Mini Projects

Chicken Tractor

A chicken tractor is composed of a flock of chickens with a mobile coop and a mobile electric fence. The chickens scratch up the weeds and fertilize the soil preparing it for planting another garden or expanding a garden. The advantage is that you get close to truly free range eggs and the chickens get to live a close to a natural life doing what they like to do – scratch and pick. The once off setup cost is about 200 euro for the 50meter electric wire mesh fence and energizer. The chicken coop can be built with a pallet and about 50 euro of materials including weather proof paint using the plans we’ve made. There is no maintenance cost with regards to equipment.

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Quick notes about chicken tractoring:

Soil / Garden preparation:
Chickens scratch the ground – loosening the soil and root up or eat most grasses and weeds.
Control insect and slug population.
Chicken manure fertilizes the soil with high nitrogen content.

Space:
Plenty of space promotes healthy chickens, good food browsing quality and therefore high quality eggs.
Electric fence (usually 50m – which makes it 150sqm as a rectangle or 200sqm as a circle)

Mobility:
Promotes heath by preventing bacteria build up in muck puddles and brakes the parasite life cycle.
Mobile chicken coop – on wheels or a cart / light trailer – making it easy to move by hand by only 1 to 2 people.
Mobile electric wire mesh fence – keeps chickens in and predators out.
Can be moved around a property or to another site.

Chickens breeds:
Any chicken breeds will do the job but heavy weight and browsing breeds such as Australorps or Brahmas are best suited for the purpose of scratching the ground.
If priority is egg production or otherwise this can be adjusted by simply choosing a breed most suitable to the task at hand.
Generally soil / ground preparation in the garden is the most desirable result.

Maintenance:
Using a combination of giving the birds plenty of space, an electric fence and a mobile coop makes chicken tractoring systems extremely low maintenance.
Opening and closing the door of the coop every day is not required as the electric wire mesh fence keep predators out.
Water can be collected into bucket by using a gutter installed on the low side of the coop.
Feed can be kept in a large plastic or metal dust bin with lid and thrown into spots with deep weed cover to encourage the chickens to scratch them up.
The fence can be moved to cover fresh ground every 2-8weeks depending how many chickens there are. By moving the fence in a paddock shift system manor, the coop itself doesn’t need to be moved – unless their services are required elsewhere.