The birds are now all set up in deluxe tractors, hand built by artisan Smith and Son craftsmen. Luxury accomodations at Cycle Farm. Each tractor has a pop door for the birds, chicken wire walls, and a recycled vinyl billboard roof. There are even roosting bars set at different heights across the frame. A lot like playground monkey bars. The birds are looking especially happy these days, now that they have a job to do. These glorious chicken get-ups are called tractors because they provide a similar function on the land – via happy chickens instead of petrol. The tractor is built with an open floor, so the birds eat at the vegetation and bugs, the scratch up the dirt, and then they crap all over the place, adding nutrients to the soil. It’s beautiful. Right now we are moving the tractors once a day. The tractors are relatively light weight, moving it means lifting it just enough to slide it over to a new spot. After one day, the birds in each tractor have eaten up all the good stuff: dandelion leaves are picked clean, clover has disappeared, grass seed heads are mowed.
Each tractor is 4′x12′, specially designed for use in our vegetable rows. The vinyl roof/cover rolls down over the side walls – which means these might also work well as make-shift cold frames (when they are not full of chickens), to extend our growing season ..for a bit ..in a tiny area.
The birds are still pretty young and won’t start laying until September-ish – but already they are proving their worth as working livestock. Seeing these little guys doing their chicken thing in the tractors – it brings to mind those awesome electricity generating playgrounds. Harnessing young, random, playful energy and putting it towards a focused good.