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Balfour Method?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by roostercluck, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. roostercluck

    roostercluck Chirping

    May 26, 2012
    I have heard about the Balfour method and I was wondering how exactly I would construct a coop like it. I have an existing coop, and I would like to remodel it.

  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    As far as I know it's not about coop design rather the run design. The idea is to keep chickens with fresh grasses and insects to forage while still keeping them contained, not free ranging. You create 3 to 4 areas with the first area being where feed, water, coop and dust baths are located. Off this main section you'd have 2 to 3 areas of penned in lawn. Let's denote the coop area as A with closeable access to forage areas B,C and D. You'd open the access from A to B for a few days then close it before it's over foraged to open access to forage area C for a few days then open access to only area D for forage for few days. This rotates the forage areas allowing time for the first area, B, to recover growth of grasses and replenish insects.

    Basically your allowing managed free forage within runs. If chickens are given one huge area as a run they will eventually deplete everything worth foraging or more likely turn the area into a barren dust bowl.

    I guess you could not have an area A and cut more doors in the coop to let them into different run areas each day to rotate. With this you'd need a big coop and likely leave water and feed in your coop so not to have to move them to different runs every day or two.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  3. c2chicks

    c2chicks Chirping

    That's what we do! We rotate (only 3 birds) between 3 pens. There is one "hallway" that give access to the pens--so far, it has been great. Now that the growing season is over [​IMG], I have them using mostly one pen, that is sand and pine straw. They only get to use the grass for an hour or so each day. As soon as everything is growing again, we'll rotate every week. There are trellises in each pen so they can pluck out all the grass, but not scratch up the roots!
    . [​IMG]
  4. macgeoghagen

    macgeoghagen In the Brooder

    Dec 19, 2012
    That looks like a good idea for people with limited space or limited fence budget. I rotate my flocks between 20x20 pens. When they tear up the grass I move the flock's hutch to the next pen.
  5. yyz0yyz0

    yyz0yyz0 Songster

    May 2, 2012
    one part of this method that was left out was using the main run area as a composting/scratching run. You throw in lots of compostable material ie. leaves, grass clippings, kitchen scraps. This draws lots of bugs for the girls to dig up and eat as well as any seeds from the kitchen scraps.

    Once or twice a year you clean this all out and start with fresh stuff. What gets cleaned out should be ready for use in the garden.

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