Having chickens is one of the delights of moving towards self-sufficiency, but they can also have their problems. In our free-range (to the extreme) system, we have chicken pooh on the verandah, often in the house if we happen to leave a door open for more than 20 seconds, mulch that doesn’t stay where it was initially put, and garden plants that are eaten to nothing because the chickens find them so delicious. However, on the plus side, we have beautiful eggs, no dog pooh around the garden, despite having 5 dogs, and compost heaps that are light and fluffy (if scattered way outside the original confines). At this stage, we can’t see a way to achieving the best of both worlds, but we can certainly improve on what we have.
The answer is chicken tractors. A chicken tractor is a home for chickens that can be moved around the garden or rest of the farm. We like the sort where the chickens can be locked up at night (with a wire floor so their pooh falls straight onto the paddock - no messy chicken coops and build up of parasites), but let out to forage within the confines of electric netting during the day. We have several different models on the farm, all of which have their good and bad points. Everywhere we go, we are on the look out for clever chicken tractor designs. So come and see our collection and find out what worked and what didn’t.
The first one is one Nicki made. The second is one of the chicken tractors at Peppercorn Creek Farm, the third is one we purchased from Milkwood Permaculture. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages.