Thursday, August 07, 2014

Turkey Tractor

For years I've been fascinated by the idea of doing pastured poultry. However, we have a lot of varmints of various sizes, weasels to coyotes to eagles all would love a chicken dinner. Even a big heavy coop is not necessarily a deterrent, as last summer I lost nearly my entire flock to something. $ mature hens, one cockerel and one later-to-pass-from-its-injuries chick were left out of over 20 hens and pullets that I had purchased. 

The crew
Enter my delightful husband. 

This spring we got 7 turkeys, BB Bronzes, with my uncle and aunt. Husband promised me that he'd get me a tractor so we could pasture them on the lawn. I want these big babies healthy and well grown when it comes butcher time this fall for Turkey Day.
Central branch manager AKA Peggy-Ann

Last weekend the husband undertook the big task of designing and manufacturing the actual tractor. Between his grandparents, myself, my sister and him we came up with what I think is a pretty sweet design. 

We made it 8x5 with a high peaked roof, a sliding door, and two big skids underneath it to allow it to be slid along to make for easy moving every day to fresh grass. Along the outer edge we put small wire to help keep the smaller poultry for dinner loving critters out as best we could. 

On the front it has a heavy chain attached to a large bolt to pull it with one of our heavy duty garden tractors. However I've discovered so far that while it is extremely heavy, I can easily move it along by hand. 

Sunday, we wired the outside up, put a tarp over it to allow for a weather/sun shade, and stuck all 7 of the turkeys in it. By Tuesday, they knew they were going to get moved to fresh grass early in the morning, and were standing lined up along the front edge waiting eagerly for the new feed. I've discovered I really enjoy my gobblers and take a lot of pleasure in caring for them up close and personal like I have been for the last week. Now to see how well this coop holds up, and how well the birds grow. Next year, I hope to add in meat chickens and even more turkeys. Time will tell :)

The finished product

1 comment:

joated said...

Looks good. And it seems practical, too.