As a poultry keeping, one of your main concerns is providing appropriate shelter for your chickens which is beneficial for them, your landscape and your gardens. While a permanent henhouse will provide excellent shelter, complete with nesting boxes, roosting bars and other amenities, it is also an immovable structure that requires significant maintenance and cleaning. For many small scale farmers, another alternative is out there that is equally beneficial for the chickens and the environment: the chicken tractor.
This is in actuality a moveable coop that allows the chickens to have access to protected fresh forage, with a sheltered area, possibly even complete with nesting boxes, but no floor to the run, that is also usually equipped with wheels to add to its mobility. For a larger chicken tractor, wheels are likely required as it will be immoveable otherwise. Some people choose to have two or four wheels on their chicken tractor. Consideration must be made however for the height the wheels lift the tractor from the ground as it could be enough to let a small bird venture outside, or a predator inside. With two wheels, one end can be lifted as you would a wheelbarrow and the chicken tractor moved fairly easily by one person, depending upon size.
With the ability to move the tractor to different areas, there are many benefits. The chickens will trim and fertilize the ground they are on, and even prepare the ground for further planting by scratching up the soils. In the meantime the chickens will get a fresh diet of grass and bugs which will mean they require much less, if any, prepared feed. And, from a workload standpoint, the chicken coop will not need a heavy cleaning, as there is no floor and the droppings are not massive in one area if the coop is moved frequently. You will find you get excellent eggs and meat from the fresh diet of your birds, have less work, and your environment will benefit significantly.
So whether you’re new to keeping chickens or to carpentry, you can build your own mobile coop or you can buy a chicken tractor kit that you assemble yourself.