Trouble is, green things are starting to poke up through the soil in the flowerbeds and and lawn. And everyone with chickens knows that fresh green sprouts are chick magnets, so to speak. A chicken tractor, or chook tractor (hee hee!) is the perfect solution. It's a bit like a playpen for poultry. We never used a playpen for Chirp-chirp, so I'm not sure if this means we're kinder or crueler to the birds than we are to our own offspring.
Chirp-chirp, would, I think, argue crueler as she started her braces treatment today. So far, she just has the little rubber o-rings fitted between her teeth that will attempt to make some sort of a gap for the metal bands that will go around her teeth to fit down into. Yes, she would argue that we are cruel. The joys of parenthood. (And the COSTS!!! Oh my!!!)
Anyway, back to the chook tractor.
Using lumber we had on hand, we cut down one 2x4x10 into two 5 foot lengths. These became the ends. Two 2x4x8's became the sides.
We bought six of these 1/2 inch electrical conduit braces for approximately 75 cents each. These are at each corner, and one pair exactly halfway down the length of the frame.
The clamps held the conduit in very firmly, but to be on the safe side, we used a wood screw that went very easily through the conduit and into the wood.
As you can see, the conduit arched beautifully, and the ten foot length resulted in a nice height for the structure.
To add a little support, we ran a 1x2x8 down the length of the tractor, right at the apex of the arch. We secured the wood to the conduit by drilling a small hole through both pieces and then tied them together with baling wire. Is there anything you can't do with baling wire?
Here they are in the tractor, working up the soil in one of our raised beds! I put a bucket of water in there for them, and throw down a little bit of scratch to get them started. After the beds are turned up nicely and have been planted, I'll just move the tractor around the yard so they can nibble on grass and bugs, and NOT on my vegetables or flowers.
Although, all this garden and yard talk may be a moot point. We're looking at another house tomorrow. Three acres! A goatpen! A woodstove! A bigger mortgage! Oh, wait. That last one is a big downer...
I'll keep you posted.