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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:05 pm 
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Champion Bird
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Location: Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria
These are great Raphael. The fact that they sit up on the timber surrounds of the raised bed solves the usual tractor problem of any predator being able to dig underneath. They do look heavy though - can two people lift them okay? By the look of your garden, there isn't a huge distance to move them, and you don't do it too often. It seems like a really good system. Cheers, Judy

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 2:01 pm 
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Golden Phoenix
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Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
Raphael has once more inspired me, in this thread and here (viewtopic.php?t=7935), to consider the concept for my raised beds. Catch - I'm using ex-water-tanks and hence round ones. Poly has been suggested but I get high winds and heavy frosts, and I'd need wood or metal to keep shape and stop them blowing away entirely.

I've got a few thoughts in mind but expert opinion would be most welcomed. I know someone will suggest a dome but again, I'm not convinced about poly in my climate; I think I need a more rigid structure, without stretching our limited carpentry skills to the max.

I'm thinking a cross-piece at the base, to reach to the sides of the tanks ... maybe with a central pillar to support an umbrella-shaped roof?

Hmm ... *link missing*chook yurt, anyone??


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:57 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Location: Canberra
Ok, forget poly. 10 mm steel reinforcing bar is what you need (thinner depending on the diameter).

You can get it any good hardware store, genrally in lengths of 6m if you need it. Which you might for a water tank circumference.

1 for the top circle, one for the bottom.

You can buy plastic clips the will allow you to clip on the verticle steel bar for bracing. Unless you have a welder (that you know how to use) :wink:

You will need to cross brace along the diameter but from top to bottom. like an x.

Wrap in chicken wire, TIE WITH tie wire in place (instead of U-nails for wood). Cover with shade cloth.

You are going to need to get tricky with a door (maybe a flip top lid) and nest boxes (plastic drums under the flip top lid?.

If you build it, these ideas will come.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:14 pm 
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Golden Phoenix
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Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
It'll come pre-curved? Pretty speccy if so. I'm visualising a cylinder now ... is that your thought?

Note: this is pretty unlikely to occur before next autumn; I just like having a few projects bubbling away in the back of my head :)


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:46 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Definetely a cylinder (to match the watertank??? or am I confused)

No it doesnt come pre curved. But it is quite flexible. You could even use the reinforcing netting (they make a 90cm wide one) and wrap that around the outside, wired to the top and bottom circle.

How big are your raised beds? Are they even circles?

You will rotate them depending on the season more than any arbitrary time limit. During spring and summer you are throwing so much garden waste in they dont need to move at all plenty to eat and scratch up. Which is good cause all your beds will be producing veggies then and you dont want to have to move it in the middle of the tomatoes cropping...

During winter you might move it around a couple of times, but then you are only growing cabbage, beans and leeks in winter, and you can only eat so much of those....so you will have free beds.

If you have 3 raised beds thats enough. You would leave them on one (1) for the whole growing season. Then move them to the tomato bed (2) once it is finished cropping and throw on all the garden waste you have in for them in there.

In the one they were on in summer (1), you can plant your Cabbages and brocolli etc which will love the nitrogen. The third one (3) you can do anything with (generally you autum planting, but you will move the coop onto it (3) at the end of winter. You cannot move it to the one still growing your winter cabbages (1), but it only just had the coop this summer so doesnt need it.

Does that make sense. 1 for spring and summer, 2 in late Autumn and winter, 3 in spring summer, 1 next winter 2 next summer etc....

The time on each bed is more about your ability to feed the system with waste than the size.

Gotta try and do some work before 5pm.... :roll:

I love this stuff.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:36 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Location: Brisbane, QLD
I don't have room in my present house, but Raphael's system got me thinking....

I was thinking about the effort invovled in lifting those chook tractors around each season. And how to allow the chooks to free range, but still protect the vegies.

What about building the sides of the beds like the tractor, so that instead of lifting the whole tractor, you just lift up the roof and nest boxes, and leave the walls. I'm thinking that you could then allow the chooks to range around the beds, as they'd be high enough to keep (my) chooks out, or you could even make some lightweight covers for the garden beds to keep chooks, wild birds, small children out, as required.

I'm not sure this is clear. I'll draw a sketch if anyone wants more details!

Next house we buy (dream house!) will have space for a decent rotation system and chook runs... (in central Brisbane, with pool to keep the wife happy!). It'll be a while before we've got the money to move, so I've got plenty of time to plan, this time around! I look forward to your comments.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 10:52 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Location: Canberra
I understand your concept. I thought of a similar thing myself.

But I decided having 6 walled-in (remember they have to be dog proof) veggie patches is alot of construction for the sake of not moving the whole coop. And they would be a hassle to garden over/around. Its only 90cm high, and my chooks can get over that easy.

Yes the raised bed tractor takes two to move, but its moved at most 3 times a year. Its not such a hassle. Similar to moving a barrow load of dirt, which I do about 10 times every weekend :roll: .

I generally move it when i have mates over for a BBQ and their kids are chasing the chooks around the yard. Grab a friend and move it. Takes about 17 seconds.

I am going to build a lighter weight one for moving around the lawn. Probably an A-frame. Thats this weekends job. After I build a chicken run......

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 Post subject: My New A-Frame
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 12:02 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Location: Canberra
Ive posted all over the forums, but this is the thread for it i think.

Built to raise chicks in. Light, portable and folds up for easy storage.

Image

2.2 meters long and about 1 meter high/wide. There are ten 8 week old chicks in there, its bigger than it looks.

Any questions let me know.

Raf

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 Post subject: Re: CHICKEN TRACTORS
PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:49 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Posts: 33
Location: Canberra ACT
Hi
I am new to chickens and have been reading lots of books and online articles on the subject.

The chicken tractors shown in the above posts are very impressive. We have just bought a large metal/wire one with wheels from a local market place to use over vegetable beds in an organic/permaculture style garden.

One question if I may. The tractor has a wire mesh floor to deter foxes (apparently in Canberra foxes come into the suburbs). The problem is that the mesh floor is slightly raised and I fear that any chooks we buy will have to constantly step over this mesh just to wander around the spacious outdoor area of the tractor. This cannot be natural for chooks who love to scratch. But I am new to this and willing to heed advice from the more experienced chook owners.

My thinking is to get rid of the mesh floor but to place a some pavers around the edges to stop the foxes from getting in under the tractor. Does anyone know about the tunnelling capability of foxes? Do they need a short run-up or can they tunnel in from afar?

Secondly we have not bought the chooks yet - we are thinking Australorps, Sussex or Rhode Island Reds. I should add that we will also be free ranging the chooks regularly so hoping for a less flighty breed. We like the ideas of silkies as well but apparently the eggs are quite small but they are still on the think about list.

Thanks in advance for any advice.


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 Post subject: Re: CHICKEN TRACTORS
PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 9:04 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Location: Canberra
So far I havent had any trouble with foxes, nor heard of any in Canberra (there are always rumours...)

They will dig a few feet sideways. Better to give the tractor a 'skirt' of wire as they try to dig as close to the solid object, (tractor or paver) as possible, so will be digging into the wire skirt and give up. A skirt attached to the tractor will move easily. You would need to rig something up but thats what I would do.

My opinion = DONT WORRY in Canberra (Iam in Macgregor)

Cheers
Raf

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 Post subject: Re: CHICKEN TRACTORS
PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 9:37 pm 
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Golden Kingfisher
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Location: Canberra
Some years ago I had two successive lots of chooks taken by Canberran foxes when I lived in Ainslie (admittedly I didn't see the fox as both times it happened at night - but it had 'fox' written all over it). Others I know have sighted foxes. In fact, a near neighbour of mine in Narrabundah had a duck taken by a fox at midday - she saw it happen while washing up and looking out the kitchen window. The fox ran off with the duck along the top of a paling fence. So, the buggers are out and about here...... I'm working on the assumption that they'll scope the joint sooner or later - while hoping that I'm wrong!!!

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 Post subject: Re: CHICKEN TRACTORS
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 10:44 am 
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Discerning Duck
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Location: Atherton QLD Australia
New Polish pen with two separate compartments for two pair of breeders.

All made from recycled timber (rideon mower create) and recycled sheet iron.
Just need to add the extra doors and the nesting box on the back of the pen. There is a divider separating the pen so you can have two separate breeding pairs.
The wire cage will be made later to the full length of the front of the pen.
A bit of No More Gaps and a lick of paint, makes it look sweet. :mrgreen:

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Image

Another pen I made to keep my 4 week old chickens.

Image

I have another pen too


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greenpen.gif
greenpen.gif [ 141.08 KiB | Viewed 5936 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: CHICKEN TRACTORS
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:40 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Location: Canberra
Awesome yard,

Just like mine, poultry cages everywhere. Makes the heart glow.

Raf

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Last edited by rwood on Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: CHICKEN TRACTORS
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:41 pm 
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Swan
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Location: Hunter Valley
new Cages look good Kowan.

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 Post subject: Re: CHICKEN TRACTORS
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 1:52 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:33 pm
Posts: 33
Location: Canberra ACT
Thank you Raf and Rach for relaying your experiences in Canberra. I am tempted to cut out the steel mesh floor and put an external skirt on it as suggested. I am in Weston so we are reasonably close to the edge of Canberra where wild beasties might lay in wait.

Some of these homemade tractors are amazing. There are some very skilled handypersons out there.

Cheers
Eve


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