back to book store

Chicken Tractor:
The Permaculture Guide to Happy Hens
and Healthy Soils.

Table of Contents

Recipe for a Chicken Tractor
Foreword by Tim Shell

Chapter 1: What is a Chicken Tractor Anyway?
Should You Have Roosters in Suburbia? 33
Ten Good Reasons to Go Mobile 34
Advantages of Chicken Tractors 35

Chapter 2: Why Chicken Tractors Belong in Your Garden
Animal Tractors in Permaculture Design 37
Some Permaculture Concepts* 37
Functional Analysis of the Chicken 39
Get Super-Fertile Soil Fast 48
Earthworms as Indicators 51

Chapter 3: Chicken Tractor Systems
1. Rotational Garden System 53
2. Deep Mulch System 54
3. Sheet Mulch System - Halfway Between Grazing and Deep Mulch 68
4. Intensive Grazing in Paddocks 75
5. Polyface Model - Poultry with Beef Cattle. 83
6. Hens on Wheels. 86
7. The Greenhouse System 87

Chapter 4: Straw Bale Chicken House
Benefits of Bale Construction 95
Straw vs Hay: What’s the Difference? 95
I’ll Blow Your House Down: Common Concerns About Bale Construction. 97
Wet Hay or Straw Bales 99
Here’s How to Build a Simple Bale Henhouse 101
Roof Construction 106
Co-Housing: The TurGuChi Condo for Interracial and Intercultural Housing 110
Hay-Bale Suburban Hobbit Model 111
Bale Construction For Livestock — Problems and How to Solve Them 113

Chapter 5: Soil Building with Chicken Tractors
Twice As Much Food on Half as Much Land 120
How Can Chicken Tractors Help Soil Improve? 121
How Does Soil Fertility Happen? 123
How Much Organic Matter in the Soil? 124
Use Compost to Increase Organic Matter in Soil 126
Chickens Add Fertilizer and Organic Matterl 129
Using Rotational Pens to Build Soil Fertility 131
Why Not Rotary Till? 132
Sheet Mulching to Aid Soil Fertility 134
Wild and Wonderful Earthworms 135
Nitrogen Needs of Various Vegetables 136
Seaweed Meal and Seaweed Extract 138
Permaculture Gardening 141

Chapter 6: Keeping Hens in Chicken Tractors
Light, Egg Laying and Chicken Health 144
Roosts and Perches 145

Chapter 7: Marketing
Making an Income by Gardening with Happy Hens and Healthy Soil 154
Practice Ensures Success 156
Here’s How to Sell Your Chickens Before They Hatch 165
Buy Local Because 169
Who Is Your Market? 171
Sell Them Other Products, Too 171
Raising Pullets for Resale 172
Using Brochures to Educate Your Customers and Promote Your Products 172

Chapter 8: Here’s How to Build Your Custom Chicken Tractor
1. Size, Configuration, Space Per Bird 183
2. Construction Materials 183
3. Moving Your Chicken Tractor 195

Chapter 9: Processing Poultry
Do-It-Yourself Poultry Processing 202
Design and Build a Small-Scale Poultry Processing Facility 204
Processing Equipment 214

Chapter 10: Selecting Chickens for Your Tractor
Breeds to Choose From and Best Choices 221

Chapter 11: Give Me That Old-Time Chicken
Preserving Heirloom Poultry Breeds 233

Chapter 12: Raising Chicks From Scratch
Where to Buy Chicks 238
Roosters, Hatching Eggs and Broody Hens 240
Equipment and Supplies You’ll Need for Chicks 245

Chapter 13: Predators
Rats and Mice 250
Domestic Cats and Dogs 251
Foxes, Coyotes, Raccoons, Weasels and Other Critters. 252
Predatory Birds. 254

Chapter 14: Chicken Diet (Theirs, Not Ours)
Organic Feeds 257
They Will Work for Chicken Feed 261
You Can Grow Your Own Organic Feed 261
Comfrey 270
Kelp 276
Diatomaceous Earth 282
Duckweed 282
Chapter 15: Diseases and Afflictions 284
Leg Problems and Curly Toe Paralysis 284
Breast Blisters 285
Antibiotics In Feeds 286
Pecking and Cannibalism 286
Debeaking. 287

Chapter 16: Raising Poultry Humanely
The Truth Behind “A Hen’s Life” 290

Chapter 17: Other Animal Tractors
Turkey Tractors 294
The Gabby Guineas 298
Epilogue: 303
World Wide Web and Internet Resources 306
Glossary (Chicken Talk) 308
Chick Producers and Equipment Dealers 309
Associations to Join 311
Bibliography 312
Index 313

back to book store