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Jim Hamrick in the Red Bay Farm forest

Pictured is my doghouse chicken tractor. It is an easy to build chicken tractor.

To build the chicken tractor I used some of the ideas in Cheryl Long's plan as described in a Mother Earth News article titled, Portable Mini Coop Chick Plan, published in April/May 07.

Great chicken tractor. I never have lost a chicken to a predator in this chicken tractor

The major change I made to Cheryl's plan was to convert the coop into a chicken tractor riding on two 12 foot long treated pieces of treated 2X4 and four 30 inch long cross pieces. The other major change was to use cage wire which has a mesh size of 1/2 X 1 inch and is relatively stiff. A friend of mine uses this type of wire to make his chicken cages. This type of welded wire cage material is also stronger (and more expensive) than chicken wire. This chicken tractor requires 3 rolls of 10' X 30" cage wire. An advantage of the cage wire is that it keeps snakes and predator paws out while also keeping chicks inside the cage and safe from predators like the chicken snake pictured to the right. The hutch bottom (black part of doghouse) is held on the rail platform by 4 screws. The top of the hutch top is held in place by a bungee cord.

I really liked Cheryl's idea about using a doghouse for a chicken coop...especially since I needed a coop fast after my dad gave me some chickens. I went to Walmart and bought myself a molded plastic square medium size doghouse for about $48. Like Cheryl, I modified the doghouse so that I could reverse the top which allows a small front entrance and a small back access door for harvesting eggs.

The back access door is simply a piece of 3/8 inch plywood which was cut to take advantage of a slot in the top of the door way.  The access door fits into this slot. Below the doorway on the black part of the doghouse I added a strip of 3/8 inch plywood attached with Access port for doghouse chicken tractorsome small bolts. This reinforces the bottom for the latch attachment. The latch is a piece of 3/4 inch square wood. It is attached to the black part of the doghouse with a 3 1/2 inch long 1/4 inch bolt. The door and the back of the hutch are intentionally misaligned with the door protruding out by about 1/2 inch. When, the latch is moved upward it wedges the door into place.

The picture to the left shows the door between the doghouse and the Hen in doghouse chicken tractorcage in the open position. The door is part of the cage. The door is raised and lowered with a cord. The picture shows how the cord is tied to a steel rod sitting on top of the cage. To close the door the cord is untied and the door falls to a closed position because of the weight of the 2X4 scrap attached to the bottom. Once closed the door is locked by slipping the steel rod through the cage in front of the door. The chickens can't get out and predators can't get in.

Here are the instructions to build a doghouse chicken tractor. Send a story about your chicken tractor to jim@redbayfarm.com and maybe we will post it here at Red Bay Farm.

 

Free Chicken Coop Plans

The doghouse chicken tractor is also a great rooster muffler. My young rooster likes to crow all the time especially if the moon is out. At night, I lock him up in the insulated doghouse. He can crow all he wants but he is so quiet that he doesn't disturb us or the neighbors.

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