Thursday, March 29, 2012

Eggmobile, Take II

Remember this movable chicken tractor (or "eggmobile") we made for the laying hens last summer?



It's worked for us for a season, but like so many things we try, we're ready to revamp the design to something that's lighter and easier to move.

For one, the tires blew out in the extreme heat last summer, so we've more or less been moving it around on the rims.  Since the wheels are an odd size and tires are expensive, we haven't replaced them.



Another issue with this design is the fact that we have to drive it up on ramps every time we move it so that the chickens can go underneath for shade.

And the clincher?  Since it's only on one axle, we have to prop it up on wooden blocks so it doesn't tip.  And until we began using my father-in-law's tractor a couple weeks ago, this involved Byron physically picking it up slightly, me (never quickly enough) sliding the blocks underneath, and then Byron setting it down.  We think this process contributed to him throwing his back out the other weekend.



I'm still sketching out ideas for the new design, and we hope to re-use materials from this tractor for the new one.  For one, we're putting the new one on skids so we don't have to deal with wheels anymore.  And I'm going to design one with a metal roof, and one with a lighter-weight "hoophouse" roof out of PVC, wire, and a reflective tarp.  Who says I don't use my architecture degree??

Do you dismantle and re-design farm structures as much as we do??  Or do you have an eggmobile/chicken tractor you use and absolutely love?  If so, do tell!  I have ideas, but there's always something more clever out there.  We have about 19 hens + rooster.

I'm linking up with Rural Thursdays at Two Bears Farm and A Rural Journal.  Enjoy all the excellent posts!

Rural Thursday Blog Hop

10 comments:

  1. Sorry Paul never did that chicken tractor post. I bugged him about it for ages. I hope you all find a design you're happy with! :-)

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    1. No worries, Lisa! I seem to remember you used it for your meat birds, anyway. We need to modify it for layers, so of the two designs we come up with we're going to pick the one we think will serve us best.

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  2. it's a great idea though, that move-able coop!

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    1. Thanks...though we can't take credit for the concept!

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  3. My hubby made a tractor out of hog wire and metal sheets -- the wheels were the hard rubber kind -- no tubes. Not sure where he got them from, maybe old wheelbarrows? He fashioned a hitch that fit onto the lawn tractor, so we could move it rather easily.

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  4. Well, I don't even have chickens but I am always trying, researching and googling better solutions to issues and problems I have around my little homestead. You'll come up with something.....problems get your creative genes in high gear! Good luck! I'll stay tuned! I will have chickens someday so I'm "all ears"!

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  5. I'd love to try this some day - but since it's just me taking care of the chickens (hubby works long hours away from home) and I don't have a tractor, I have to stick to lighter range shelters for my birds - here's what I do (in case you're interested)
    http://www.thecheerfulagrarian.blogspot.com/2012/03/simple-light-chicken-tractors.html
    They're more like Salatin's broiler pens than the eggmobiles, but they're light enough so out-of-shape housewife me can move them around :)

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  6. I love that you have your own chickens!!

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