The purpose of a chicken tractor is to provide shelter. It is portable and can be a part time or full time shelter for your chickens. It can be moved around the yard to supply the chickens with continual supply of fresh forage. This also allows you to distribute their compost around the yard.
Chicken tractors come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most people tend to make their own chicken tractors. There is no specific way in how to design the chicken tractor. This is up to the person building the coop. People can be very innovative and resourceful. I don't think I have ever seen 2 chicken tractors that look the same.
Chickens are a great addition to anyone's garden or farm. They are easy to care for and render many benefits. As they peck and scratch around the yard they cultivate the ground. They dispose of weeds and insects while they forage. They supply us with meat and eggs. And they freely fertilize the yard or garden with natural manure.
Chickens can also make great pets. If you take all these benefits and add a chicken tractor in the mix it amplifies all of these benefits. With a chicken tractor you can raise healthy free range chickens. The tractor makes it possible to provide the birds with varying food sources and clean living space. The tractor will keep the chickens from eating the plants that you don't want them to eat and keep predators from eating them.
When you are ready to design your chicken tractor there are many options to consider. The most familiar option that most people go with is the closed top open bottom design. With this design the idea is to cover the chickens giving them a nice size area to peck and scratch and can still be protected when the sun goes down. If you were to build the chicken tractor with a roosting area and nesting boxes it could also be used as a full time living area.
There are a few more options when thinking about a chicken tractor. You could assemble a regular chicken coop with wheels and create a temporary area around the coop that gives the chickens access to forage.
Before you make your choice on which option is best for you, think about the following:
How many chickens will you need to house?
How much space do you have?
If you have little room and only plan on having a few chickens then an open bottom tractor on wheels is the best option. If you only had 2 or 3 chickens you would still be able to obtain the benefits of their foraging and fertilizing the area.
What is the purpose of your chickens?
Do you only want eggs and meat or do you want all the benefits that they can yield? If you plan on selling your eggs then you will likely have more than just a few chickens. You will then want a more permanent coop that accommodates easy rotation and grazing that will not take up a lot of your time moving them from one spot to another as they will clear the ground quickly of weeds and insects.
One of the advantages of building your own chicken tractor is that you can recycle old wood to build the coop. And this of course will also save you money. Look around your yard, garage and even your neighborhood for scrap wood. This will cut the cost substantially and of course recycling is always a good thing.
After you have rounded up these old scraps you can then begin to design the coop. Get creative and come up with a design that will take advantage of the scrap wood that you have collected.