You can design your own chicken tractor plans. Many people do. It's incredible to see the variety of designs these weekend warriors have come up with - A-frame wooden ark structures, PVC caravan styles, converted doghouses on wheels - chicken people are some of the most creative and imaginative ones I know!
It's actually fun to sit down with a pile of paper and a sharp pencil, spending a rainy Saturday afternoon sketching up designs. The hard part, however, is actually executing the design. Unless you are an experienced wood crafter, realize there may be a bit of trial and error, as well as a few trips to the hardware store, before you get things right.
Before you pull out your hammer and nails, there are a few things you should keep in mind when designing your own...
First, think about how much the structure will weigh when finished.
I can't stress how important it is to get the weight right. I have talked to several people that designed their own chicken tractor, only to find out they couldn't budge the danged thing when it was finished.
That's when the modifications start. They add lawnmower wheels, only to find out that the wheels end up buckling under the weight. They spend even more money, replacing the roof or other parts of the tractor with lighter materials. Sometimes they just give up, and use it as a stationary run.
Get the weight right from the beginning, and you will save yourself loads of hassle.
Next, make sure your plans will adequately protect your birds from predators.
Poor chickens. Everyone thinks they taste good. The neighbor's dog down the street, the family of raccoons that lives in the woods, the hawk that keeps a keen eye on your property...
With all these hungry bellies, it's just asking for trouble to let your chickens roam freely around your property. That's why many people construct chicken tractors. They want to provide their birds with a free range diet, without providing a free chicken dinner to every other critter that stops by.
Of course, your chicken tractor plans will be no good if your birds become a victim of an attack anyway. Put some thought into the materials you plan to use, and make sure the tractor is as predator-proof as possible.
Finally, consider investing in one of the tried and true chicken tractor plans that are readily available.
There are a handful of chicken people that have detailed step by step exactly how to make their designs, even including comprehensive material lists.
One of my personal favorites is the chicken tractor design by Catawba Coops. Dave at Catawba Coops has put together chicken tractor plans that are not only functional, but they are very attractive too (he lives in an urban area and had to keep his neighbors happy). His plans are a steal, costing less than twenty bucks. Some of his customers have even started local businesses building chicken tractors from his plans and selling them to their neighbors.
Another good resource is the Building a Chicken Coop ebook. At $29.95, the ebook costs a little more than Dave's plans, but in addition to the chicken tractor plans, it includes blueprints and material lists for building a couple of traditional chicken coop designs.