A chicken tractor is a small moveable coop which can be used to prepare garden beds (once your chickens have fertilized and turned over one area, they are then moved on to another) or simply as a space saver where you move them around to a fresh area of your backyard when needed.
To be honest, they are not my favourite type of chicken housing, especially for small backyards where it is likely to become essentially their permanent (very small) home.
But it is quite a nice idea for sustainable gardening to have rows of chicken tractors being moved along and then adding your mulch etc to what has been left behind them – and of course chickens are more than happy to scratch around and poo on new grass every few days.
So I do kind of like the ideas behind them but don’t feel overly comfortable with the idea that a small moveable tractor coop might be all the chickens ever know (although I am sure that is still 100 times better than being in a cage).
The good news is they are quite simple to build – a few 2x4s (or even pvc pipes) and some strong galvinised wire and you can very quickly have the framing for the tractor pen finished.
I recommend having an enclosed area of the tractor for shade and also as somewhere they can huddle behind in case something tries to get at them.
The top and sides should be covered with strong small-holed wire, but the bottom should be left so they can get direct access to the ground (it is also likely to hurt their feet if the wire was on the bottom as well).
The video below gives instructions for building a chicken tractor onto a raised garden bed – in this example they will live there for a month and are then moved onto another raised bed somewhere else. Three months later the first raised bed they prepared is ready for use.