In reply to the reader who asked to see how we winter-proof our chicken tractors:

1110181416aThese are the walk-in tractors designed by John Suscovich at Farm Marketing Solutions, six foot by ten foot by five foot tall.  Because the framing of the top is mostly metal pipe, there’s very little you can put a staple into, so covering it with six mil plastic sheeting requires some creativity.  One way is to cover the ends first, folding the plastic over the top.  Then the sheet that covers the middle can help hold down the edges.  The deer netting we staple or zip tie over everything as wind protection also helps keep the plastic in place.  We can use the same sheet of plastic for several years running (going on six now), to reduce negative ecological impact.  In fact, much of this plastic started life as a low-tunnel cover, so it’s actually salvage.

The great thing about these covered tractors is that they let us pasture chickens even in the winter.  The warm environment under the plastic keeps hens laying when the birds inside netting, but without a plastic cover, go on winter strike.  Moving the tractors daily means droppings are distributed evenly over the garden, which is sown to wheat as a winter cover — which makes great chicken pasture.