A 6-Bay Chicken Garden Rotation System

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by GreenChange, Sep 22, 2018.

  1. GreenChange

    GreenChange In the Brooder

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    Jamberoo, NSW, Australia
    I've set up my garden as 6 individual fenced bays, and have been rotating my chickens through the bays for a month at a time. I have a fuller description and some photos here: http://green-change.com/2018/08/08/6-bay-chicken-garden-rotation-system/

    Has anyone else here set up a similar system? I'd really like to see some examples of rotation systems to get some tips and swap ideas!
     
  2. Birdinhand

    Birdinhand Crowing

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    wow, read through the whole article, that is a system I have never run across and it's fascinating. sounds like you live in the tropics and have lots of space! the build looks good on your set up. where I live in the northwest US I would have to have retractable rain cover, it is wet and soggy and low light here for about 6 months a year. most of the uncovered runs I see around here turn into mud pies, so mine is completely covered. there are things we can grow throughout most of year, but of the things that winter over, there is very little growth for about 3-4 months. all that said, it still makes me wonder if a modified version would work here. at this point I am feeding layer mix to the laying hens and grower mix to the meat birds and throw in treats/trimmings and weeds from the garden as able but letting them have access to a rotating garden would make them so happy. It would be nice to not have to manually cycle the droppings through the composter but then again all that compost gets spread amongst fruit trees, various raised garden beds, hops, grapes, blue berries, raspberries. I would not feel comfortable letting the chickens have access to the perennials, they are just too rough, basically turning everything into a moonscape/war zone/scorched earth so I'd need to keep cycling out some nutrients to make those plants work. I envy how much space you have, I live int he burds so I have to keep dreaming for that farm some day.
     
  3. JaeG

    JaeG Crossing the Road

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    Wow, thanks for sharing. That's a great system you've got going there. Near us there used to be a poultry farm where each coop could open onto 8 different sections of pasture so that the birds could be rotated through them. Your system looks much simpler and I love the fact they are contributing and getting a variety of yummy foods (rather than just eating grass).
     
  4. FeatherstoneFrm

    FeatherstoneFrm Songster

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    I never built it but drew out plans for something similar. It was 4 bays surrounding the coop so the coop opened to 1 at a time. Six might make more sense.
    This is well thought out and beautifully built.
     
    townchicks likes this.
  5. Melky

    Melky Crowing

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    My Coop
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    I just have 3 4X8 beds and one 4x4 section is for chicks. Getting ready to maybe add more. I have leftover composite from deck to use. My one 4x4 is greens I grow for the chicks. It is chicken salad mix from MPC. The seed was on sale. I have two compost bins. I cover my beds with grow cloth till harvest to protect from bugs that are not beneficial but let water and sun in. I let my chicks free range around the garden all season to eat nonbeneficial bugs. They eat a few leaves but nothing harmful. I also have potted and planted herbs around my garden which the chicks love so they eat these more than my plants. Whatever you train them to they will do. At end of season I will let them have at it when all is harvested adding their manure to the area direct. I will try and take a few picks today. I placed my chick house near the gardens so they naturally flock here and around my green house.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    Pretty interesting.
    How long have you been doing this?
    A month cycle seems short for most veg around here.
    Most important:
    Welcome to BYC!
    ...and Where in this world are you located?
    Climate is almost always a factor.
    Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
    It's easy to do, then it's always there!
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  7. FeatherstoneFrm

    FeatherstoneFrm Songster

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    It looks like each bay is available to the chickens for 1 month but has a 5 month growing period until the rotation comes back around.
     
  8. Melky

    Melky Crowing

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    That would work.
     
  9. townchicks

    townchicks Crowing

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    I like this idea a lot. I don't think I could do the same setup, but I want to let the chickens work my garden this winter, this gives me some ideas.
     
    FeatherstoneFrm and Melky like this.
  10. GreenChange

    GreenChange In the Brooder

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    Sep 22, 2018
    Jamberoo, NSW, Australia
    Thanks for the positive comments, all!

    I'm in Jamberoo, NSW, Australia - about 1.5 hours south of Sydney. It's classified as a temperate climate, and is some of Australia's best dairy country. I don't get snow or frost, and have good sun exposure, so can grow year-round. I think our climate is fairly similar to California from what I can tell. We live on 1 acre, so I've got a fair bit of space to play with.

    Yep, the chickens get access to a bay for a month, before moving on to the next - so the vegies get 5 months of growing time. I'm finding some things (e.g. cabbage, beetroot, leeks) take the whole 5 months (or even longer) during winter. I'm going to protect them with chicken wire when the chickens get back into that bay, to hopefully give them a bit more time to finish.

    Other crops are finished within 3-4 months (e.g. cauliflower, broccoli, snow peas, climbing beans), so as they come out I plant fast-growers like bok choy and radishes. During the final month, I throw chicken seed around and let it sprout - it gives the chickens even more greenery to eat when they get in there.

    We're at the start of spring now, so the busy growing season is ahead. I'm going to experiment with moving potted fruit trees, blueberries, etc into the cages while they're fruiting - birds get all the fruit otherwise! They can go back outside when they're not fruiting.

    It gets hot here during summer - we usually get a few days above 40 C (105 F), and lots of days in the 30s (85-100 F). I'm planning to cut sections of shade cloth to size and hang them in the cages using bungee cord. It should be easy to put up and take down as needed.

    I'm preparing some more garden beds outside the caged area for crops that the birds and possums don't bother as much - potatoes, kale, melons, pumpkins, zucchini, herbs, etc. The cage space is valuable, so I really only want to use it for the plants that need protection.
     

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