In which the chickens engage in their seasonal migration (at last)!

We spent the winter and spring this year building the barn and then waiting for the weather to become less horrible...
(still waiting)

(still waiting)

(still waiting)

Heavy sigh.

Okay, fine. We'll just move our outdoor building project into the space that used to be the hay barn, and try to finish it, so the chickens can move out of the Winter Palace and back into their summer cottages.

TODAY, we finally finished it: the third edition of our Chicken Tractor.
We installed the wire walls, and then the roof (leftover roofing from the barn, incidently)
Details about Chicken Tractor I HERE.

Details about Chicken Tractor II HERE.

Finally, we installed the chickens!

Chicken Tractor III, also known as Mma Ramotswe's Tiny White Van , holds 4 chickens and has 4 nest boxes, a shelf for the water jug, and a roosting bar. It is significantly lighter than the earlier models.

Chicken Tractor I is still working fine after 2 years in the Swamp, but it doesn't look nearly as pretty as CTII or CTIII. I now call it Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It's significantly bigger, and houses six hens.

Both the White Van and CCBB will be pushed around the yard, a few feet each day so that the chickens inside have access to fresh grass and bugs in addition to their chicken feed. After two years of chickentractoring our backyard, the difference in our lawn is amazing--no moss, no bare patches, and not nearly so many weeds! Apparently, weeds are delicious down to the roots. Who knew?
CTII was so built so soundly that the wheels broke off from the sheer weight of the vehicle. Rather than try to tack wheels back on again, Jim used the tractor to drag it under the hazelnut tree as a home for our dear Chicken Twelve. She roams the yard freely during the summers, but she has the bad habit of laying her eggs in unusual places , which makes them difficult to locate. We hope that by locking her in CTII for a few days, she will gain the habit of laying her eggs in the nest boxes inside what I now call The House at Twelve's Corner.

All three Chicken Tractors:

Life is good. Did you already know that?


  1. Interesting contraptions all. Do the chickens live in them all the time or only when broody?

  2. I love your chicken posts. I snicker the whole time I'm reading them - your names are the best. (Are the Ladies Detective books worth reading?)

  3. I forgot, why don't they have free roam of the yard in the summer?

  4. Love it! My big SMILE for another Wet morning! No weeds? No Moss? Eggs? May talk Butch into it yet! :-)

  5. That last picture looks like a little chicken commune- They're great!

  6. Oh wow! The green-ness is blinding me! All that rain sure has lushed everything up. We let our chickens free range because a chicken tractor would be useless in our situation....we have no grass! lol! Well except for a few dry patches here and there and some weeds. That's what zero rain for 10 months will do to the environment. :(

    The names of your little cottages cracked me up. One day you're going to have an entire village of those chicken condos and you'll have to rename your place Poultryville! hehe!


  7. The hens stay in the tractors all summer so that they can work on the lawn AND stay safe from predators. With a mountain literally across the street from us, we always have hawks and eagles patrolling the thermals above the house, hunting for fat stupid chickens.

    Twelve is the exception: she runs loose in the yard, and has thus far evaded the predators. Also, she eats my strawberries, grapes, and blueberries. If they all ran loose, I wouldn't get any berries at all!

    Funder: Ladies Detective books are awesome, esp in audio. Terrific reader, very fun gentle stories--we just finished listening to the most recent book.

  8. Do you mind sharing the plans for CTIII? I've been wanting one, but I don't want anything too heavy for me to move on my own. Bad Pants is often working so much, stuck on conference calls that he hardly leaves his home office before 10 pm and starts his work day at 7 am. Asking him to move the ladies around seems... selfish, if I can do it myself. I cannot have any chickens free roaming here as we are close to a busy road and the roofing co. on the property might freak. So, tractors it is, if I have any ladies here at all. (I really, really miss having chickens!)

  9. Plans!? What plans? 8D

    Seriously, most of this stuff just comes out of my head. This one is a collaborative project, though, so we may have a concept sketch. Maybe I can do a guest post..

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  11. aarene i visitd our neighbors with the chickens and told them about your tractors. they have one too but no wheels. they only have 6 hens and a loud cockadoodledo, but very pretty and honestly i love it when he does that, it's part of life here.

    they were nice enough to give me a handful of eggs and i said "if there's a chick in here i'm bringing it back!" (ew, what happens if you try to hard boil a chick!?)

    they laughed at be, cuz they gather every day.

    they were very tasty and they threw in a head of lettuce and some herbs from their garden which puts mine to shame. we've had no salad fixings in the stores this month due to an e.coli outbreak that is killing people. scary. good to have home grown and be safe from this illness.


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