Using a Trampoline as a Chicken Tractor

Trampoline as a Chicken TractorIn the earliest days of our chicken hobby, we thought we would have the girls in a chicken tractor. This idea was quickly squashed when we realized that our tractor was perhaps large enough for three birds, and we had 26. Even with just three, we would have needed to move the tractor almost daily, and it was just too heavy for that, even though we had worked hard to try and make it light-weight. The next iteration in that plan was to make a larger enclosed pen with an open bottom, that we could move less frequently. One of us had the idea to try using a trampoline. It’s round, so it provides a maximum surface area for the amount of material used, and it’s a sturdy, ready-made frame with a cover that provides some shade, but also allows some sun in. We picked up a 100-foot roll of 1/2″ hardware cloth from the local hardware store, and found two trampolines on Craigslist. One was a nice 14-foot version that we paid a little for, and one was a cheap 12-foot version that we got for free, since it had been balled up in a windstorm. The trampoline pen worked well. It was easiest to move them with two people, but it was possible to move them with one person too. Two wheelbarrow tires on one side would have made it easier to move. As we became less interested in the chicken tractor idea, we would just scoot trampolines around to provide cover for the girls while they grazed in the pasture. We never did get around to enclosing the larger trampoline, though even without the hardware cloth it still provided some good protection from aerial predators. And best of all, if we felt like we had too much energy, we could go bounce on the trampolines too! Although we would make sure there weren’t any birds underneath of course.