|Back of our newest turkey tractor|
We've been using portable pens for young chickens and turkeys for about seven years now. Our first one was too light weight, and it only lasted one season. It was made with PVC pipe. A week before Thanksgiving, the wind grabbed it and blew it so high that it shattered when it hit the ground. I never wanted another one. But Mike liked them.
|Our second chicken tractor design had lots of wood to make it heavy.|
One of them fell apart this summer, because wood doesn't mix well with wind and rain. I was kind of surprised it lasted for five years. So we needed a second portable pen for turkeys. I found this design online. It uses livestock panels that have been bent over to create the frame. I really like the fact that we can walk into it. A disadvantage of both of our previous designs was the height. To catch chickens or turkeys, someone had to crawl in there on hands and knees, which was difficult and dirty, even if you moved the pen to clean grass moments before crawling in there.
We don't usually split gobblers and hens, but we decided to try it this year. We put the five boys in the new pen and left the eight hens in the old one. Although the boys don't look that big, they usually weigh about five pounds more than the hens (15 pounds versus 10 pounds), which is why we decided that it was fair for only five of them to have their own pen. And in case you missed my earlier post about the turkeys, they're White Hollands, which is a heritage breed that is critically endangered of extinction. Don't let their white feathers fool you -- they're a far cry from the modern supermarket mutants.
I'm sorry I don't have a picture of the front of the new pen. I tried five times to upload it, and Blogger would have a nervous breakdown every time. Either the picture wouldn't display, or it was distorted, so I finally gave up.