During Labor Day weekend, my husband decided to build a chicken tractor. What is a chicken tractor and why did he want to build one? Simple answer – someone at work talked him into it.
“It’s a mobile home for chickens,” he explained, “a coop and a run on wheels. The chickens will perform magic by changing a patch of ground into fertile garden space within a few weeks. We’ll move it so the chickens will make lots of garden plots. By spring, the plots will be ready for planting,” he told me. “What do you think?”
“Go chickens!” I said. “Let’s do it.”
“Great. I’ll take some time off work. We can build it this week.”
The fact that we didn’t know a cluck about raising chickens didn’t deter our enthusiasm. How hard could it be to build for chickens? After all, we’ve been building from scratch for years.
We researched building plans, inventoried our own stock of scrap materials, and foraged in hardware stores for materials we needed. Within a few days, we were ready to start building.
When my husband and I build together, my job is “the holder and go-fer”. This means I hold off the distractions (kids, phone calls, and visitors) and get necessities (food, beverages, and music to maintain the work rhythm). Occasionally, I’d hold a board in place for my husband to nail, but usually someone else does the heavy lifting (a daughter’s unwitting boyfriend trying to make a favorable impression).
Sadly, after years of observing my husband, none of his skills has transferred to me. I can’t even swing a hammer. Unfortunately, all other conscripts have flown away leaving me holding the screws and everything else. My poor husband has no idea how limited I am regarding basic carpentry skills.
“Hand me the square. It’s on my workbench.”
His workbench is not my domain. It is littered with tools, boxes of screws, deely-bop-its, and buckets of nails – a Home Depot garage sale on clearance. I needed a hint. “What color is it?”
Ah, that’s better. It’s easy to spot yellow in a grey area.
He placed the square on a piece of wood to mark a line. His pencil broke. He cussed. “Get me a pencil. No. Get me a pen.”
What were my chances of finding a pen on his workbench? I scrambled into the house to retrieve a box of pens on my desk.
The pens didn’t write on the damp wood. He cussed again. “I can’t figure out the angle for these rafters. Get me the angle guide.”
I handed him a metal object shaped like a triangle. “No, not that,” he said. Eggs-asperated by my lack of nomenclature knowledge, he huffed, “I should have said the ‘adjustable’ angle guide.”
By now my husband thinks I’m a wing nut. His instructions become more explicit.
“Go get me a half-inch socket. Tool case. Third drawer. Round objects – calipers on the side.”
During the next few days, I handed him screws, nails, boards, held up things, plugged in power tools, and picked up things he dropped. I cheered when pieces fit together and cussed when they didn’t. I cracked chicken jokes and made him laugh.
More than a few days later, we managed to build the basic frame. Our next step is making it mobile. I have a feeling we’ll nail this thing hens down.
Okay, no more fowl jokes.
For now, we’re thinking of names. Yes, we’re going to name our coop. Any suggestions?
Thanks for stopping by!
- Roadside Finds – Chicken Tractor (green-change.com)
- Don’t Bawk: The Wild and Wonderful Chicken Tractor (chelseagreen.com)
Haha! I’d go with a reference to Baba Yaga, that Russian witch whose house could move around on chicken legs. Hilarious story!
LOL!! this was hilarious!
This was hilarious! Had my hubby and I attempted such a project someone would be missing fingers – neither one of us are carpentry inclined.
He’s much better off working with a skilled partner. Luckily, all our feathers are still intact. When we finish, I’ll post some pictures. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
This was hilarious, and I really love those chickens! They look quite discerning, probably contemplating new digs… 🙂
There has to be a compelling reason for chickens to cross the road. Right?
LOL. Sounds like our house! And as a matter of fact, we just finished our chicken coop and are almost done with the run extension. One hen is outside already and the other two are going out this weekend. I will post a blog sometime this week. The chirpers are totally cute!
Ah ha! You’ve been a carpenter’s helper, too. How long did it take you to build it? And you already have chickens.
Well, we started over 4th of July and finished over Labor Day, so we are a little slow…and easily distracted. Probably 24 hours of building time plus I insisted on painting to make it somewhat aesthetically pleasing, so another several hours there. If we did it all again, making a few changes and improvements to the process, I think we could put it together (no paint) in a weekend. Not that we ever WILL do it again! 🙂
Okay, I want the whole story. Looking forward to your post.
Eight is Enough….
‘Go get me a half-inch socket. Tool case. Third drawer. Round objects – calipers on the side.’ That is the sort of description I love. LOVE! Though… by about the third “…get me…” I would have managed to drag the entire workbench to where he was. Yes, even if it had been welded to the garage, basement or barn. Smiling angelically the entire time, of course. 🙂
(I was about to send out a search party for you…)
Haha! Oh, how this project has sucked up my time!
Search party? Send in the chickens…
Love your visits! 🙂
(Thanks for your patience…)
How about…the “Chickmobile”? Ha ha
Oh this is a good one! I’ve raised chickens. They’re awesome. You are a patient wife. Good for you!
Thanks for your comment.
You’ve raised chickens? Wow!
Laying hens. They’re wonderful little creatures. We raised butcher hens too but that’s a whole different story. I miss my chickens and fresh eggs. If I ever did it again though, I’d only want maybe 10 chickens instead of 25. That’s way too many eggs.
Oh, I could never have 25… I think 8 will be a big enough start.
And thanks for the advice. I’ll share it with the old rooster.