Design related question.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Kobey, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. Kobey

    Kobey In the Brooder

    Nov 8, 2011
    So we have a garden…that’s the strange basis of all this. And what my wife was thinking was she wants some chickens and in looking around we’ve come across the Balfour method of keeping them.

    The idea basically is you rotate the chickens around fixed runs and they fertilize as they eat and it all composts etc…

    Now I’ve also read that chicken poop is “hot” when it comes to nitrogen and you have to let it compost really well before planting anything otherwise it will burn the roots and nothing grows.

    So as someone with apparently too much time on his hands I have been trying to figure out what size these runs should be and how to actually make this all come together in a non-disastrous way.

    Currently my idea is to have 8-ish chickens and a 4-door open air style coop 10’x10’ on wheels that I can move (think tractor) back and forth every year between 2 enclosed plots. Each of these plots will be divided into 4 sections that I can rotate the girls though. The one plot that does not house the coop will be used for the garden.

    The idea being each fall we move the coop turn the soil and come spring the garden is a nice new plot of fertilized garden.

    Has anyone actually done something like this…success or failure; or is it one of these things that sounds great but in reality doesn’t work?

  2. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Songster

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
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  3. Martelle

    Martelle Hatching

    Nov 15, 2011
    Your idea is sound and it will work. You need at least 3 to 4 sq feet of space pr. chicken. you may need to move the tractor around a little more often then you are thinking of but the rotation sounds good. My Great Garndmother( who I got most of my chicken raising ideas from, Had a chicken coop in the middle of her garden. Then she had a moveable fence that she moved to the different sections as needed.[​IMG]
  4. Kobey

    Kobey In the Brooder

    Nov 8, 2011
    I guess my mistake was mentioning the tractor / coop.

    I have searched and researched this a lot and many of the ideas I have seen here from enclosed and very large permenant runs to coop design and even some photos of a Balfour type use have lead me to posting this.

    The question is related to using chicken poop as fertilizer and how much space verse time should I allow for before trying to plant anything...figured "design" was the place to ask


    If I have a 30x30 run divided into 1/4 sections (or about 5+ sq/ft per chicken) and rotate the chickens once a week for 8-months and then winter them in the coop -come spring with the "fertilizer still be too "hot" to plant?

    *sigh*...I'm not explaining this right I fear...
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011

  5. OmAnNom

    OmAnNom Chirping

    Aug 10, 2011
    Fort Bragg, NC
    Quote:You're explaining just fine.
    By moving the chickens out in the winter, allowing time for the decomposition to happen in that plot, the ground should be perfect for your garden come spring. It will not be too "hot" by then. Here's a link with composting tips for you to make the most out of your winter compost

    Hope that helps [​IMG] Your set up sounds well thought out and like a very functional, sustainable plan!

    Edit to add: You probably wouldn't even need to divid the 30x30 plot in forths if you didn't want to. It may cut down on some of the work. Let them have all 30x30 of the first plot for the 8 months, move them for the winter to rototill and allow decomposition; in the spring move them into the other 30x30 garden plot.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2011
  6. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Songster

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    A buddy of mine has a different approach to gardens and chickens. He has a fairly large garden where space is no problem. Ne built him a tractor run large enough for 3 hens. I would say it's 6 feet long, 4 feet high and 2 feet wide. It has a small coop with nest and a roost. Feed and water is provided. But the strange thing he did, well, it's strange to me, is fit between the rows in his garden. He puts it at one end between two rows with the three hens inside. He leaves them them a day. Next morning he moved it down the row 6 feet. Next morning 6 more feet. He never weeds the garden and the chicken droppings stays in the middle till it dries out. We all know how much the chicken can rototill the ground. He rotates hens every 2 days. He has about 40 RIR so no body stays in there very long. He's done it that way for a while now.[​IMG]
  7. Kobey

    Kobey In the Brooder

    Nov 8, 2011
    Thanks everyone. Last thing I need is to go though all this and end up with a garden my wife cannot grow anything in...then I'd be the one getting plucked.

    Quote:I just thought it would help the grass they are on if I moved them into different sections least they have a 30x30 area in wich they all hang out in some back corner.

    Quote:That is very cool! And talk about multi-purpose chickens! In fact that is such a neat idea I may simply try that next year. We normally have rows 6-feet wide with a 2-foot path on either side. If instead I did 3-foot wide rows one with garden the other with a tractor like you describe and switch them around every year we'd have a slightly smaller garden %-wise but it would be even more efficent and easier!


    Thanks everyone!

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