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Last Week At The Magpie Farm: Chicken Tractor Build!

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I have long been planning and pricing out how to get the chickens out into the pasture safely and on a budget. I love to research ideas to the smallest detail and research the best way to do things. I get these traits from my father who loves to consult his collected stash of consumer reports before buying a toothbrush. For over 6 months I have looked at other people’s plans and ideas and with their ideas I have to adapt them to suit my needs and my resources. So one morning while on Kijiji (looking for anything I can use for the chickens) I came across an outdoor dog kennel. With my cash in hand I went to pick it up by noon as fast as I could.

This kennel is super lightweight powder coated metal about 4 feet wide by 8 feet long by 6 feet tall to the peak of the roof.  I have made it 10 feet long by reconfiguring the panels and leaving the back-end open as I will be building the coop on this end. It has a tight-fitting custom fit tarp that goes over the roof to give some shade, and a walk through door at the front. I plan on putting this on a welded frame of angle iron to give it a flat one piece base to keep it strong and I can attach wheels to make it moveable etc. I’ll keep you updated on my build progress!

We decided to make a garden this year in a concrete framed area that has been overgrown for many years.  Rototilling this area was going to be easy but the root picking would be never-ending so we cut it into strips and removed the top 3 inches of dirt and roots. It rolled up as a thick mat it was so bad. We amended the soil a bit and planted with fertilizer for food.  I planted Saskatoon bushes on the right side, raspberries in the center and strawberry and rhubarb on the far left. We wanted this area easy to maintain and produce sweet treats throughout the summer. We may yet plant potatoes and carrots but have yet to decide.  I also had to put 7 foot high netting to keep the deer out that frequently visit. In one night they would eat every bush to the ground and we would be left with nothing. The beautiful white archway I thrifted for $14 and it is a perfect garden entrance!

The chickens are doing well and absolutely love fresh alfalfa that we bring them. It is high in protein and they prefer this over most anything! The barred rocks have gotten very vocal the last few weeks, as they are 16 weeks old and can start laying between now and the next 3 weeks. I hope this means they are maturing and eggs are on the way soon!

I hope to start on the chicken tractor this week and will update you on the progress next week!

See you then!


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Welcome to Prairie Homesteading! I'm the resident writer of all things homesteading here on The Kitchen Magpie. I head up the care of all the animals out on the family farm in rural Alberta. Make sure to check out my Zoe's Best homemade dog treats section and have fun reading about all our homesteading adventures!

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