Gertie, the horse trailer who wanted to be a chicken coop

I don’t know why she’s “Gertie”. It just felt right.

Anyway, here is our new old 2-horse trailer. She’s a beautifully worn 1968 model with an unusual center front door over the tongue.

Why did we buy a horse trailer if we have no horses?

This little beauty will be transformed into our first mobile chicken coop. We’ll open up the inside, hang some nest boxes on the sides, install roost bars, vents, and an automatic door, and we should have a great little coop-on-wheels that we can move around the property.

Why?

To raise our egg layers on pasture, we’re going to need to move the girls every few days. This will give them access to fresh forage–grass, flowers, bugs, and worms–as well as move them away from their droppings.

A side benefit to this type of pasture management is the fertility that the birds will bring to our soils. Beyond that:

The manure feeds the microbiome, the scratching awakens the latent seedbank, the consumption scales back any bug overpopulation, the weed removal increases carbon in the soil, and the whole process promotes fire mitigation by taming the brush in the understory of the silvopasture and increasing soil water retention through carbon.

Cool, huh?

We’ll post some pictures throughout the project in the upcoming months. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what works for you with chicken tractors and pasture management!

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