Operation help-Max-get-chickens, part 2

The $100 tractor for three chickens

Today we discuss the making of the chicken tractor, without the drama.

chicken tractor overview, with scalies

Bill of Materials

The following chart is what it would cost, not what we paid. We spent a bit more (sorry, Max), because we bought extra of a few things (mainly OSB, due to errors and then design changes). Though we also made use of scrap or leftovers from previous projects.

material unit cost quantity subtotal
Pressure-treated 2×4, 12′ $5.57 3 $16.71
2×3, 8′ $1.92 5 $9.60
OSB 7/16″, 4′ x 8′ $8.45 1 $8.45
Corrugated Metal Roof Panel, 26″ x 8′ $19.49 1 $19.49
1″ Teks Roofing Screws with neoprene washers (box of 120) $9.88 1 $9.88
2.5″ Exterior Wood Screw (1 lb box) $6.71 1 $6.71
1″ Exterior Wood Screw (1 lb box) $6.71 1 $6.71
1/2″ Hardware Cloth, 3′ ~$2.00 / lf ~11 ft ~$22.00
3″ Strap Hinges (pack of 2) $3.27 1 $3.27
TOTAL     $102.82

(Nerd note: I’ve always wanted to use an html table in an appropriate context!!! ie not for formatting my angelfire/geocities pages 10 years ago!)

Other stuff we used that may or may not cost ya:

  • Drill, circular saw, mitre saw
  • Staple gun for mounting hardware cloth
  • Metal-cutting blade for circular saw
  • Egg drawer!
  • Nice big branches for roost sticks
  • It’s a good idea to prime or paint the wood with something, especially the OSB, and especially especially where ever the OSB was cut.

Some Assembly Required

Chicken tractor construction, animated in gifs.

1. Partial A Frame

1 chicken tractor a frame construction
Floor size: 3′ x 6′
Height: ~3′
For 3 chickens, this is a bit on the small side.
The run area is 3′ x 4′.

2. Chicken House Frame-up

2 chicken tractor house frame-up
That OSB wall and its little mini-studs were assembled before sliding into place on the A frame.

3. Perimeter Cladding

3 chicken tractor perimeter close-off
Tediously cut your hardware cloth with wire cutters. Careful! It’ll draw bloood. Staple directly onto the frame.
Roost access door is strap hinged.

4. Corrugated Metal Roof

4 chicken tractor corrugated metal roof installation
This was our first experience with sawing through metal and using those Teks screws with built-in squishy stuff to prevent leaking through the roof.

5. Egg Drawer

chicken tractor egg drawer
We ripped this drawer from my sister’s old kitchen counters. The box itself is about 11″ x 18″.

6. Insert Chickens

chicken tractor just add chicken
The coop is a bit tight, but miraculously, even the puffball Buff Orpington can fit down the 8″ ramp, and through the tiny door (which is maybe an 10″ high triangle.)

More Photos

chicken tractor construction

In case you forgot, it rained, so we took the job inside.

chicken tractor construction i can't fit through the door

Peek-a-boo. See? The tiny door prevents human-sized predators from crawling in and attacking them in their chicken house at night.

chicken tractor outdoor roosts

Ameraucana and Buff Orpington hanging out, and a shy Rhode Island Red hiding inside.

chicken tractor overview

Ta-da! All nice and… half-primed.

I’m still on session break from violin-making school, so violin-related posts will resume next week. Can’t wait to see my möbius strip bass bar!

In the meantime, next post will STILL be about chickens — troubleshooting and accessories.


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