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MrSteele

A Powered chicken tractor?

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MrSteele

OK, my grandson decided that we need some chickens, though I tried to dissuade that fact. My wife agreed with him, having never had the rascals herself, and knowing nothing of keeping them.She, Hayden (grandson) and my daughter thought about what great pets they would make! So, Dada had to come up with a chicken house, feeders, waterers, etc to keep 3-4 chickens in the yard. Free range is not an option do to critters around the house that like chicken meat for a snack.

I am repurposing the old wooden kids playset into a chicken tractor, and one of my buddies suggested motorizing it with some of my "junk". So..after a little consideration, a Snapper rear end! The engine sits directly over the transmission, and the frame is nothing more than a steel tube that can be removed separating the front end from the rear end. A few modifications, and a pipe flange to mount the Snapper frame to the chicken house, a little 'engineering' and some time, should yield a self propelled chicken tractor. Will post pics as the work progresses. The tractor will be heavy because of the materials used. With a little real engineering, it should still be movable under human power, but, why do something by hand when you can flip a switch, put it in gear, and watch it work, instead of doing the work?  I am assuming that, at or near idle, in 1st gear, it should move easily

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wwbragg
45 minutes ago, MrSteele said:

why do something by hand when you can flip a switch, put it in gear, and watch it work, instead of doing the work? 

My older brother would always try to automate the chores Dad gave us.  He would repair an old cultivator and hook it up to a power soured (usually me, in a make-shift harness).  Trouble was, it usually took longer to automate it than if we had just done the job outright.  Next day he would start over with a different cultivator and "improved" harness but the same old horse.

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SmilinSam

3-4 chickens doesnt require very big housing. Wal mart here sells some nice "chicken tractors ready to assemble. Just lift one end and roll to a new location every so often.

We opted to use an ols playhouse/garden shed and fence in a 12x20 section of yard with a big walnut tree in it this last time. Prior to that it was free range. 

Biggest enemy of the free range chickens was hawks. Ducks were the first to bite it....too slow a ground speed.  Chickens were the next to go. They seem to like to stand out in the open too much.... The last to go were the guinees(dont know about the spelling) They were fast, smart and had built in defenses. They could run super fast. They also traveled along tree lines, fence lines and around buildings. Rarely ever walked right out in the open. If a hawk did get ahold of them, they can shed their feathers. Saw this first hand in a dramatic hawk attack here once. Saved that guniees bacon. But alas they all bit the dust too eventually to the winged warriors overhead.

The only time I ever lost chickens to ground predators was when I shut the chicken house and didnt realized the coon was already in the house when I shut the door for the night.sm00

Ohhh mannn... the carnage I saw when I opened the door in the morining!. Hens all dead laying all over the floor. Blood everywhere. I looked up into the rafters and there sat all the roosters looking down at me like.." What are you looking at?..we didnt do it? Coons over in the nesting boxes yawning , stretching ,waking up.

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GregB

Wife and I have talked about getting chickens when we hopefully retire in 3-5 years.  We have hawks that live in the wooded stream area on our rear line.  Figured I would have to make a covered enclosure of some kind.  Saw plans for movable runs that go into the garden also.

 

 

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dhoadley

As a suburban kid, I had to google "chicken tractor". I was expecting something like this.

Image result for chicken tractor

Most of the examples were a lot lighter on the tractor part. :$

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MrSteele

As usual, I am trying to do this the least expensive and best way that I can. So far, with exception of a few framing anchors, nothing was purchased. I will have to buy siding, a few pieces of hardware such as latches and hinges, rubber washer roof screws, and hardware cloth. I have a pile of roof sheets left over on a commercial job I did a few years ago. And, that old Snapper! The engine noise will likely be a bit much. If it is, will add an automotive muffler, or pipe the exhaust in some way as to reduce the racket. An electric motor is not laying around as is the Snapper with an oil burning engine. Should get 2 benefits, moving the chickens and reducing mosquitoes!!

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720nut

 Small block Chevy 2x4's, powerglide with trans brake , 9" ford rearend, 31x15.50x15 Goodyear Terra tires, should power it pretty good,     LOL

Just my $.02

Edited by 720nut
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MrSteele

Got the Snapper heading in the right direction, but will have to do some serious consideration. I moved the coop from the drive to its current location in the shade with a 2 wheeler, and mounted wheels on the other end of the conflagration. Moving it by hand is always going to be interesting. I have to go to the beach for a few days to keep the family happy, when I get back, that motorized house is going to be on the list of things to do this summer.

We are making real progress. The wife decided she liked free range, to heck with critters! And we are one rooster short this week. The cost so far, not including the coop and appurtenances, includes 200 pounds of food, several bags of shavings, 10 pounds of DE for dusting the innards of the coop and chips. Real progress...we have 3 eggs so far!

image.thumb.png.d483351765a0656690476d5be95961cd.png

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fishnwiz

What about the cost of the breadcrumbs for "Dusting " the chickens when they stop laying eggs or do you use flour?  JK

Nice looking coop....I think chickens would be a fun hobby but city says NO WAY. 

 

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