What are the needs of a chickens? Do they need a space to run, or they can live a happy lives in a CT? What kind of accomodation they need during one year? Do they spend a winter in some small house, like nesting box, or they prefer to play out in the snow? Is chicken tractor alone enough to keep them safe and happy during winter, or I should build also a bigger, warmer house that can be connected with tractor? In that case I could push a tractor against this house before winter, open door and let chicken choose where she wants to be. I know I would have to provide some automatic system for drinking water, what else has to be automatized if I'm gone for 2-3 weeks, or whole winter?
Are bears usually interested in chickens? I have around bears, wolfs, foxes, and some birds of prey, don't know which. I can build structure that is fox or bird proof, but bear proof is kind a tricky
I can see it is quite tricky to have chicken tractor without regular maintenance. Maybe it would have to be big, but then it would not be a tractor at all, it would be a big cage. Maybe if I decide to grow brambles, I would have to make rows of fences that can also be used as a coridores for chicken. All area fenced, all rows closed except one. Chicken can use it, hopefuly they would weed it. Once it gets a bit dirty, it's closed and next row is opened. When I expect to leave for a long time, like winter time, I open all rows and they can use quite a big playground. Then I would only need to provide them a night shelter with automatic watering and feeding system? Are chicks compatibile with blackberry/raspberry?
Tyler Ludens wrote:If you have predators such as foxes, you need to close the chickens into a secure shelter at night. To do this you have to actually be there, or have someone else do it for you.
... or use a automatic door opener/closer (they respond to light levels).
But I think it's very important to check on livestock daily. Things can (and will) go wrong.
If a feeder or waterer jammed, malfunctioned or whatever, the poor critters would die miserable deaths.
Best to have someone check once a day in exchange for eggs, meat, or payment.
grain. Where I plan to go in the future is with the paddock system that Paul has been promoting . I am finding that establishing perrenial plant guilds and herb spirals etc is too hard fighting off chickens digging it all up . A movable coop and electric poultry netting is my next venture. I will keep the tractor for raising chicks though , they get eaten by everything.
R.D. O'Brien wrote:I've been thinking about building bird houses to attract birds that will eat caterpillars but not orchard fruit. Wrens, bluebirds, don't know of any others yet, but these wouldn't need too much attention on your part. Personally, I think chickens are a shackle, and I'm not a big egg and meat eater anyway. Anyone got any ideas what kind of wild birds would benefit an orchard?
Purple martin is a great insectivore.