Joel Salatin His famous book
Joel Salatin developed a pastured chicken meat production using "chicken tractors"
that are 10' x 12', fully enclosed on one end and covered with netting on the other end.
How our chicken tractor differed from the model:
- Salatinís roofing and siding is made from aluminum. Our CT uses polycarbonate. Aluminum is much more durable and recyclable but is also extremely expensive. The price of aluminum has sky rocketed since the publication of Salatinís book. Aluminum is also much heavier and we already find the CT a little to heavy for easy moving.
- Salatin used plastic netting on the open end of his CTs. We used 1 inch chicken wire on the roof and quarter inch hardware cloth on the sides. Salatin recommends plastic netting because it is light weight. He also recommends a strip of hardware cloth on the bottom 6 inches of the north eastern quadrant to protect from raccoons reaching in and grabbing the birds. We decided to use the hardware cloth all the way around to be safe. We used wire instead of netting because I was unable to find appropriate netting, wire seemed more predator proof and I like to avoid non-recyclable or biodegradable materials.
- Salatinís design uses more cross braces to increase durability. We reduced the number of cross braces to reduce weight because the structure seemed to be sturdy enough with the bracing we installed. He also used a wire and turnbuckle to stop spreading on the bottom across the 10ft span. We used a 2x2 instead because we could attach a center support for the roof to it, it acted a perch and was less likely to trip the chickens.
- Salatinís design contained no roosts. We added 3 10ft roosts to give the birds a place to sleep off the ground. Chickens like to sleep on roosts and it helps keep them dry in the rainy season.
The design after which we modeled our hoop house:
1. a free range operation in Marin County that used an identical hoop house
2. Joel Salatinís ďEggmobile,Ē which is a ramshackle coop on wheels, and the same electric fencing he uses.
Joel Salatin's EggMobile
How our hoop house differed from the model:
- we combined the hoop house with the electric fencing
- Our HH is on wheels, not skids, so that it can be moved by hand instead of by tractor. This allows it to be moved more often.