2022 - Volume #46, Issue #6, Page #29[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
He Turned His Car Hauler Into A Chicken Tractor
The coop was built with free wood from a building he tore down. He purchased used chicken house tin and nesting boxes from some of the many former poultry operations around his Searcy, Ark., farm.
For the automatic watering system, a barrel fills with water from rain gutters on the outside of the coop. Pipes from the barrel lead to waterers on the inside and outside of the coop. To keep water from freezing in the winter, he wraps the lines with heat tape. During cold months, the coop stays in his yard where he can plug the tape in.
For easier cleanup, Brown purposefully left the floor open with chain link fencing. Initially, that was a problem as his new chickens roosted there; he lost 10 in one night after a raccoon injured and killed them trying to pull them through the openings. Now the chickens roost on 1x4s and 2x6s under the side wall overhangs, which also have screen floors, so their droppings fall outside. Brown places cardboard on the coop floor when there are young chicks to protect them from falling through.
“I bought an automatic door online, but the battery didn’t last long. So, I added a solar cell to catch enough energy,” Brown says.
He moves the coop sporadically with a tractor, usually at night and to places he wants fertilized. His ultimate goal is to have the chickens follow cattle in the pasture and have the unit as self-sufficient as possible.
“I try to make it automated, and then go back and fix ideas that didn’t work,” he notes. For example, he collects eggs by hand because the angle of a conveyor to move eggs varies depending on where the coop is parked.
He’s solved problems with inexpensive solutions. A screen cage around the water barrel stops chickens from roosting there and keeping his feed handy and protected in totes in the coop are two examples. He also hangs shiny objects from the coop eaves to keep hawks away when his chickens free-range around the coop.
The trailer frame and other recycled items work well for the chicken tractor, he says. They get the job done without a big investment that costs more than he can recoup from selling eggs.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Barry Brown, Searcy, Ark. (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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