• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Haasl
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Dave Burton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Ash Jackson
  • Kate Downham

Salatin's broiler tractors....

 
Posts: 24
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was up at Polyface Farms this weekend checking Joel Salatins chicken tractors out and I want to do them on a smaller scale. I am thinking about 10 broilers in a 4x8 tractor. Is that enough space?
 
pollinator
Posts: 280
Location: Beavercreek, OR
67
dog bike woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Its a question of sq/ft per bird.  I don't recall the dimensions and bird densities of salatin's pens, but 10 birds in 32 sq ft seems reasonable.
 
master gardener
Posts: 680
Location: Lasqueti Island, British Columbia - USDA zone 8-9
304
goat books chicken food preservation pig solar homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would say yes 4x8 would be big enough for 10 broilers, if it gets moved everyday. I made one based on his design and it is 7 x 10 and I have kept 12 or so laying birds in it. If it gets moved everyday they always have new grass to live on.
 
Eliot Mason
pollinator
Posts: 280
Location: Beavercreek, OR
67
dog bike woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The plans I found are roughly 12'x8', so 96 sq ft with 80-100 birds.  Which we can roughly say is 1 sq/ft per.  So 3.2 sq/ft per will be luxurious.

But Jordan has an excellent point... its not just movement space but also forage.  So there is also a question here about how often you want to move the tractor - and that depends on the quality of your pasture.
 
Dustin Talley
Posts: 24
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Eliot Mason wrote:The plans I found are roughly 12'x8', so 96 sq ft with 80-100 birds.  Which we can roughly say is 1 sq/ft per.  So 3.2 sq/ft per will be luxurious.

But Jordan has an excellent point... its not just movement space but also forage.  So there is also a question here about how often you want to move the tractor - and that depends on the quality of your pasture.



Well mine is a backyard in my 1/3 acre urban lot but I have enough grass to move them every day and have about a 2 week period between getting the same area again.
 
Posts: 11
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just raised a flock of ten broilers in an 8x4 PVC and chicken wire tractor. It worked well. I moved the tractor once a day (usually first thing in the morning), and harvested a bird or two at a time as they got large (or started to crow loudly) in order to allow for more space per bird. The tractor was moved through our main sheep paddock (the sheep come in at night to it), the thought being that they'd "pick up" after the sheep. The grass is taking it well, and the chicken manure is making the grass noticeably greener.

 
pollinator
Posts: 410
Location: Northern Puget Sound, Zone 8A
66
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dustin Talley wrote:

Eliot Mason wrote:The plans I found are roughly 12'x8', so 96 sq ft with 80-100 birds.  Which we can roughly say is 1 sq/ft per.  So 3.2 sq/ft per will be luxurious.

But Jordan has an excellent point... its not just movement space but also forage.  So there is also a question here about how often you want to move the tractor - and that depends on the quality of your pasture.



Well mine is a backyard in my 1/3 acre urban lot but I have enough grass to move them every day and have about a 2 week period between getting the same area again.



If you are leaving them there long enough to eat down all the forage the land won't be able to absorb the poo from more than 1 trip over the same ground in a year.  If you're moving them before they can mow down all the forage you can get away with 2-3 trips over the same patch.  But I'd want more than 2 weeks in between even then.  It usually takes a good couple/three of months between when I run my chickens over an area and the manure becomes mostly visually unnoticeable.  I really like to keep my birds off manure loaded area as it's really bad for their skin.  I semi-free range rather than tractor, but they still get a covered shelter.  that shelter is 8x12 (including overhangs) and the plan was for 90-100 meat chickens and 12-15 turkeys to be able to use it.  As it turns out I've got 109 chickens and 13 turkeys using it right now.  It gets a bit crowded in there when the chickens are getting within a few weeks of slaughter, but they only use it when it's too hot and sunny to be in the open, or when it's raining enough they want to get under something.  I move that twice a day (at each feeding) when I know they're spending a lot of time under it so as to distribute the manure to keep from burning the grass, and to keep their skin healthy.
 
Posts: 15
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jordan Barton, do you have nesting boxes in your mobile chicken tractor?

If so does it make the tractor much harder to move?

Any challenges with your design you would do better if you did it over?
 
gardener
Posts: 1749
Location: Los Angeles, CA
482
hugelkultur forest garden books urban chicken food preservation
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Bobby Fallon wrote:Jordan Barton, do you have nesting boxes in your mobile chicken tractor?

If so does it make the tractor much harder to move?

Any challenges with your design you would do better if you did it over?




Nesting boxes are not necessary for broilers, as they're too young to begin laying. For layers, yes, they are absolutely critical.

Properly constructed, a chicken tractor with nesting boxes should be no more difficult to move than one without. The key is make everything lightweight, and don't worry about how it looks—just how it functions.
gift
 
Solar Station Construction Plans by Ben Peterson -- ebook
will be released to subscribers in: soon!
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic