A Home for Glynwood's Chickens
By Kate Anstreicher
Chicken tractors are mobile, bottomless structures that many farms use to house chickens in warm-weather months. While chicken tractors vary in size, shape, portability and structure, they all aim to provide their chickens safety from predators, shade and shelter from the sun and rain, and a constant source of fresh water.
Glynwood's livestock team built six chicken tractors this spring, each of which will comfortably fit twenty-two broiler hens. The tractors are small enough for one person to move them, but big enough to give hens ample space to feed, scratch and roost. The chickens will source their food from grubs, insects and forage in the pasture, simultaneously keeping pest populations in check, benefitting from a protein-rich diet, and fertilizing the soil with their droppings.
The chicken tractors at Glynwood will follow a rotational schedule throughout the summer months. We look forward to seeing all the places these hens will go!
The chicks arrived one month ago and are now ready for pasture!
Assistant Livestock Manager Nicole Scott bends conduit for the top of the chicken tractors.
Second-year Livestock Apprentice Emily Lupico uses the Japanese technique of charring to preserve the wood used to construct the tractors.
Livestock Apprentices Emily, Travis and Eli attach a tractor door. Along with Livestock Manager James Walton-Fuentes and Assistant Livestock Manager Nicole Scott, this team built all six tractors.
The frame of each tractor is made of metal conduit and wood. In this picture, Livestock Apprentices Eli and Travis wrap a chicken tractor in protective chicken wire to keep out predators while the chickens are out on pasture.
This tractor is nearly complete--all it needs is a water source and hens! The tarp will allow protection from both sun and rain and the bottomless floors will allow for the tractors, as well as the chickens, to glide along the pastures eating all the grubs and insects. While they forage they'll be simultaneously fertilizing the soil.