Monday, June 20, 2011

chicken tractor

I gave my old knees a good workout today. Having more plants still in containers, I asked Rusty to till me another garden. He says I keep him busy, pushing for more garden space, and then more. I am addicted to planting things! I can't help myself.

Also, I asked him to build me some chicken tractors. I would build it myself, but it would take me two days. It took Rusty about an hour and a half. For those of you who are not farming, a "tractor" is a mobile chicken pen and housing. People use these tractors for young chickens, for backyard chickens in suburbia and city plots and some people use them for gardens. I know another farm that puts young ducklings in them. Which is pretty smart. Ducks poo like crazy.

We have decided to use the tractor in our garden as part of staying a pesticide free farm.The chickens love to scratch and peck and eat bugs and grasses. This eliminates the need for pesticides and cuts down on weeding. I am all over that! The chickens then poop in that area, and it acts as natural fertilizer. Every day, you move it along. The tractor in a garden setting needs to be pretty narrow to be able to fit between the rows of vegetables. Another benefit of a tractor is the chickens need less feed which cuts down on consumer waste. Additionally, the chickens, and eventually their eggs, are more healthy. It might not be exactly the same as free roaming, but it is pretty darn close. There is a shelter attached, so the chickens can get out of wind and rain and feel secure, always having a place to duck into if something scary happens, like when the mower comes by. Also, hawks can't swoop down and grab your babies. Perks all the way around. Permaculture is based on this sort of farming/living structure way of being mindful of the every day.

I was having some sort of camera operator issues, so this photo is a tad blurry. I am too tired to go up and snap another right now. So here is my first official tractor for my chickens and garden.

chicken tractor in the garden

two Brahmas - look at the hairy legs

chicken tractor in the weeds

two chicken butts

green pepper plant - random shot

photographer issues and carrots

tonka enjoying the chick-weed, cabbage, carrots and the cool earth

new garden - Earl - tiller

Today, I planted a row of romaine, (Yes, I still have more) a row of broccoli, two rows of two varieties of tomatoes, and three rows of pole beans. My idea is to plant in waves. This way we get fresh veggies longer. It helps if you are canning too, to get some breaks. Besides canning for part of our year's food source, I am also selling some. I need to recover my cost of planting, a new tiller, etc... then I will be donating some to needy families. People get non-perishables from food pantries, but these families need fresh vegetables, as much as my family and I do. It is a win, win, win.

Another great day here in Wild and Wonderful WV!


  1. Great idea for sorting those weeds Crow. Knowing my chickens though, they'd eat the bloomin plants as well.

    My own weeding method of choice is called 'My Dad' and is relatively easy to maintain. I'd be up to my scrawny neck in chick weed if it wasn't for him.

  2. My free roamers came and ate a bunch of my early plants that I had in trays. Wiped them out. They haven't bothered my garden. ::knock on wood::

    Maybe you should build a Dad tractor? ;-)


I love comments. Don't be shy, tell me what you think!