Hi all ... Never in my life did I think I would write these words ... "what an awesome chicken website"!
My wife Mary and I purchased a derelict farm on the Welland River in the Niagara region of Ontario Canada. We spent two years clearing the land and then three years building what I think (hope) is our dream home on top of our barn/garage. And now ... chickens! We along with our two kids 4 & 7 are super excited. I'm working on a rolling coop design that can be moved around our property. We are planning on starting with 20 'day old' chicks this spring.
Our farm is 76 acres, and we rent the land to a commercial farmer who's primary crop is construction grade soy beans. Our homestead is around 4 acres and we would love to have our chickens roam free. My concerns are a) the vegetable garden and b) the 'Roundup Read' soy bean crop. On the South side of our homestead we have a half acre garden which is divided in half by a utility road flanked by asparagus plants ... so two 1/4 acre rectangular garden plots with a grass strip (roadway) down the centre. In the past the garden has proven to be a little too large with simply too much produce and maintenance. My rough plan is to use panel fencing and two gates to alternate activity in the garden areas. Garden on one side and chicken run on the other (with coop inside) ... alternating each year to allow the ground to go follow and the chickens to have some variety. This is the reason for the rolling coop design ... as well as being able to move the coop from the open field garden area to the sheltered side of the barn in the coldest months. (where we also have power).
So our first of a million questions ... is 34" hog fence any kind of border for chicken run? I could step up to 50" cattle panel ... but its $60-$70 (+ 13% tax) in our area ... and I haven't sourced any used panel yet. We need to cover 1/4 acre. I like the panels because I can easily move them and the metal posts each year. The fencing would not be for predators ... just to control the free range area and keep the chickens out of the GMO crop and (soon to be efficient) vegetable garden.
Also ... considering our run would be the location of the previous year's garden ... is there something you would suggest seeding on that plot in the spring that would benefit the chickens and the ground ... nutrient wise? I could run the mower in there occasionally ...might need to invest in a couple goats as well! :) Just trying to get my head wrapped around a good plan for the spring...
Thank in advance BYC ... looking forward to where this takes us!
Marco & Mary