Joel Salatin Chicken Tractor Plans

by brenda on June 12, 2011

Joel Salatin Chicken Tractor

We just processed our first batch of chickens for the summer. This year we are doing about 300 birds. My husband built a chicken tractor like Joel Salatin’s last year.

We wanted to share with you the rough plans that my husband drew up in Visio to go with Joel Salatin’s Pastured Poultry Profits . The book describes how to build the chicken tractor in Chapter 10, The Pen, but in a paragraph form. My husband used that paragraph to draw up these plans.

You’ll need to read Pastured Poultry Profits to fully understand how to build it, but we’re hoping these plans will help you get a visual. These plans are not intended to replace Mr. Salatin’s awesome book! 🙂


Joel Salatin Chicken Tractor Plans (pdf) 

Joel Salatin Chicken Tractor Plans (Visio)

(Use the plans in Visio if you would like to modify them yourself)





{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeri Fay June 12, 2011 at 5:17 pm

I am confused… a chicken tractor? What is it used for? Are you selling chicken?


brenda June 15, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Yes, we sell chicken! 🙂 We are chicken farmers–at least, we raise a few hundred a year. 🙂


Gelatts March 5, 2012 at 9:15 pm

I am interested in how you package your birds for the freezer. Do you have a picture?


Brenda March 6, 2012 at 8:43 pm

I don’t have a photo right now, but we use plastic bags with hog rings. We are not totally satisfied with this, because the birds seem to still get some freezer burn after several months. We’d love to find another solution! Thanks for asking!


Old Country Boy January 29, 2015 at 6:44 pm

A friend, who is now passed on, was a butcher. For his own use he rapped meat in plastic then with several layers of news paper. I do this now with good results. My local Rural News is made with heavy paper. Works very well, also I use paper flour and sugar bags.


Teresa Van den Hazel March 25, 2020 at 1:23 pm

As far as bagging, I’ve been looking at getting the shrink bags, or vacuum packing for my chickens


SHIRLEY May 1, 2020 at 7:26 pm

I have used the heat shrink bags…they worked good and kept the chicken meat in good shape for extended time in the freezer.


Laureldc May 1, 2012 at 2:59 pm

How many chickens do you keep in each tractor? How often do you move your tractor?


brenda May 2, 2012 at 7:10 pm

We keep up to 100 (usually around 80) in the chicken tractor & move it once per day. Thanks for asking!


Roz June 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm

YES! We need to build this right now and even though I have Pasture Poultry Profits, this makes it so much easier!


Pam Barone May 11, 2013 at 8:44 am

Duh, you don’t need to buy a book or software to build a chicken tractor. You can draw a square and go to the hardware store. If you’re using a saw, you will also be using a carpenter’s square and simple math.


Kansas June 13, 2015 at 4:10 pm

Thank you so much! I have Joel’s book but was looking for the plans. Now I’d just like to be able to find his photos in colour, the b&w’s aren’t that great for my old eyes. 🙂


Robert August 14, 2016 at 6:03 am

Thank you. I’m using the plans now. How did you frame out the two doors on top?


Traci St Claire Johnson March 8, 2018 at 2:20 pm

Not to be rude but seems to be too many chickens for the space. I know they enjoy being outdoors but again, too many per square ft.


Ray Nelson April 24, 2018 at 4:15 am

According to Joel Salatin you get optimum growth between 50 and 85 in one of his tractors. Above 85 and they are too crowded and don’t gain weight. Below 50 and they run around too much and they don’t gain as much weight. He is raising Cornish Cross so it might be different for different breeds.


Teresa Van den Hazel March 25, 2020 at 1:35 pm

That’s plenty of room for the Cornish meat chickens. Don’t forget, their food is right under their feet, fresh every day, and the water close by, and they don’t move like other chickens.


Angela Kumlin March 12, 2018 at 1:26 pm

Is there wire mesh on the floor? If so what size holes? Can one person pull it to move it?


brenda March 22, 2018 at 7:10 pm

Hi Angela, nope, no wire mesh on the floor. Yes, one person can pull or move it. It IS heavy though, and it’s a bit of a chore. But it’s doable! 🙂


Gary Villines April 25, 2018 at 6:50 pm

Do you have a rough estimate on total cost to build? Not labor wise, just materials. Thanks!


Sean February 25, 2019 at 3:58 pm

I wanted to thank you for putting these plans online! It’s a real blessing to our family as we get ready to build! Anyone pursuing pasture raised poultry and love Joel Salatin will appreciate this! God bless your family! Thanks again!

The Alix family
SBL Farms


Mary Conlan June 8, 2019 at 10:29 am

Is it cheaper to mix your own grain compaired to a 50# bag of processed? If so, do you have any high protein (23%) recipes?


JB April 3, 2020 at 8:11 pm

How do you protect against predators? Is you tractor inside electric?


Jay Martin August 26, 2020 at 6:26 pm

Thank you!


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