were parked. 
  • It proved more difficult to move than planned for. That may come from my poropensity to over-build things.
  • We needed to lock them in every night, and sometimes we forgot to do that. 
  • Feeding and watering them was rather a lot of work. It always involved dirty knees. 
So we built a real chicken coop.  The ladies like it better, it's better protection, we don't need to lock them up every night (the entire coop is secure), and best of all, my lady likes it. She thinks it's pretty.

But the original tractor was still available.

It had been designed to fit inside one of the garden's raised beds.

The plan was to turn the chickens loose to both fertilize and weed the space, and we only need to pay them (literally) chicken feed.

So today, we installed the tractor into the garden, and installed the two leghorns in it.

We fenced in the rest of the raised bed, and put a lid on it (leghorns actually fly fairly well. So do chicken hawks, which can find a couple of leghorns really inviting. 
And they immediately got busy digging out the muchies. And cleaning up the garden at the same time.

Happy chickens.

1 comment:

  1. I have suggestion, which may or may not require a slight modification to the chook run.

    You seem to a bit limited on compost bin space.
    If you throw your compostables into the run and let what they don't eat accumulate, a couple of things will happen:

    They'll eat some of it.
    What they don't eat will serve as a buffer btw confined hen feet and the soil, preventing compaction.
    Lots of bugs, worms and larvae will move into the compost litter, and both diversify the hens diet (healthy) and lower your purchased feed requirement.

    The chickens will have a great time scratching.

    Some wood chips/shavings or other high carbon material will keep the compost C:N balanced and cooking.
    The birds will keep it turned.

    Just a suggestion.