If you find
Inter-row weeds are hard to control
Animals offer benefits but can cause problems — such as in vegetable gardens
Orchard pests or ground covers get out of control
There is more work than you seem to have time for
Put your animals to work in an Animal tractor in a way that benefits you and the farm, keeps them under control and makes management easier and more predictable.
After all, why work if your animals can do it for you? This is an excellent way to use Animals as tools without making your life too complicated.
Livestock are marvelous at fertilizing, mowing, managing pasture composition, cleaning up crop trash, breaking soil crusts, improving soils through grazing shock, spreading seeds or confining weed seeds to a small area.
However, sometimes they get into areas and do things you don’t want them to. And they may have needs that add to your workload unless the needs can be provided for automatically.
So sometimes animals work best and are best protected when they are moved in cages that allow them and their manure access to the soil and that protect the animals from predation and weather extremes.
The most common form is a chicken tractor that allows birds to clean up crop residue, weeds and pests while fertilizing pasture, vegetable beds, orchards and vineyards.
Because they are confined, the animals are prevented from damaging the crops near where they are grazing.
Some vegetable/poultry enterprises have chicken tractors the same size as their vegetable beds or at least the same width. This allows the tractor to be lifted onto the bed or rolled into a position where it straddles the bed — depending on the setup. Then the birds have access to the bed without having access to crops growing nearby.
Pigs also work well in tractors — particularly in orchards where their high level of manuring contributes to soil fertility in a
Although not strictly an animal tractor, tethered animals can work well in the same way, provided the animal’s welfare is covered or taken are of. This involves protection from:
- tangling in their tethers. Traces can work better than central pivots, because traces can allow the animal free movement with little chance.
- exposure to the elements beyond their reasonable capacity.