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Free food and shade

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by darkmatter, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/uploads/36435_chickenfood.jpg

    Here's
    a picture showing the three tires/cage/trellis structure that drops tomatoes and squash into the run for chicken food. You can also see the garden which shares a fence that I grow some of my vine crops on. Surplus and spoiled veggies get tossed to the chickens.
    There is also two mature Illinois everbearing mulberry trees in the run, they drop mulberries for 10 to 12 weeks. With a 30 foot spread each they drop at least a ton of food over that period. I also planted last year apple and persimmon trees in the run to eventually extend the free food season well into fall. Notice the weed jungle in the background, the chickens love to spend the day roaming in the weed jungle---bugs and other stuff I guess.
    In the Fall when I'm done with the Garden harvest, I open the chicken door into the garden and they glean, till, and fertilize all winter long. In the spring I barely have to till the seed bed to plant the garden, the chickens and kept it tilled and weed free. (They do look soooooo disappointed in the spring when they encounter the chickendoor to the garden closed)
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    My Coop
    Haha - sounds like a similar set up to mine. I also let my girls do the work over the winter! I'm curious about your tomato set up though. It looks like you have planted in a tire and then used hog panels (or something similar) for the cage/trellis. I might have to borrow that idea. Do you have any other photos of that set up?
     
  3. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I use concrete remesh to make my cages and trellis out of. A roll of concrete remesh from the lumber yard lasted me several years, I've made 30+ cages and trellis and still have some left over.

    The tires are old pickup truck tires from my truck, I've cut out one sidewall. Placed the sidewall down and filled with compost for planting. I then cut the remesh to fit the size of the cylinder for the tire.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011
  4. ChicKat

    ChicKat Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    It's gorgeous.....sounds like a chicken paradise!
     
  5. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nice, nice, nice, and just way too cool for other words.

    I have an I.E. mulberry, they're great, but no one could possibly use all of that fruit. Good thinking on your part to plan that out that way.
     
  6. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    My Coop
    I love that idea (tire and concrete remesh) - I'm totally stealing it. Thanks for the additional info and pics. We also have a mulberry tree and the girls really enjoy the berries. The purple poop all over the yard gets a little old - I just keep telling myself mulberry season is short! We humans also enjoy as many mulberries as we can pick too. This year I made mulberry jam and muffins.
     
  7. GhostRider65

    GhostRider65 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is so awsum......... Ty for posting such wonderful Idea's Hope you don't mind if I borrow them for next year. Love your chicken yard !!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011
  8. tommboy1973

    tommboy1973 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hidden Valley, AZ
    I am inspired by your ideas! Are the tires just to raise the plants up so the chickens can't reach them, or for ease of planting(less digging) or both? Do you just let the tomatoes/squash ripen and fall off on their own?
     
  9. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:The tires are used to hold the compost in a mound (bottom sidewall is cut out) and help hold the remesh cylinder up. I do just let the tomatoes and squash ripen and fall off. I do have to "stomp" the squash to break it open sometimes for the chickens, some they can peck open themselves and others have a hard enough shell I have to assist. The chickens eat the squash leaves and vines that hang down low enough for them to reach, so the squash gets "chicken pruned" and sends out more tendrils------that's why it looks like the squash has covered the trellis so well, anywhere else, it gets pruned.
     
  10. lambeke1

    lambeke1 Out Of The Brooder

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    I planted 2 fig trees right outside the pen so that when they grow larger they can offer food and shade for the chickens and my wife LOVES figs. Whatever falls in the pen and the low hanging fruit the chickens can have and the figs that grow outside the pen we can eat. I also have 2 blueberry bushes I bought to plant next to the pen but I've been reading about the blue poop. Not sure what I'm going to do about that. This is my first venture into chicken raising, just got 26 chicks July1. I plan on planting a garden next spring along the side of the pen.
     

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