On top of my accomplishment the other day with mushrooms, I am happy that I can once more say that a project is completed… or at least, I have reached a milestone. I have built my second Chicken Tractor, and I am very happy with the results. It is a huge improvement on my original design and I will use it for the basis of future tractors. The only thing it really needs is some extensive field tests, which will entail the use of an actual field. I will, all things going as planned, place the tractor in the field next to my house and move half my chickens to the structure over the course of this weekend. Currently, the Chickens are not really eating that much grass, and that is a bit of a problem. All the videos I see and the instructions I read, claim that the chickens will willingly eat all the grass they can. I have noted that they don’t eat grass very often, seeming to prefer the leafier weeds and clover. They do seem to eat grass, yet when I move their tractor, I find that the ground is littered with small (3cm) lengths of grass. I don’t know what that is about, it is like they are just trying to keep the grass short!
video of chicks eating
I suspect that as I am supplying them with a good supply of delicious chicken feed (it is a special organic variety… more expensive, yet without any added chemical concoctions or medications) they don’t feel inclined to eat the grass. The stuff I am feeding them smells so good, I almost want to try it! Once I move one pen to the field, I will withhold the feed from them for a day or two… I am sure that they will start eating grass and be happy. If not, then I will feed them and try to work out something else.
I have worked on a design for the hinges for my PVC tube lid for the chicken tractor. While looking at the structure, trying to think of something I could use to keep the lid on, I realised that I could stick the tubes through some holes, and it would open smoothly. I mocked up a quick design and made it. Here is how it turned out.
It initially appeared to be perfect, yet while attaching all the piping together on the tractor I broke one, then another. It turned out to be not the best design (although I will look at an improved version in the future. I decided to simply use some extra twine I had to tie one side to the top of the structure, and this appears to work well enough.
The last part I need to add to the tractor is the wheels. I will move it before I place the wheels on, yet I will have to add it soon. Once I am sure that this tractor works, I will put together instructions on how to build it… which might be of interest to some of you.