Our chickens home | 4x4 Chicken Tractors
It's not uncommon, when we are out talking with customers about how we raise our animals, that we get asked the question, "What the heck is a chicken tractor?"
Today, we're going into a deep dive Q&A with Dylan Sweet, the brains and calloused hands behind the place our chickens call home. We'll ask him about how our chicken tractors are intentionally designed, the process behind how they're built... and we may even hear about his love for Mariah Carey.
Question: What is a Chicken Tractor anyway?
Dylan: "A chicken tractor is a big, sturdy, mobile unit that allows our chickens to be safe and protected while living outside on pasture and moved to new pasture each and every day."
Question: What's the purpose?
Dylan: "Our chicken tractors are intentionally built to allow our chickens a safe place to live as the herbivores they were designed to be. Each tractor has a entirely open floor that gives access for the birds to pick, scratch and eat the plants, bugs, algae and fungi within their natural diet."
Question: What do you make them out of? And why?
Dylan: "Our chicken tractors are made of steel angle iron, expanded metal and some steel box tubing. The goal when designing and building each tractor was building them to last, not to replace every year. We invested the resources we could up front to construct them the right way."
Question: They get moved every day, how do they not break?
Dylan: "Precise measurements, quality welds, regular maintenance... and a dose of love :)"
Questions: What were your biggest challenges when building them?
Dylan: "Hands down, the first tractor. From the designs I put together to executing the correct cuts and drilling the right holes. After the first one was done, the rest are pretty plug and play."
Question: What was the easiest part about building them?
Dylan: "Walking to the cooler to grab a cold beer, haha. In all seriousness, the easiest part is putting on the galvanized corrugated roofing, which gives the chickens some shade out in the pasture."
Question: When building CCM’s next mobile chicken tractor, what will you design differently?
Dylan: "Being 6'4", I want to make the next ones taller. As much as I love crawling in a 2' tall space, it'd make more sense to stand tall."
Question: How many Coors Lights did it take to you to design & build?
Dylan: "Am I allowed to answer that? Lets just say, I keep my Yeti appropriately stocked up :)"
Question: How many hours does it take from start to finish?
Dylan: "It usually takes me 8-9 hours to completely finish one. All the cutting, drilling and welding takes quite a bit of time to be precise to make sure everything will be straight."
Question: What tools/equipment are used to build them?
Dylan: "We use a wire feed welder, 2 grinders with a cut off wheel and the other with with a grinding wheel, drill press, chop saw with a metal blade, tape measure, soapstone, straight edge, battery operated impact drill, drill bits, calloused hands and a Yeti cooler full of cold Coors Light."
Question: They're made of steel, how much do they weigh?
Dylan: "Each chicken tractor weighs roughly 250-350 lbs, depends if the water tanks are full!"
Question: How are they moved each day?
Dylan: "The chicken tractors are mobile by the 4 wheels that lift the entire tractor off the ground and allow us to either pull/ push them or use a truck, ATV, tractor to move them to new pasture."
Question: There's rumor of your love for Mariah Carey, what's up with that?
Dylan: "Hahaha. I always choose to work with headphones in, it helps keep me focused. It just so happens that Mariah Carey's song Fantasy has this way of supercharging my productivity. #MariahForever"
Our chicken tractors are an integral part of allowing our animals to live outside on pasture as they were designed to! Stay tuned for more to come about on farm equipment, practices & activities.
The CCM Boys