Sunday, May 10, 2015


Look at this! Thanks to amazing friends who came over for an afternoon at the farm, we created this small, inexpensive chicken tractor for the Freedom Rangers! It's 8x4ft and the little nuggets love it! The farm is raising a lot of chicken this year. I am hoping to raise ALL of my own winter supply and offer birds to friends and neighbors. These little guys are safe, on green grass, under a nice sunny sky and loving it!

This tractor was made with three 2x4's a few pieces of PVC, some screws, and chicken wire. Thanks to zip ties and some scrap lumber the door was made. Chris, Miriam, and Keenan helped (with Chris as project leader) and it took us about two hours form start to chickens inside. I don't have plans to share but the idea is simple enough. We faked it awesome. It's a 4x8 wooden base with PVC pipe hoops covered with some chicken wire. One end is covered with a plastic tarp for weather protection. Right now about thirty nuggets are inside but over the weeks ahead we will build a few more and the plan is to have just a dozen or so birds in each, on pasture, up on the hillside where the sheep and horse have been grazing. Joel's taught us all how herbivores should be followed by flocks of birds (just like in nature) and that is the plan on this farm!


Blogger Lauren said...

oh this looks great!

May 10, 2015 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger Cassandra said...

It looks great! Good job, guys.

May 10, 2015 at 12:14 PM  
Blogger Mel Baker said...

Looks fantastic, Jenna!!

May 10, 2015 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I like the simplicity of the design, but don't those chicks need a heat lamp, for night time at least?
Also, chicken wire will not keep out a raccoon, (learned that one first hand) and probably not a fox or coyote either. Hope you have some extra security measures that you didn't share.

May 10, 2015 at 2:52 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Good questions Karen:

Chicks need a few things to be healthy and they are certainly warmth and dryness. Grass in the morning gets wet from dew - so these guys have a thick bedding of dry hay inside insulting them from the ground. As for heat - they are are 2 weeks old and sleep in a pile together for heat. If there were 5 chicks in there it wouldn't be warm enough for them. But with 30 it's plenty warm! And it has been so very very warm here these past few days. The low last night was around 65-70 degrees I think? So they all did just fine this AM.

Per predators, yes raccoons can certainly get through wire. But barred owls, hawks, stray dogs and such can't. The tractors are not fortresses and I do expect to lose some to predators, which is why I raise double what I plan on harvesting. Chicks are pretty cheap and I would rather spend another fifty bucks on double the little ones and not worry about such possibilities.

I think of the Shakers when it comes to plants and livestock .They used to plant not just for the shakers but for the thieves, the crows, and the weather. Quantity has a quality all of its own!

May 10, 2015 at 3:54 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Oh, and the tractor is right against the house! I was too worried about them to set the little ones in the field. This tractor is just across from a set of glass doors that look out on it about 15 feet from the house!

Also, not all the birds are in here. This is a control group. The other half are in their brooders.

May 10, 2015 at 3:55 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Thanks for all the kind words as well. But all credit for design goes to Chris C - who pretty much figured it out when I showed him internet photos of similar tractors.

May 10, 2015 at 3:56 PM  
Blogger EZ said...

Nice! Is there chicken wire on the bottom too? I imagine it could be upsized for adults too...*plots*

May 10, 2015 at 9:09 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Well I've got to say, that's an 'interesting' way to look at it. I'd rather spend the money now to beef up the security, than take the chance on chicks being killed because of a lack of it. Those cheap chicks won't seem so cheap if you've got a few weeks of feed into them and then you suddenly lose them.
Temperatures Tues night/Wed morning are predicted to be much cooler, just giving you a heads up.
I'd say the opportunity to manipulate things in our favour has increased greatly since the days of the Shakers.

May 10, 2015 at 11:24 PM  
Blogger aart said...

What diameter and length are the pvc pieces? I now you're not keen on details, but maybe Chris could share?

May 11, 2015 at 7:40 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...


Your comment came across harshly on this beautiful morning.

I am aware of the weather changes here and of the forecast. Rest assured my birds will be protected from cold. If the temperatures drop they'll go back into brooders like they did last night. Once they are in a tractor it isn't prison, they can be moved wherever I need them to be. It takes moments to scoop them up and put them back inside the barn brooders.

Have a little faith in me. I don't write every single detail of my plans, process, or care schedules but that doesn't mean they are not thought through.

May 11, 2015 at 8:01 AM  
Blogger Christina S said...

Nice work Jenna, they look great, and I am excited to see how they work!!

May 13, 2015 at 6:35 AM  

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