Hi! I am a newbie to chickens, although I do have experience from when I was a child.
My plan is to split my HUGE garden in half, and let the chickens process one side while I garden the other. Each year, I flip-flop the garden and chicken run. The coop will be in the middle and have doors for each side. All will be fenced as needed to keep the chickens where they should be. Obviously, the door on the garden side remains closed that year.
I intend to flip-flop indefinitely into the future. I need all the help I can get with bugs and weeds in the garden. :) So, let'em rip and process the ground for me ahead of time.
I've got the overview of the plan done, and now it's time to crunch the numbers. Here's my big question:
How many chickens?
Each run is ~3000 sq. ft. How many chickens should I put there to have them "clear" the run in one year? (52 weeks).
I'd like them to scratch around eating bugs, weeds, weed seeds, etc, making compost for me, etc., all the things chickens seem to enjoy. What I don't want is a muddy barenaked run for part of the year. And I'd like to minimize feed purchases. Esp. during growing or warm season. I understand I'll need feed for the winter.
All these things, to me, point to a smaller flock of 3-5 chickens. That's 3-5 chickens in a 3000 sq.ft run for a year.
What are your thoughts?
Thanks so much!