Monday 6 May 2013

Chicken tractor and fertiliser spreader

The thirty Bresse Gauloise pullets and cockerels that hatched eight weeks ago have outgrown the brooder house and needed new accommodation this week. You are the first to view the prototype "Chicken Tractor and Dung Spreader.

There is no floor to this house, the birds roost on perches and their dung all falls directly on to the grass. The house is moved on, one length  each day to spread high value fertiliser on another three square metres. as soon as the house is moved the hens then come along and scratch in the manured area, removing moss and aerating the turf. You can see the effect, the grey patches and poultry manure. This is after three days.

As with all new technology there are unforeseen snags.  Despite putting plastic on the base of the skids its very heavy to move and the birds have to be outside or they might be trapped by the moving building. I have overcome that by inserting a piece of 1" iron water pipe under the skids before pulling. It works but its not ideal. Because there isn't floor predators are a possible problem so its limited to fairly even ground with no gaps between the skids and the ground. On the plus side this is a cheap way to house growing stock, the dung is spread evenly and  its well ventilated.

Some modifications are needed. A strong welded mesh floor to exclude mink etc would allow the dung to drop through and the addition of Screwfix wheels would enable me to move it more easily.

One after thought was the door flap ( see pic) there are times when you want to shut the birds in or exclude them so a flap over the electronic door for use in daylight is essential.


Maggie Turner said...

Very innovative. I wonder if the structure could be lightened by building it with light metal stud framing, and using light materials for the walls and roof?

Tom Bryson said...

It would be useful to know what materials you suggest, aluminum sheeting perhaps? this would be light but maybe too expensive.

Ron Visser said...

Hi Tom,

You can transform the longsides of the run into sliders like on a sledge, with steel sliders underneath and curled up at both ends so the wont dig in.


Tom Bryson said...


I intend to try wheels and a mesh floor. If this fails I'll try your sled idea.

Maggie Turner said...

I am thinking of lightweight metal framing, a lot of the weight in a building is the frame. I am in Canada, so products are a bit different, but I found this in the UK, although it does say that it is lightweight:

As for cladding, I don't know what lightweight materials are available in the UK, perhaps a company such as this could suggest lightweight solutions: