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Building a Chicken Tractor, the LONG and DIFFICULT Way! (UPDATED!)

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Picture of Building a Chicken Tractor, the LONG and DIFFICULT Way! (UPDATED!)
For my first Instructable, I'll show you how NOT to build a Chicken Tractor, which is a portable, enclosed pen for chickens. Each day you can move it to a new part of the lawn, so the chickens inside can get fresh grass. This design turned out to be pretty cheap, not too ugly, and easy to move around. The way I assembled it was NOT. I tend to come up with pretty good final products, but my methods to get there are ... bad.
I will show ALL the steps I took to make this project, unlike most Instructables that only show the good steps. Bear with me, enjoy the chaos, and please, if you decide to build one of these, READ ALL THE STEPS FIRST! It will save you the problems that I bestowed upon myself.
 
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Step 1: Materials needed

Picture of Materials needed
10 sections of 1/2" conduit, 10 ft in length
8 ft wide plastic mesh, 1" grid, 30 feet or so left over from winterizing the fishpond
pile of 1-1/2" ABS pipe scavenged from a fire company's old carnival booth
pile of 1-1/2" ABS pipe fittings you bought to make something with that pipe, but then couldn't remember where you put them and had to buy more, only to find the first ones as soon as you got home
14-ga galvanised electric fence wire- the stuff you bought 3/4 mile of to make chainmail, until you discovered that it was too soft
1/4" grid galvanised hardware cloth you bought to keep the rabbit from chewing the porch railing, but never put up
ABS cement (see above regarding pipe fittings, do same with this cement)
2" galvanised wood screws, squaredrive head because they were $1/ box
3/8" drill
reciprocating saw
Sharpie Marker
pliers
drill bits


scubabon1 month ago

Great In-tertaining-structable. I too share the joys of farm life; where toolboxes and benches full of generations of old tools go to hide from me. I'm guessing that your father in law would have a stroke just like my dad would, if we ever tried to organize anything. Plus the tools would NEVER go back where I put them. It would just make things too easy! Thanks for keeping it real. Always refreshing when people do.

adickson52 months ago
hilarious
kenbob7 months ago
Great instructable, I am still smiling:) Loved the hilarious sidebars!
gemquest7 months ago
You are my hero! This is how all most all my projects go. Thanks for sharing :)
tim_n7 months ago
Brilliant. Thanks for sharing
Siagonrocks11 months ago
Thank you for hump ring yourself. I'll try this with 8' bamboo I can get for ten cents a pole.
Mschilling2711 months ago
Hilarious! Thank you for sharing this; it sounds like many of the projects around our farm. :)
stumitch1 year ago
THANK YOU for such an entertaining instructable!
This is a great instructable, well featured... It's got alot of sarcasm and humour so it's ticks all the boxes for me since I'm planning on something similar but for our rabbit, we need to let it out to cut the grass but the wee bugger goes for the good plants, so now I can do it... I added a few extra keyowrds to help people find this as well as adding it to the outdoors category as the second one.
FireBAT (author)  killerjackalope5 years ago
Thanks for the Feature, and the tweaks to the listing! I'm planning on building a Bunny Tractor out of the leftover conduit. I was suprised at how quickly the buns escaped from this one, though. Bunnies are smarter than Cornish Rock chickens!
Well I know that, our rabbit figured out how to open cage doors, threw the whole cage off the bottom part, dug holes in the garden, though it's trapped now, it's in a run and the grass is roll out, it can't dig deep enough to get out of the cage... No problems and if you need a hand with anything give me a shout...
I saw a bunny cage in a magazine once, that used two bike wheel rims at either end of a mesh tube. The rabbits would roll the whole works around, all by themselves.
interesting, however I need the rabbit to be trapped in one spot so I can control its 'mowing'
I dunno, maybe a track or barrier system that only lets the cage roll around in a preset area. I think the guy in the article had the mesh placed on the inside of the bike rims, so it would be an inch or so from the ground, and the bunnies couldn't eat the grass down to a nubbin in any one spot.
Put rocks or bricks around the area you want them to stay in. They may not be able to roll over them.
I just plan to make an easily movable cage to shift about and give it so many hours on each, throughout a few days, curing alot of problems in one fell swoop...
Of course he goes for the good plants. If you had the choice of eating grass or eating the garden, I bet you'd pick the garden salad, too. Or maybe you'd pick the alligator.
You know it's the alligator...
It's one of the few foods that comes with a free set of boots. Or maybe a tasteful handbag for the missus.
I was considering a backpack, with most of the alligator intact, the tail would make it a lot more capable of carrying tall stuff and using the legs as the starts of the straps would make it look suspiciously like an alligator mounted you, then you beheaded it for doing so causing it to be inexorably attached to your back while you made a hat out of it's head, of course not being enough you had to go back to the swamp and fool the other 'gators with your new clothing and swim in to the middle of them, only to place simply obscene amounts of exotic explosives in the middle of the crowd, slither your way back to a safe distance and hit a button that looks suspiciously like the eye of the dead 'gator, you then collected your spoils and fashion a skin for your car out of them, being one of those twisted f**ks that decided leather wasn't kinky enough and PVC was too fake...
cory.smith3 years ago
"You don't eat pets that have names...." Hilarious!
lostbord9993 years ago
Thank you soo much. I ended up getting a 1" bar that i needed to bend for my new bike trailor. Ended up using a tree that sprouted 3 in one spot.. worked perfict!
Ronyon3 years ago
Ive been wanting to do an Instuctible, but my style of making things is, like yours, seat -of -the- pants, and I thought"I cant show people that !". Thanks for showing me the way, in a hilarious fashion! I dont have chickens(yet) but this reminds me of a half finished pool cover, made of PVC plumbong fittings and electrical 1/2 PVC.Time to go source mosquito screen...
shannnn4 years ago
Please! Do more instructables the "bad" way! I can't raise chickens (except maybe "hardwood-floor-fed" or "linoleum-fed"), but reading this kept me thoroughly entertained (i.e. falling out of my chair laughing) while waiting for my supper to bake.
nonni53 shannnn3 years ago
Check out www.housechickens. com for your lino or hardwood floor chickens. there is even a company selling chick diapers (yes I bought them!!!) Finally moved the girls out of my office and outdoors. No one believed I had diapered chickens in my house. It worked for a year. Others in the group dress their chickens for birthdays and holidays. There is something for everyone right??
Azayles4 years ago
ALL 'ibles should be written this way, absolutely hilarious! You took us on the whole journey from start to finish and we shared your pain all the way.
A brilliant read, one of the best on this site! :D
autolycos5 years ago
Sounds like I need to make an instructable on how to eat named pets... Great instructable, and good humor. I really enjoyed it!
It's easy to eat named pets, just need the right names. "Come here, Luscious, Savory, Tender! Here Sage, Onion, Thyme!"
FireBAT (author)  forgesmith5 years ago
Believe it or not, their names actually are Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme! Parsley will come if you call her. All our pets have food names. The rabbits are Bun and Muffin, our rats are Chio (Japanese for Salt, because she's white) and Jiao (Chinese for Pepper- She's black and white.) The guinea pig is Nutmeg. The mice were Butter, Jelly , Honey, Toast, and Tea. The iguana is... Dennis. OK, mostly food.
maven FireBAT4 years ago
You should submit this as an article to Countryside And Small Stock Journal, Mother Earth News, or Back Home Magazine.  I bet they'll buy it!
Rishnai FireBAT5 years ago
"The iguana is... Dennis." lmao!
maven autolycos4 years ago
Simple.  I make my husband do the deed then I clean and cook them!
I found this hysterical just simply due to the fact that you thought conduit was the better choice to use instead of more hoops and T fittings....... You could have easily made this thing in about 1/4 the time had you used more pvc pipe and then just screw and washered the netting into it. Congrats for the chicken tractor though.........even if life turned to comedy to build it.
We used schedule 80 black poly pipe and concrete re-wire covered with standard chicken wire for the hoops on our first tractor.  Wish we had used something other than 2x6 lumber for the rectangle base tho.  After 10 years it is starting to rot although the hoops and wire are still sound.  The ducks don't mind.
We upgraded to a wooden tractor with an elevated coop 5 years ago, and last winter my B-I-L welded me a pipe, square tubing, and sheet metal "Chicken Schloss" for my hens and peacocks.  I warn you, it's addictive.
persianfan4 years ago
OMG this was freakin hilarious!! i laughed so hard because it is everyone of my projects that i have ever done!! and im getting ready to build more chicken pens myself for some new chicks we will be getting so i can already see where this is going. thanks for the laugh.
snowfalcon4 years ago
It's nice to know someone else has projects go like this!
jlc17554 years ago
I love this. I swear you have been spying on my husband. This is exactly how he does projects around the house. He's been building a chicken coop for months now....
rustaholic5 years ago
Yes you can eat pets with names. Once it's dead it is just meat. Get yourself some Isa Brown pullets from Townline Poultry. (google it) You will get an egg a day per hen. Attach nest boxes to your closed end that open on the outside for you to collect the eggs. Around here you would need something a LOT stronger than that mesh. That plastic mesh wouldn't even slow down a hungry coyote.
Very funny, I really enjoyed your instructable. And the broilers, hahahaha that is so typical of real life. But in the end, what a great chicken tractor you made! Should still eat the broilers though, even if they do have names. Should have called them "Dinner" hehehe!
A D5 years ago
Great!! I really got a kick out of the ending. Wait till those "pet Roosters" get their act together and we will see how long they stay "pets". I loved the overall project and the putting together reminded me of many of mine. Great Job!
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