Tractor, roofed

The first morning back from our vacation I had to quick fit the last pieces onto the chicken tractor. It was easy to replace the 6″ wheels with 7″ (one inch makes a huge difference actually), but it took a good couple hours to get the roofing cut to size and attached. Mostly because I am short and it was hard to reach the top.

It’s asphalt roofing, which I liked because it came in 48″ sheets… but golly that stuff is heavy! I dropped a sheet edgewise onto the top of my foot and all I can say is thank goodness Sofía was inside with her daddy, or she’d have some new vocabulary words today.

I didn’t want to return them for the lighter plastic stuff because I would have had to install blocking between the rafters to keep it from sagging. This stuff is heavy but stiff, which is a big plus. If it ever wears out I suppose I’ll get the other stuff, but the weight is manageable – if awkward – in the mean time.

Besides, I was in a hurry. I had an appointment with three redheads.

No names… and I don’t know if that’s a “yet” or an “ever.” We’ll see. They should start laying this week at least.

The poor things have been “factory-style” raised up til now, according to the lady that sold them to me. She bought them from the Amish, but when you have hundreds of the things I’m sure you don’t have the time to ensure plenty of space and handling for each one. Also, their beaks are clipped, which pains me (but doesn’t hurt them).

These new gals will hang out in the tractor for a day or so to get their bearings before I introduce the older layers.  Then it’s one big happy grass-fed summer vacation for all!

3 Responses to “Tractor, roofed”

  1. heidi Says:

    How does the tractor work? Are they protected from predators or escape by having a bottom edge not allowing digging under?
    When did you get the new ladies? Do you think because of the same-size-ness they will get along with your other girls? Good luck.
    Yes those sheets are heavy–we are considering a new roof so I have lugged the tile sheets with different colors to match to existing, (or not). And just resting against my ankle, they tend to slide…

  2. Kathleen Says:

    What’s the purpose of clipping their beaks?

  3. diana Says:

    Kathy: it’s to keep them from pecking at each other, a big problem in confined (factory-like) quarters. They will kill each other out of sheer frustration… so instead of expanding the living quarters, the farmers clip their beaks. Sigh. I can’t help but feel it’s going to make them poor foragers. How can they go after tiny bugs and worms? I wonder if they can even clip grass effectively.

    Mama: no, there’s really nothing to prevent digging. It’s one of the things I’m most worried about, but I think if it had wire “wings” dragging on the ground it couldn’t be drug around easily. It depends how much digging a fox can do in a single night, as the tractor is moved every day. I honestly don’t know. I’m hoping that maybe during the summer it will be ok, as there is easier game around…? During the winter when predators get more desperate, the birds will be back in the more secure coop.

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