Down with the inner hillbilly

So I’ve only had my chicken tractor for about 3 months. I do know that’s hardly “old” or “ready for a makeover”. But let’s face it folks, it looked pretty darn ghetto. Sagging wire + irrigation piping + flapping blue tarp is hardly the cutting-edge of chic lawn furniture.

The irritation/embarrassment finally hit me, and I tore it all down and started over. (Right this time.) It’s got rafters now! And cross-bracing! I broke out both the circular saw and the miter saw. And I had to review high school geometry to figure out angles!

I’m especially proud of the nest box (below, not quite finished). It’s got a latching door on the outside, low and light enough for Sofía to (maybe) collect eggs all by herself. The wire floor helps keep the structure lighter.

There is no ramp up to the topmost roost; the chix will have to hop from one lower dowel up to the upper one. I hope this may protect against lazy predators, if something ever does get in. (I think the weak point is probably the screen door. It’s all-metal mesh, but it seems pretty flimsy. Oh dear, I think I just admitted to myself that I need to make a new door too, sigh.)

I didn’t spend that much doing this – the 1×3 rafters were $1.25 each and their cutoff ends form the cross-bracing. I bought the mending plates and metal braces for where the rafters meet the frame, but otherwise used what I had around and recycled nearly all the materials from the previous tractor model. The roofing is where I spent my money this time – still, not all that much for 2 sheets at $20 each. And it will look so nice!

Sofía helped me decorate it for the chickens.

She was very proud of herself.

The funny thing is, this tractor isn’t that much heavier than the previous one! Or maybe it just seems like that because a) it’s so much more solid and b) I haven’t put on the roof yet.

As soon as the new (bigger) wheels are on and the roof is screwed in, we’re ready for a summer of grassfed, pastured poultry!

5 Responses to “Down with the inner hillbilly”

  1. Diane Says:

    Ooh, I can’t wait to see the finished product! We have 100 meat chicks (and 30-ish layers) coming in a couple of weeks. I think we’re going to build a couple of tractors for them. (Geez, just a couple of weeks now?? I guess we’d better get a move on…)

    Beautiful artwork, Sofia!!

  2. diana Says:

    Hi everyone! Sorry it took me so long to respond: we were out of state for a week! Ah, the miracle of pre-scheduled blog entries. :)
    Diane: WOW, that’s a whole heckuva lot of chickens! I guess you’re planning on selling eggs? One of the nice things about meat chicks is that you are done with them so fast – less than 3 months really! And then you can use their tractors for other things, like summer turkeys, or just retire them til next year. This tractor came together really fast, I’m sure you can get them done in 2 weeks!
    Stacey: I’m buying 3 more laying pullets. But really the tractor will mostly be a regular summer home for my regular girls. Free (if patchy) lawn maintenance, yay!
    OFG: I have a lot of catching up to do on your blog, but it’s the first one I go to whenever I snatch a moment at the computer! I love it when you leave comments here so I always try to drop you a line, too. :)
    Mama: Ha, I had thought about building Sofía a playhouse until we got that plastic freebee. It’s not what I’d love, but with all the projects around here it’s nice to forget about one of them!

  3. Mrs. Brent Parker Says:

    Are you going to hatch more chickens or are you buying baby chicks. Best of luck this time.

  4. ohiofarmgirl Says:

    great work baby! but i prefer the more politically correct “Appalachian-American” to hillbilly. ha ha ha ha ha or how about “farm urban”????

    hee hee hee i’ve been keeping up with you – just too tired to type any comments.

    sending hugs and lots of “way to go!’s”

  5. heidi Says:

    Really super what you are up to. But the first picture has Sofia looking longingly as if she had thought it were to have been a playhouse for a Sofia-kidlet…
    Just a thought. (I know she has her own in the backyard.)

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