When foxes began decimating our flock, I was forced to find safer mobile housing for our chickens. I haven’t been satisfied with the flimsy nature of many commercial chicken pens and tractors, especially since our flock shares a pasture with goats that love to destroy chicken wire. So, I decided to make my own chicken tractor out of a dog kennel, one that’s light enough to easily relocate yet sturdy enough to withstand our goats.
The design I came up with holds a half-dozen chickens. One person can easily move it to a clean section of pasture every few days. I also mounted a hitch on one side to enable us to pull it with a lawn mower or tractor. In winter, I use it as an outdoor run by positioning it against our barn with an opening cut through the chain link to allow the flock to enter the barn roost through a cubbyhole.
In all, the materials, which are readily available at farm supply and hardware stores, cost about $500. The dog run was easy to assemble. I chose to use the optional tarp roof for sun protection. I mounted the threaded rods on all four corners using U-bolts, and attached the wheels using nuts and washers. To offer the birds some additional protection from the elements, I used tarp straps to attach the tarps along the windward and sunny sides. To construct a roost and removable ladder, I used salvaged 1-by-1-inch deck railing slats. For nest boxes, I used 5-gallon buckets. I suspended the feeders and water from a 2x4 that runs across the top of the pen.
- 10-by-10-foot chain-link dog run with optional tarp roof
- 5/8-by-24-inch threaded rod with nut and washer (4)
- 10-inch solid lawn mower wheel with 5/8-inch center axle (4)
- U-bolt (8)
- Tarp (2)
- Rubber tarp straps
- Salvaged lumber for roost and ladder
- 5-gallon buckets for nest boxes