Ok, don’t get mad at me!! Yes, I’ve seen them… the super beautiful, mini-modern-farmhouses, if you will, that are the trending norm of chicken coops. They are nice and fancy and lovely to stare at, but since being a pastured livestock farmer I’ve seen the importance and ease of having a coop that does not have a permanent run.
Chicken tractors are all the rage these days as well, and there are tons of options, especially on Pinterest!! The main components of a mobile chicken coop/tractor are: small enough to pull with one person, wheels on one end so it can be lifted up and moved, built-in nesting box (if it’s for layers), and an open bottom. They really are the way to go, for ease and good homesteading practices.
There are two types of mobile chicken coops/tractors:
Wire Bottom Tractor: This option has a floor but it’s usually 1-2” square welded wire so the manure falls through. Which this options, it’s best to have an electric net surrounding the tractor, or let the birds roam free.
Open Bottom Tractor: This option has no bottom and sits directly on the ground, usually the chickens are directly inside the tractor and no electric netting around the tractor is needed.
Here are the top 5 reasons that you should build a mobile chicken tractor:
1. Less Cleaning
So, while those mini-farmhouse coops are pretty… they do require a lot more cleaning. While you’ll always have to clean nesting boxes out, you don’t want to be cleaning the whole floor in your coop - ever. Trust me, you have better things to do. That’s the beauty of a mobile tractor is that all the manure goes straight into the ground, and fertilizes the grass - which brings me to my next point.
2. Spread Manure Easily
With the open bottom (whether it sits right on the grass or it has welded wire), it makes it super easy to the manure to go straight to the grass where it will work its magic and give you lush pasture. The cool thing is you can move your tractor up a square each day and look back in a week to see the grass explode with growth.
3. Chickens Always Get Fresh Grass
This is such a plus!! A permanent chicken run does not allow for new forage, there will be no more grass at all in the run. If you have an open bottom tractor, moving it up a square each day will give your chickens access to a fresh salad bar daily. Similarly, if you have one with a welded wire bottom and electric netting around, moving that once a week will also give your birds fresh greens.
4. Can Be Taken With You If You Move
This may not be a make or break for you, but if it’s mobile you can take it with you if you move, sell it, pretty much do whatever you want with it, in case circumstances change.
5. Chickens Get More Space
This is really only an advantage if you have the mobile tractor that has a welded wire bottom and electric fence around. The advantage of that electric fence is that you can make the space as big as you want and fit more chickens since they are only going in the coop to sleep or lay an egg.
Have I convinced you yet? I hope so! Let me know if you have any questions at all in the comments below.
AND! If you’re looking for the perfect chicken tractor, we got you!! After farming for a couple of years, we have designed our very own tractor plans!! Its small, affordable, easy to build, and gives you all the benefits listed above, click HERE to check it out.
P.S. I guess if your heart is set on one of these fancy coops, it’s best to let your chickens free roam they can still access new grass and have no permanent run (only a permanent coop).