LeyShaw Homestead

What the Cursed Chicken Tractor Has Taught Me

Not so close encounters of chicken kind. Seriously though, the encounters are getting closer and less dramatic. I’ll take what I can get.

It is September and the JSCT (John Suschovich Chicken Tractor) still isn’t finished. To recap: the supplies were dropped off on July 6th; the Tuesday after I took my ELAR 7-12 grade exam. We really got it kicked off that weekend. We started off strong. Then Mother Nature decided she hates Houston, and we were struck with waves of heat advisories, torrential downpours, and the Fella threw out his back.

The No Stress Tractor has been pretty stressful. It’s not the tractor’s fault and when I need another chicken tractor, I will likely build another JSCT. We HAVE made progress, but it has been incremental. Which brings me to my first take away from this project.

First, incremental progress is better than no progress at all. We started with a pile of wood. We have a frame, doorway, rafters, and hardware cloth. We also have a lovely paint job and trim.

Second, be flexible…unlike the roof panels I bought. We wanted to use something more durable than tarp as a roof. Houston is notoriously unkind to things made of plastic. The sun just destroys it. Moisture destroys everything else; welcome to the armpit of the United States. The panels didn’t work, I bought a really nice, non shiny canvas tarp. It is resistant to mildew. I was flexible, like the tarp.

Third, make sure you have infrastructure in place before you bring home your animals, even if it isn’t their permanent home. We knew we couldn’t combine the Windsors and the Churchills right away. Even with gentle introductions, we’ve had some reasonable minor pecking order drama. I can’t imagine what would have happened if we had just chunked them together. The point of this digression : make sure you have somewhere for your animals to live at each stage of their growth. Have it ready for them before they reach the next stage of growth. I can’t imagine keeping three pullets in a plastic tote at this point in the program. We are going to have new additions to the Modage Homestead in a month or so, but that won’t be happening until there is shelter and infrastructure.

That being said. The tropics are calm. The forecast is temperate. This could be the weekend we finally pull this off. I really hope it is, because I have plans for the rest of September.

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