Sunday, March 11, 2007

Chicken Tractor questions

Recently I had a Lady ask some questions about our chicken tractors. The following should help a bit.

If you look at the photo, the tractor is facing north. The skids are made of 2X4X10's and they are about 110 3/4 inches apart (inside to inside dimension). These run north-south.

Then two 2X4X10's are cut 105" long and each end is notched so as to sit down on the skids but they leave about a 1 1/2" gap on the bottom so as to not catch stumps and stones. These rails run east and west and are attached using "timber lock" screws from Home Depot.

The doorway's inside dimension is 33 1/2" wide and 61" tall.

Remember there is also a 2X4X10 that is ripped to be a 2X4X10, and is then cut to length to fit inside the cattle panel. This connects the top front to the top rear and gives stability.

BTW, the cattle panel is 16' long and 50" high and we use two.

All the rest of the framing is 1X3 that has been ripped from rough cut 1X12X12 pine.

The bracing around the door and the rear is drilled on the ends so that wire wraps can be inserted through the holes and around the cattle pannel to provide more stability.

There is about an 8" "tounge" on the skids where the hooks for the pulling rope is attached.

Since I use 2X4's for skids I have to use a tie-down strap with a ratchet to pull the center together to square it up. I then put on the cattle panel, recheck square and then add four cross braces to hold it square. Then I remove the tie-down. If you don't do this the spring action of the cattle panel will "bow" out the skids

Chicken wire is attached with wire wraps as is the trap. The tarps need to be replaced each year.

This year we will wire wrap on some of that plastic roofing panel that look corragated. We will use clear panelling and it will give us some wind and rain protection in the early part of the season. This should help keep the death rate down as the young birds do NOT like cold damp weather.

Some day when I have some free time I will do this up right with plans, dimensions and better pictures. I will be building five more tractors this month so I should be able to get it done then.



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