I remember collecting eggs as a kid - it was one of my many jobs around the farm and I loved doing it. Not only for the wonderful taste of fresh home grown eggs, but the rewarding feeling of caring for these wonderful creatures too.
Chickens have been a long overdue addition as a food source for me and this is something I'm about to remedy. First of all I need make them a home and I've decided to use a 'chicken tractor' type of system. Whilst I would like to have them roaming around the place as they like, there are many predators about and with a moveable chicken tractor, I will be able to protect them whilst still moving them onto fresh grass everyday.
In one of my most early posts I spoke about the benefits of reuse as opposed to recycling and this is a theme I wanted to continue with in the construction of the chicken tractor. So it was time to look around the place and see what materials I could get my hands on.
There was an old table in the garage - this was a perfect shape and size for a chicken tractor.
With my main frame selected, I rummaged through other materials I had collected through the years to see what else I could use.
After a successful salvage, I collected some old hardwood, left over chicken wire and sheet metal. With the old hardwood, I cut four lengths for the base as can be seen in the picture below and screwed them together with simple butt joins.
I removed the base for the moment and then went to work with the chicken wire. I simply wrapped the wire around the legs, used nails to keep the wire taunt as I went along and then used netting clips to tie the ends together.
I then reattached the base frame and screwed it to the legs of the table, this also secured the chicken wire to the whole frame.
I started to screw in the three pieces of sheet metal to the frame as can be seen below. This will provide protection to the chickens from the elements.
Now the chickens need somewhere to rest and lay their eggs. What better material to use than some old garden pots?
After a little bit of framing work, I was able to fasten the pots into place and make sure they were stable. All that is needed here is some straw for bedding.
I fitted the table top on loosely and then fastened some hinges to one side. This will allow me to swing tabletop like a door to access the chickens, provide them with food and water and of course harvest eggs.
To finish things off, I installed a latch to make sure the top can't blow open in the wind.
The chicken tractor was a little 'catchy' when I tried to slide it along the grass. So once again I put my mind into 'reuse' mode. I had an old lawn mower with wheels that were perfect.
Using a long bolt, I simply screwed the wheel to the bottom frame.
And here we have it! The finished chicken tractor, all from leftover parts around the house.
I can understand that most people would find this chicken tractor to be pretty ugly - but I think it's amazing and full of character and from a cost perspective, it can't be beaten. Anyone can build this for the backyard and while all these materials may not be on hand, they can be found at Opp shops, garage sales or even bought from a hardware store. It's easy to make and I would encourage anyone to try it.
Up next... I need to find some chickens.
Steve lives in Australia where he raises chickens and cows. He blogs at www.lifeontheland.com