Chicken Tractor Designs to Inspire Your Creativity

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By Bill Dreger, Ohio – Chicken tractor designs are becoming more popular as more and more homesteaders and folks who keep backyard chickens are looking for flexibility and the ability to move their flock around the backyard or the homestead. Here are three great chicken tractor designs that you can build at home for your flock.

Chicken Tractor Designs

Movable Chicken Tractor Coop #1

Once the decision was made to keep a small flock of hens, I began researching for a few chicken tractor designs that would meet both the chickens’ needs and mine. It had to be a compact and secure structure that gave adequate space for 10-12 hens. At the same time, I wanted to give my hens safe access to the outdoors without having them roosting on my porch railing.

A movable “chicken tractor” type coop seemed the best route to follow in my design. So I endeavored to take the best aspects of various portable designs to incorporate into a coop that would best fill the bill.

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My chicken tractor design features a 6′ x 4′ enclosed coop mounted 2′ above ground. It has an enclosed pen under the coop protected in galvanized poultry netting and extended an additional 6′ in front of the structure. Chickens are fully protected top and sides while in the outdoors. A hinged coop door that drops to form a handy ramp gives the birds quick access in or out of the coop. Total outdoor ground space is 6′ x 10′. This allows birds plenty of fresh air and sunshine with the ability to get under the coop to get some shade or escape the rain.

Coop construction is mainly exterior plywood on a 2 x 3 framework using galvanized nails and screws. Outside pen area frame is from 1x and 2x pressure treated lumber. A large, homemade awning style window and several generous vent openings ensure good light and cross ventilation. The insulated metal roof is front hinged to swing upward for easy coop cleaning and additional ventilation when needed. A side hatch door puts water and feed receptacles within easy reach. To save interior space, the nesting boxes hang off the coop’s rear wall, allowing fast and convenient egg collection from outside.

The chicken run is completely enclosed in poultry net. The door drops to form a ramp and awning window gives light and ventilation.

With a host of predators in the area, particular effort was made to protect the flock. All window and vent openings are covered with a double thickness of galvanized steel mesh. This same wire mesh is employed single thickness under the tongue-in-groove wood floor of the coop. Doors and awning window are equipped with double latches to thwart even the cleverest raccoon.

Every few days the coop complex gets moved 10 feet or so forward on a pair of rear wheels. This continually gives the hens fresh ground to traverse and keeps the area tidy. All in all, this small chicken coop keeps my nine hens healthy, happy, and safe.

The hinged roof gives full access to the coop interior for cleaning and extra ventilation.

Originally published in the February/March 2007 issue of Backyard Poultry and regularly vetted for accuracy.


Moveable Chicken Tractor Coop #2

By Link Dellinger, North Carolina – I recently designed and built this portable chicken pen, or “chicken tractor” as some call them. I’ve seen many nice pen designs but this one is unique in many ways.

Here are a few of the chicken tractor design features:

  • The roost is in the house sheltered from the draft, yet it extends out away from the floor. Chicken waste is recycled into the yard instead of heaping up inside.
  • The roost is high enough off the ground and the floor to reduce the risk of carnivore attack.
  • Chickens can scratch in the yard during rain or shine.
  • Built of solid construction yet can be moved on level ground by one person.
Link Dellinger built this portable chicken pen with extra features in mind, including an overhang so birds can scratch in rain or shine and welded wire mesh to allow manure to drop from roosting area directly onto the ground.

Originally published in the February/March 2007 issue of Backyard Poultry and regularly vetted for accuracy.


Using a Chicken Tractor in Winter

By Jeanne Larson, Wisconsin


I have attached a few pictures of our chicken tractor. We were looking for a few chicken coop ideas, and we got the design idea from one of your back issues. My husband did a little modifying to it. It has served us for two full seasons already and is very easy to clean and to move around.

The first picture is from April 2007 when we got our first chickens and the tractor was just finished. As you can see, our dog was mesmerized by the chickens at first.


During the winter, we moved the tractor to a sheltered spot next to my husband’s shop (former milkhouse), protected by the barn. Our concerns were what to do during the coldest temps and when the wind was blowing. My husband built a walkway that goes from the tractor into his workshop. He then built two boxes that hold nest boxes in one and their water and food in the other. They are connected by a tunnel.


The boxes are built up high enough so that they are out of my husband’s way when he is in the shop working. This allows the chickens to get out of the wind and cold.

We can either block them from going outside when it is really cold (like today -10°F with 25 mph winds), or we can open the walkway up and the birds can go in and out at will.


When spring returns, we disconnect everything and put a piece of plexiglass over the tunnel opening and the chickens are back out in the field!

I love your magazine and have gotten many ideas and helpful advice from it.

Originally published in the December/January 2010 issue of Backyard Poultry and regularly vetted for accuracy.

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