Chook Sitting

During the last week, we have been chook sitting.  A bit like baby sitting but with chickens.

Our neighbours asked us if we would like to look after their little hens as they were going to Fiji to get married, so we jumped at the chance.

Les (our neighbour) brought over their little house which fit easily into one of my vacant garden beds. They were very willing little workers, turning over the garden bed, getting rid of weed seeds and fertilizing it for me.

The girls were a Silky, which Ben thought looked like a Grenadier Guardsman, and a White Wyandotte.

I think that these chooks were not cheap, so I looked after them as well as my own!

I believe that they enjoyed their time with us, and it was a little sad to see them go.  I can tell they liked it here, because the Silky laid her very first egg the day after they arrived!

These little chickens have given me the motivation to make my own little chicken tractor that will fit the frame of the raised garden beds.  I will make it as a triangle shape with a perch and put in a nesting box and put my Pekin bantams in there when for a week each bed during seasonal change over.  It is a bit late now, as I only have one bed free, waiting for the garlic to be planted in a couple of weeks time, but over the winter, I will get it built.  I might as well get the little girls to pay for their keep.

Les picked the chooks up today and took them home, and I suggested that he use the cage he has as the main living quarters, and build a larger run around it for roaming around during the day.  They also need a place for a perch, as they were quite upset that they didn’t have on.  The cage was just not large enough to put one in.

Anyway, I am glad they came, as they are a great talking point for anyone who walked into our gate.  Every single person who visited over the week, had a sticky beak and commented that they were lovely.  I think that this might be just the thing to set up during Sustainable House day in September!

Has anyone made their own chicken tractor?  Did it work okay in your garden beds?


  1. says

    Hi – Yes, we’re right in the middle of chicken tractor building :) The Sunday after Easter we’re building the prototype model which will measure 1.5 m x 2.5 m here at our farm and, if all goes well, a second model (for Sian, who is the admin of the Dunedin Locavores group) the following weekend.

    From that model we’ll be drawing up full plans which we’ll be making available for free (with DIY photos) at my farm website and at the Locavore group on Facebook. Then we’ll be doing more builds for the rest of the group members, as many as 10 in all. The design we’re working with we hope to be able to build for under $100 per tractor, yet making them sturdy enough to be permanent coops for up to 8 hens. So real budget stuff!

    I’m looking forward to building – it has taken us a while to work out a design we’re happy with, that is cheap and durable, but lightweight enough for one person to move from veggie bed to veggie bed. I’m als looking forward to building because our baby chooks are getting too big for their digs, and need a bigger coop now! :)

  2. Dawn says

    A chicken tractor for your raised beds is a fabulous idea, and will probably work a treat. I used one years ago, and it worked quite well, but it was too big and heavy for me to move by myself, with the result it(and they) didn’t get moved often enough, and I eventually abandoned the idea. There is a book called “Chicken Tractor” by Andy Lee that I read way back when that might be helpful.

    • says

      Thanks for the book tip Dawn. I shall track it down. With my back not being as strong as it should be, I will have to make it light and easy to move.


  3. says

    Sad to say I never thought of it when I had chickens…an excellent idea…as they love to scratch in the dirt, eat anything (roots, insects, etc.) and fertilize! Excellent garden tractors I’m sure!

  4. says

    Aww, cute chooks, we have 2 silkies and 2 bantam wyandottes, black and white ones though…..maybe silver is their official colour?

    Although, I’m a bit over the wyandottes, they peck our feet…mine actually because the kids don’t like to get too near them any more. They are seeming a little bit aggressive, funny because they’re such small things. They free range in our back enclosed courtyard, so the whole thing is ‘their space’ and they seem to feel that quite strongly.
    Considering putting those 2 up for adoption and getting 2 more silkies which are just adorable and much more timid/non-agressive.

    About the perches…our wyandottes perch but our silkies don’t.

    • says

      Hey Cat, thanks for the tip about wyandottes. Our visitor was highly strung and noisy, whereas the silky was great, quiet and funny (love the hat). I think that we might get some when next in the market for a few chooks.

  5. says

    I have a little metal cage that folds down when not in use and quite coincidentally it is exactly the same size as my vege beds. I used it for the younger chooks and Silkies to dig over and fertilise resting vege patches. Now that they’ve done their work it is protecting the seedlings from any escapee chooks or naughty rabbits.

    Those little visitors look like very well looked after chooks.

    • says

      Deb, I am going to try and make the frame out of something light weight but strong, so that I don’t hurt my back when I move it. We don’t get foxes around here (that I know of), so it just has to keep the odd cat out. I do like the look of silkies and they have a great temperament.


  6. Anonymous says

    Hi Gaven, my first blog!
    You may have seen this web site but I always go to it when I have a chicken question.

    What they dont know about chooks isn’t worth knowing!

    Keep up the good work, your living the dream

    Debra (Cheeses Loves You)

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