Chicken Tractor

Materials Needed:

4- 2” PVC 90º elbows-Be sure the elbows take the 2” PVC from each side (learned this the
hard way and had to get 4 couplers)
3- 10' 2" PVC pipes
7- 10' ½ " PVC pipes
16- 1" sheet metal screws (or the appropriate glue for PVC pipe)
20'-60" tall poultry fencing
10’-48” poultry fencing
Electrical tape (or something similar to hold the top strut while the fencing is attached)
200- or so wire ties (those plastic 'zip' tie things) 6" or longer. or some other suitable thing for
securing the wire to the pipes--such as twine or baling wire.
Tarp or plastic sheeting
Something to use as a roost (I used the remaining half of the ½” PVC pipe I cut for the door)
1" drill bit or hole saw
Hack saw

Working on a flat surface, cut one of the 10’ sections of 2” PVC exactly in half.  Use the 2”
PVC to make the base frame, using the 2-10’ sections of 2”PVC for the sides, the cut 5’
sections for the ends (forming a rectangle).  Connect the pieces together with the 90º elbows
and either use the screws or the glue to hold together.
Insert one end of the ½ “ PVC pipe in the corner hole, then bend and put the other end in the
corresponding hole on the other corner.  Continue doing this until you have all 5 rungs inserted.  
They will be wobbly; this is where that level surface is so important.  Then, with the help of an
assistant or 2, take the 6th piece of ½ “ PVC and use it as the “spine” along the top, taping it
securely with the electrical tape to each rung.
Next, attach the wire along the
top spine and rungs with wire
zip ties.  Fold excess wire
under and secure tightly at the
bottom with ties. (or excess
wire could be cut flush with the
base of the tractor and
secured with ties).                   
Repeat this process for the other side.

Next, cut a section of wire for the end, and attach with the ties.  When securing the wire, be sure
there are no areas that a chick could get through or get stick in.

Next make a door for the open end by measuring and cutting the last piece of wire, and cutting the
remaining 10’ section of ½ “ PVC to the length of the open end.  Attach the wire at the top with wire
ties, and following down one half of the opening.  Attach the cut piece of PVC to the flap.  The
remaining half of the wire serves as the opening; the tied half serves as the hinge.  I bought clips to
hold the door closed, but they have not been needed.
Depending on the weather, you could simply put a tarp at one end for shade, leaving 2/3 of the tractor
open wire; or cover the whole thing with plastic sheeting, taping it on.

We used 2 heat light fixtures equipped with 250W heat bulbs for heat.  
PLEASE be sure your fixture is
approved for the larger wattage!
The heights of the lamps can be adjusted as the birds grow or the
temperature changes.  With this set up on an earth floor we were able to keep week old chicks very
warm and cozy outside during snowy weather that dipped into the 20’s at night.
What you end up with is a 5’ X 10’ X 4’ tall moveable structure that easily holds 25 broilers to finish.  
With the plastic removed and adding a tarp at one end for shade it can be used during the summer
months also.  I’m already starting plans for my next one, it will be twice as large and taller so it’s easier
to move around in. (Although it is my youngest daughter’s job to feed the chicks, and she has no
trouble with the height-she’s 9).  Here’s a pic of the completed project.          
Mark each corner, then measure and mark at 2 ½’, 5’, 7 ½’,  and again at the corner.  Do this on
both sides to have equally spaced corresponding marks.  Then drill a 1” hole at each mark.  This is
where the rungs will be inserted.