A Chicken Tractor in Every Backyard Garden

September 24, 2009

I was impressed with the answers to the little gardening riddle that was posed last time. I was also told that I offered too many clues and that I made things too easy for you to solve… so I’ll have to remember that next time, and yes the answer to the riddle was a Chicken Tractor!

Okay, maybe Chicken Tractors aren’t for everyone or every garden, but even if your local ordinances prohibit keeping one in your backyard, you have to admit that it’s a pretty slick setup all the same!

Who Wants a Coop when a Chicken Tractor is in the Neighborhood

Chickens are the engine that powers this machine and can quickly reclaim an overgrown, weed and bug infested patch of ground and transform it into a cleared and fertilized area, all without the luxury of gasoline powered equipment and without back breaking struggles.

The tractor itself keeps the chickens in and predators out; if things work as planned! There is screening on the top and sides, but the floor is open so the birds have freedom to forage to their heart’s content. Nesting boxes and shade cloth or enclosures provide shelter from the elements as needed.

Following are a few photos taken at the Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute during a trip to St. Croix that I made earlier this year. You can see the chicken tractor in action and get a better feel for how it actually works:

Before Chicken Tractor A Chicken Tractor in Every Backyard Garden
Before - look at how thick and overgrown the weeds are before the tractor goes into operation, it’s definitely not a job you would want to take on with just a tiller or a hoe.

Chicken Tractor in Use A Chicken Tractor in Every Backyard Garden
During - the chickens are happy and content as they go about the task of foraging greens and weeds, snacking on insects and weed seeds, scratching to loosen up the soil, and depositing chicken poop.

Chicken Tractor After A Chicken Tractor in Every Backyard Garden
After - see for yourself the good job and difference that the chicken tractor has made in a matter of days. Now the entire process can be repeated in the next section of garden.

Breakfast Attachment A Chicken Tractor in Every Backyard Garden
At any stage you can’t forget this handy accessory; here is the nesting box that will keep you in freshly laid eggs from your healthy and happy chickens.

Starting a Wish List for the Gardener who has Everything

I think these are so cool and really wish that I could have one in my backyard. Here is a link to a site containing a variety of chicken tractor photos and designs for anyone interested in building their own.

But be sure to check back with me, because I haven’t completely given up on the crazy idea of carrying a chicken tractor in my OpenSky Organic Garden Shop… if I can just figure out a way to stock and inventory those chickens! Stay tuned.





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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Donna September 24, 2009 at 12:07 pm

This is amazing. I have heard of a chicken tractor, but I didn’t know chickens could clean up an area this way. I want one now.

Rebekah September 25, 2009 at 12:51 am

We’d been talking about a chicken tractor, but duh, I still could not figure this riddle out. Good one!

Firefly Hill September 25, 2009 at 12:52 pm

My friend has one of these…I took care of her chickens for a week while she was away. I did not know it was called a chicken tractor! What a great name!

Kimberly September 29, 2009 at 2:34 pm

This is a good idea for someone with chickens. For small gardens, one could make it along the entire length of the row and the chickens could have a day as they went back and forth. One would not have to move the chicken tractor as often down the row.

Tracey C. Wade December 10, 2009 at 12:44 pm

Good thinking. There are natural ways to keep your garden looking green and healthy
I Love these tips!

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