It's an elegant system for keeping chickens out of trouble and on green grass. They peck and scratch, eat bugs and green stuff, leave their droppings, and when the grassy spot has been thoroughly worked over, you move the tractor to another spot. (I have a tier in the garden where fat bugs of some sort -- maybe sowbugs -- have wiped out my squash and I'd love to put these biddies there.)
There's chick food and water and at night they can trundle up the ramp to the sleeping quarters (I've removed a panel so you can see) where there's a roost awaiting them. There are also nest boxes at either end when they get old enough to lay.
The chicks are happy to be out of the box and in more natural surroundings and Ali Ali seems to have decided that he's a chicken guard -- he's run off the other dogs when they've tried to investigate.
We still have the chicken house and the five old hens and Gregory Peck, the rooster. As these young pullets reach full size, we'll move some to the chicken yard -- 6 t0 8 is probably maximum capacity for the chicken tractor.
If you're interested in backyard chickens, this is a great solution. More and more communities are allowing chickens in backyards (not roosters, however.) There are any number of websites with plans and advice on chicken tractors. We even found a site where we could buy one just like the one we saw at the Stately Home -- for the stately price of about $1500 -- plus shipping from the UK.
This one looks just the same (John found the plans on the Internet), cost about $150 in materials (including the feeder and waterer), and features some small improvements. It's a lot fancier than it needs to be (here's a cheaper easier one) -- you can find plans for building a perfectly nice chicken tractor using recycled pallets -- but what a lovely addition to the garden of our stately home!