What's the eBook about?
Chickens in a confined coop can end up living in an unpleasant dust-bowl, but allowing chickens to free-range can result in chickens getting into gardens and expose them to predators.
A movable cage or “chicken tractor” is the best of both options – the chickens are safe, have access to clean grass, fresh air and bugs. Feed costs are reduced, chickens are happier, and egg production increases.
But how do you build a chicken tractor? What aspects should be considered in designing and using a chicken tractor effectively? In this eBook I aim to explain how to make a chicken tractor work for you in your environment to meet your goals for keeping chickens.
I also list what I have learnt over 10 years of keeping chickens in tractors of various designs and sizes, from hatching chicks, through to butchering roosters.
1.1. About us
1.2. About this book
1.3. Conversion of units
1.4. Chicken tractor terminology
2. Chicken tractor basics
2.1. What is a chicken tractor?
3. Examples of chicken tractors
3.1. How we use chicken tractors at Eight Acres
3.2. Joel Salatin – Pastured Poultry Profits
3.3. Linda Woodrow – Permaculture Home Garden
3.4. Chicken Tractor - The Permaculture Guide to Happy Hens and Healthy Soil
3.5. Toby Hemenway - Gaia’s Garden
4. Design and construction considerations
4.1. Construction materials
4.2. Mobility and weight
4.5. Nesting boxes for laying hens
4.6. Predators and pests
4.7. Mesh size
4.8. Provision of food and water in the tractor
4.9. Putting it all together
5. How to use a chicken tractor
5.1. How to accustom chickens to a chicken tractor
5.2. When and how to move the tractor
5.3. Chicken tractors and gardens
5.4. Chicken tractors and cattle
5.5. Chicken tractors and the family dog
6. Our Experience with Chickens
6.1. Using an incubator
6.2. Caring for chicks
6.3. Planning your flock
6.4. Ideas for feeding chickens
6.5. Living with roosters
6.6. Butchering and cooking your chickens
7. Some final thoughts on chicken tractors
Appendix A: Photos of our chicken tractors