Author Archives: janeannsmyth

A-frame Chicken Tractor

2012 A frame Chicken Tractor    This is the chicken tractor I mentioned in my maggot bucket post. It’s proof that my brother does love me. It measures 10 foot long, 8 foot wide and about 4.5 foot tall. The enclosed coop space is 2 foot deep with a 2 foot high clearance under it. The side of the coop not facing the camera has a plexiglass window on it to allow the sunshine in as well as to let me peek in to see how they are doing. The entire back opens up for cleaning and to gather eggs.

At one point, all 18 of my “bantams” were in here. I thought bantams were smaller versions of larger birds. If that’s the case, I’m not sure what I had in there. These white “bantams” were up to 24 inches tall and some of the roosters were really mean. One rooster insisted on attacking my legs every time I went into the run. He was among the first few to be butchered. He became a delicious meal.

This tractor was built in 2012 and while the picture doesn’t show it, it does have wheels to make moving it easier. It is a bit heavy for me to pull, so I use the riding mower or my van to push it where it needs to be. There is also rabbit fencing on the bottom of the entire tractor…the narrower openings along the edges and the larger ones in the middle. This was put in place to prevent any critters getting into the run. Knock on wood, I’ve never had any critters inside other than my chickens. However, I did have a ground hog climb up the side of the run one day. He was overcome by lead poisoning shortly after.

If I could make changes to this tractor, it would have a one foot high ‘base’ under it to keep the chickens from walking out the door when it’s open. Hmm, I wonder how much my brother does love me. 🙂 I’d also have it set up for electric, although the window does let in a great deal of light. Even without any changes, this tractor is still in use. It contains the last two white “bantams” from my original flock. They will meet the stew pot this winter and the tractor will be readied for a brand new flock in the spring. That’s the one constant on a homestead…the great circle of life.

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It has a name. Who knew???

I’ve had chickens for the past three years. As I eyed them in the store, I decided on six straight run bantams that were more than just a day or two old. As such, the manager offered me a 50% discount…they were only a few days from flying about the store. So, out I walked with 18 straight run bantams and the need for a coop.

I should probably mention that I have a brother who loves me greatly. Really, he does. If he loved me any more, he’d kill me. See, he gets the fun of building, or helping me build, what I need on my homestead. I think he loves dealing with my “crazy”, as he calls it. 🙂  I do love the chicken tractor he built me, but that’s another post.

So, in feeding my chickens, I started to wonder how I could get them more of the protein they needed, but with less work. It’s actually a pretty gross set-up that I do remove and hide with family visits.  And it has a name! I never knew that, tho I have wondered if anyone else had ever done the same thing.

It’s called a maggot bucket and it’s fabulous! Just take a small 1 gallon bucket (I use a springtime bucket with a handle from Walmart) and drill a bunch of small holes in the bottom of it. You’ll want the holes to be no bigger than 1/4 inch. Leave a section in the middle that isn’t drilled. Once you have this done, set up a way to hang the bucket inside the run and up where the chickens can’t get into it. Add a few pieces of raw meat to the bucket and wait for the flies to lay their eggs. As the maggots move around to find food, they will fall through the holes…feeding the chickens below. My chickens lost all self control over their fresh food!!

Now, as I mentioned above, I do hide this when family comes to visit. I’m not so sure my sister and her family would enjoy knowing the chickens are eating maggots before laying the eggs I send home with them. Although, now it’s no longer a secret. lol

If you’re looking for a great way to give your flock more protein with less work, give the maggot bucket a try. 🙂