A chicken tractor, or chicken ark if you are in merry ole England, is a great alternative when it comes to keeping chickens.
It is portable and can be moved around your yard. This portability can be very beneficial as it can provide fertilizer in different parts of your yard, keep the birds from wearing down one area, and it can help the birds find fresh bugs to eat and grass to graze.
You can find many tractors for sale online, or you can choose to build your own. If you have common tools and a little know how, you can easily build your own.
We recently built a couple of tractors to try them out ourselves. Below you will find a picture by picture guide to how we built ours.
For actual tractor plans, please see our chicken coop plan reviews.
Here is the layout for the two ends of your tractor.
The tops of the ends of the tractor. You can see how the top piece will slide into the tops.
Measure to your center and add your third brace, built just like the ends.
You frame up the bottom of the tractor and then add the bracing in the middle for the plywood, which will serve as your perch. The nesting boxes will be on both ends.
The nesting boxes are framed up and a hole has been cut out for the birds to gain access to the top. We will now add the sides of the tractor.
The bottom here is screwed in and stable. The top is built to be removal for easy access to eggs from the nesting boxes.
One side is built in. The other side is built to be removal for easy cleaning of the perch and nesting boxes.
The perch is built and frames up the access hole.
We then added the ramp for access to the top.
We attached a cable that connects to the outside and fits in a pulley at the top of the tractor. This way when the chickens are all in the top to nest you can close the ramp to give them extra protection from predators at night.
All that is left to do now is to add chicken wire or another type of heavier galvanized wire to the bottom of the chicken tractor. You also need to add the handles on the outside for easy carrying and moving from place to place.
Click here to see the finished version of the chicken ark.