Backyard chickens have become incredibly popular in the past few years. Self-sufficiency has a lot of appeal to many,s does a regular supply of fresh, organic, cage-free eggs. If you’re considering raising chickens, you should start by checking your city’s farm animal regulations and restrictions. Once you’re in the clear, it’s time to research chicken coop designs! You can easily and inexpensively build your own coop at home with designs from sites such as http://www.chickencoopguides.com/. A chicken tractor is one popular type of chicken coop that may be perfect for your yard.
What is a Chicken Tractor, Anyway?
When one thinks of farming and tractors, a plowing machine often comes to mind. A chicken tractor, however, is something quite different. A chicken tractor is a type of floorless chicken coop that can be easily moved from one part of your yard to another. Often A-frame in shape, chicken tractors are very light weight and simple to relocate, especially if wheels are added. In the United Kingdom, this type of chicken coop is known as an Ark. Chickens raised in a chicken tractor benefit greatly from sunshine, fresh air, exercise, and the chance to forage.
Why Use a Chicken Tractor?
There are many benefits to using a chicken tractor. Free-range chickens are ideal, but predators can quickly dim your best plans. Chicken tractors have no floor, so chickens are basically free range and able to forage in the grass for bugs and weeds while also being protected from predators and inclement weather. Any eggs they lay will be protected, not hidden in the foliage waiting to be found. You won’t have to clean your coop floor, as you’ll simply move the chicken tractor to a new location each day or every several days. Not only is this a fantastic way to fertilize your yard or garden, but moving the coop also gives the ground time to recover between usage.
What’s With the Funny Name?
While certainly not a tractor in any traditional means, the chickens within this floorless chicken coop perform some of the same jobs as a tractor. Chickens dig and forage, plowing the ground and preparing the soil for planting. Even better than a tractor, chickens defecate, fertilizing the ground. Backyard chicken enthusiasts also enjoy the lawn-trimming benefits chickens provide!
Another perk of a chicken tractor over completely free-range chicken raising is that it is much more controlled. The chickens will not have uninhibited access to your vegetable and flower gardens, which they could destroy easily. The movability of the chicken tractor saves any one spot on your property from being completely destroyed, as chickens will eat or peck away any greenery within their living space. In a traditional, stationary coop or enclosure, chickens will clear the foliage to the ground, leaving nothing but dirt.
Easy to Use, Easy to Maintain
Chicken tractors are easy to build, simple to maintain, and make keeping backyard chickens a breeze. There’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars on a ready-made chicken coop when a chicken tractor can be crafted extremely economically and with minimal tools. Whether you’ve had chickens for years and are looking for something new or whether you are a chicken enthusiast just looking to start out, a chicken tractor is a fine backyard tool that you should seriously consider.
Photo by: Rochelle Eisenberger