Are you a backyard chicken farmer who’s looking for more sustainable options for your flock’s home? There are a lot of options available for chicken coops, but what is the best choice for your flock? Maybe you’ve heard of hoop chicken tractors and wondered what sets them apart from all the other types of coops.
Hoop coops have grown in popularity as sustainable chicken farming has grown. These coops offer a secure and handy space for your chickens to thrive. Not only do hoop chicken tractors benefit your flock, but they also benefit you and your property! Let’s take a dive into what these coops are, what makes them so special, and why you should get one for your backyard.
What are Moveable Hoop Chicken Tractors?
As far as appearances go, hoop chicken tractors look a lot like greenhouses. These coops have a bottom frame that is built as a skid for easy mobility. On top of the frame goes metal that is bent into an arch to create that iconic hoop style. The arch frame is then covered with a durable plastic or tarp to protect your chicken from rain and wind.
The tractor component of these hoop coops comes from the natural soil improvements that these coops provide. With a hoop coop chicken tractor, your chickens will be foraging directly on the grass. This gives your chickens a natural diet and keeps pests under control on your property. The constant pecking and scratching that your chickens do also help to aerate the soil and improve its quality. On top of this, you have the nutrients and natural fertilizer that comes from chicken manure.
Pros of Hoop Chicken Tractors
Moveable hoop chicken tractors have their strengths and weaknesses, just like all other styles of coops. When you’re choosing a coop for your backyard, it’s important that you weigh the pros and cons of the different styles of coops to find the best fit for you. Some coop styles will work better for different uses than others. Hoop chicken tractors have various benefits for both you and your flock!
Hoop chicken tractors are perfect choices for those looking for a sustainable chicken-raising solution. Because of their easy mobility, you can move the coop all around your property to improve the quality of the soil. This creates a cycle of your chickens supplying the soil with nutrients and the soil producing lush and healthy grass for the chickens to forage in.
One huge benefit of hoop chicken tractors is the grazing area that they provide for your poultry. Because of their floorless design, chickens can forage and peck wherever they want. With the easy mobility of the coops, you can move your chickens to a new area whenever you want. This will keep a certain area of your property from being over-grazed and keep your chickens supplied with fresh food!
Moveable hoop chicken tractors are generally a more cost-effective option than a lot of other coops. The simple design of these coops saves money on the materials used and the construction time required. With the food your chickens will forage from the ground, you’ll save money on feed as well!
Cons of Hoop Chicken Tractors
Even the best products have their downsides. This is true for hoop chicken tractors. Depending on your use, the pros definitely outweigh the cons of this style of coop.
If you’re in a cold climate and plan to keep your chickens outside during the winter, hoop coop chicken tractors might now be the best option for you. Because of their plastic covering and floorless design, it’s difficult to regulate the temperature of your coop interior.
Not as Sturdy
Because of the hoop design, these coops tend to be lighter and flimsier than other styles of mobile chicken coops. This con can be removed by adding extra support to your coop and reinforcing the arch supports.
Hoop Chicken Tractors vs. A-Frame Chicken Tractors
Hoop chicken coops are similar to a-frame mobile chicken coops in their design and construction. If you get a mobile a-frame coop, you’ll get the same base as a hoop coop. Hoop chicken tractors give more headroom because of their arched design. A-frame coops give a more sleek and simple look to your property with their peaked roof.
Essential Features of Hoop Chicken Tractors
With any chicken coop, there are some essential features that you need to keep your flock healthy and happy. A hoop chicken tractor provides protection for your chickens and gives them a place to forage that is safe from predators. Some add-ons should be standard for your chickens’ home.
Automatic Feeders and Waterers
Keeping your chickens supplied with food and water is essential to keeping them in good health. While a hoop chicken tractor does give your chickens access to a foraging area, that shouldn’t be their only source of food. Add a feeder for your mobile coop to keep your chickens supplied with food. You should also add an automatic waterer to your chickens’ home to keep them hydrated.
You should always make sure that you have an elevated perch for your chickens. Roosting is a natural instinct for chickens. Chickens feel safer and less vulnerable to predators when they are roosting on an elevated perch. Even though your coop is protected from predators with a fence, you should still have a perch for your flock to perch as they instinctually want to.
Roosting is also a way for chickens to create the pecking order of the flock. The more dominant birds will claim the higher perches, while the subordinate chickens will take what is left. This creation of a hierarchy is a natural process with chickens and should be encouraged with the proper roosting space.
Add nesting boxes to your hoop chicken tractor to provide your hens with designated space to lay their eggs. Your chickens’ nesting boxes should be easy for them to access while giving them enough privacy that they need to feel comfortable.
Nesting boxes should be placed off the ground to keep bedding and dirt from being kicked into them. Your chickens will also like the elevated position because of their natural roosting instincts.
Building Your Own Hoop Chicken Tractors
You can easily build your own hoop chicken tractor. Buying a pre-built chicken coop is definitely an easier and sometimes cheaper option, depending on the material you use to build your coop. Building your own coop allows you to choose exactly the size you want and how you want your coop built.
Materials to Use
When building your own hoop chicken tractor, a popular choice for the “hoop” part of the coop is a cattle panel. This can be attached to pieces of wood that will serve as the base for the coop. Another popular choice is a chicken tractor with a PVC hoop frame. The PVC frame is then covered with chicken wire and then a plastic covering for weather protection.
Supplies You’ll Need
If you decide to build your own hoop chicken tractor, you’ll first need to decide what main materials you are going to use and then choose the additional materials that you need. Here’s a general list of the main supplies you’ll need when building your coop.
- Pressure-treated boards for the base and supports
- Cattle panels or PVC for the frame
- Chicken wire (if using a PVC frame)
- Heavy-duty tarp or plastic
- Fencing staples for attaching the wire to the frame
- Hinges for door
- Latch for door
The first step to building your coop is to construct a sturdy base. This should be made using top-quality wood or metal to give your coop a sturdy foundation. You can attach wheels to the base to make it fully mobile, but you will want to wait until you have the entire coop finished to add the wheels.
When the base is finished, construct a frame on top of the base. You can choose to either use a cattle panel that is bent into a hoop or make a frame out of PVC. If you use PVC, you’ll also have to cover the frame with wire.
Once the frame is finished, you should add a door to the front of your coop for easy access to the interior of the coop. You can make your own door out of wire and boards and then attach it with hinges to the frame you have in place.
Next, you will cover the entire area with plastic or tarp. This layer will keep wind and rain from hitting your chickens and give them a more protected space to live.
Once the coop is all finished, all you have to do is move the coop out into the pasture where you want it and move in your chickens! Now, you can enjoy farm-fresh eggs for your family.
Ready for a Hoop Chicken Tractor?
Hoop chicken tractors are a great addition to the backyard of any chicken farmer looking for a more sustainable housing option for their fowl. Whether you decide to build your own or purchase a prebuilt hoop coop, these coops are sure to keep your hens protected. On top of happy chickens, the soil of your property will also be happy with the added nutrients that your chickens will add with their pecking and pooping!
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