The Perfect Backyard Chicken Setup

The Perfect Backyard Chicken Setup

The Perfect Backyard Chicken Setup

Ahhh chooks. That perfectly multi-purpose permaculture animal. Not only will they lay you an egg-shaped meal every day, but they will scratch up and turn over a piece of land in a matter of days. So why not put this energy to good use all over your permaculture patch and get yourself some backyard chickens?

Chicken tractor or ‘eggmobile’?

This probably depends on the size of your land. Some would describe a chicken tractor as a smaller-scale egg laying operation perfect for a backyard. Something like this:

best_chicken_set_up1

An ‘eggmobile’ on the other hand might be described as an egg-laying setup used on a farm where a large flock of hens are free ranging on pastures. Like this:

best_chicken_set_up2

Whatever sort of egg setup you are looking for in your permaculture palace, I have two words for you: Google Images.

Type in “chicken tractor” to Google Images, or maybe try “eggmobile”. Have a look at what everyone else out there is doing. It’s great fun. And you’ll find plenty of inspiration to make your own from free, scavenged or second-hand materials.
Recently we decided to go from a permanent chicken coop to a movable chicken house, so that we could have our scratchy hens out there doing their thing over weedy areas and manured patches down the paddock.

We took an old farm trailer and have so far had the tyres fixed, and have some wire mesh at the ready as the base (easy for chook droppings to fall through). Scavenged steel for the frames and sides, and we found some core flute under the house to use for insulation.

A work in progress:

our chook trailer

Or go ready-made

You may not have the time or inclination to make yourself a chicken tractor. If not, there are plenty of options to make use of someone else’s skills and buy yourself a ready-made version.

Or you might do a bit of both, like we did. We bought a fantastic chook feeder that allows our hens to eat the grain (once they are trained to use it) while keeping out wild birds and rats. We’re planning to fix this feeder to our home-made trailer, and Bob’s your uncle.

Get inspired

Trawl the web and you’ll find free instructions to make movable chook houses out of bamboo, old trailers, pallets, polypipe, and even an old table! Here are a few links to get your started.

Chicken tractor made out of a table

Geodesic chicken dome made of polypipe

Chook tractor made from free pallets

Great watering system

Large scale chook tractor (little vid of Joel Salatin)

– Emily Stokes

Comments (2)

  1. Was really thrilled to have received my copy of the mag, what a great achievement! I have a fledgling permaculture setup in suburban Sydney on 1000m2 that includes 2 chooks. Initially I was really excited with my Royal Rooster tractor, however the realities of moving the thing frequently enough to keep the chooks happy with new ground to scratch, on a property that isn’t flat soon brought me back to earth. I then let them free range for a short period of time before they completely redecorated my garden. I seem to have found a great solution with a chicken tunnel that runs the perimeter of the property made from mesh and attached to their tractor. I grow Clucker Tucker along the edges so they get their greens. Just another option to consider!

    Rebecca
    Apr 11, 2014 Reply
    • Now that is something I am also considering is having a chicken tunnel that I can attach the chicken tractor too. Great minds think alike Rebecca.

      Karen
      Sep 1, 2014 Reply

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