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.

Step 1: 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
drill bits

<p>Thanks for making me laugh! </p>
<p>Thank you for the laugh! Very well written...I'll be sure NOT to make a chicken tractor this way :)</p>
<p>chuckle - thank you for the realistic &quot;repertoire&quot; I had a good chuckle thinking about my own diy projects ;) </p>
Was here for the info on how to build, now leaving with knowledge and a smile on my face. funny stuff here :)
<p>Like the idea, if it were squared off it would also make a great run for my rabbits so they can mow the lawn for me during the day (and evening). Agree about the chickens though, I used to have enough (20 in the end) that I did nothing but eat eggs every day. They make fabulous listeners as well, the best way to unwind when I came home from a hard day at work was to go and sit beside the chicken ark (run) and tell them about my day. Made me feel better and relaxed.</p>
<p>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.</p>
Great instructable, I am still smiling:) Loved the hilarious sidebars!
You are my hero! This is how all most all my projects go. Thanks for sharing :) <br>
Brilliant. Thanks for sharing
Thank you for hump ring yourself. I'll try this with 8' bamboo I can get for ten cents a pole.
Hilarious! Thank you for sharing this; it sounds like many of the projects around our farm. :)
THANK YOU for such an entertaining instructable!
This is exactly how I build things, too. I've learned that whatever time frame I estimate a project will take, will actually take 3-4x longer. My husband also has 9 toolboxes... or so it seems. Then he rarely returns tools where they belong, but instead either leaves them out in the yard or around the house where he used them, or just tosses them on the workbench. Then he built another workbench, so I need to search a myriad of places to find what I need. And then when HE can't find a tool, he blames ME for leaving it somewhere :-D When I have a day off, I'm constantly calling him asking, &quot;Where the hell is the ____?&quot; <br> <br>I don't consider livestock to be pets, so I have no trouble eating them :-) Besides, I have about 75 chickens right now, I can't possibly name all of them! When I raise pigs for the freezer I give them names like Bacon, Ham, Teriyaki, etc :-D <br> <br>
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.
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 <em>had</em> 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... <br/>
You sick bastard. I can just see you doing that, too. I now feel the need to replace the vinyl top on my car with alligaotr skin...
&quot;You don't eat pets that have names....&quot; Hilarious!
Thank you soo much. I ended up getting a 1&quot; bar that i needed to bend for my new bike trailor. Ended up using a tree that sprouted 3 in one spot.. worked perfict!
Ive been wanting to do an Instuctible, but my style of making things is, like yours, seat -of -the- pants, and I thought&quot;I cant show people that !&quot;. 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...
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.
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??
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.<br /> A brilliant read, one of the best on this site! :D<br />
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!"
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.
You should submit this as an article to Countryside And Small Stock Journal, Mother Earth News, or Back Home Magazine.&nbsp; I bet they'll buy it!<br />
"The iguana is... Dennis." lmao!
Simple.&nbsp; I make my husband do the deed then I clean and cook them!<br />
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.&nbsp; Wish we had used something other than 2x6 lumber for the rectangle base tho.&nbsp; After 10 years it is starting to rot although the hoops and wire are still sound.&nbsp; The ducks don't mind.<br /> 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 &quot;Chicken Schloss&quot; for my hens and peacocks.&nbsp; I warn you, it's addictive.<br />
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.
It's nice to know someone else has projects go like this!
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....
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!
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!
Thank you sir for making me feel normal. This is exactly how the vast majority of my projects go and it is good to know that not everyone is freaking perfect at this stuff like some on here claim.
Okay- you are my hero of the day for this. My husband started a biodynamic farm project last year, which is a lot of fun and all sorts of satisfying (despite being The Thing That Ate Our Life) - anyhoo, I sent the link to your excellent post to him and the wonderful friend who is helping him with the project- they are in full Victorian mourning for a Buff-Orpington we lost last week (mean dog- long story) and will appreciate it- here's what I said- This is a great post. I love the way this guy writes. It's a realistic account of a guy who sort of knows what he's doing, learns from experience, has perseverance, is an optimist, and cheerfully embraces his own dumbassery while thoroughly celebrating his eventual triumph. Longish but worth reading. I want to be friends with this dude.
Laughed til tears were streaming! The best medicine I could have been given. (I'm in bed, sick, at the moment). It sounded just like my husband doing a project. I love this run, and will be emailing the link to my husband for a laugh and for a design. Thanks so much!

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Bio: Well, I am a Fire B.A.T. - A Breathing Air Technician for firefighting equipment. I repair and test Survivair Breathing Apparatus and air compressors ... More »
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