Greenhouses and chickens?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Iceblink, May 29, 2007.

  1. Iceblink

    Iceblink Songster

    Hi, I'm new to backyard chicken keeping, so I'm really excited to find this site. I've read quite a few of the postings, and have already learned a lot. Thank you all so much for sharing your knowledge!
    I have so many questions, but here is the first; Have any of you used greenhouses or sections of greenhouses for chicken coops? I thought of this idea while reading a wonderful article on the ethics of heating greenhouses to grow off season veggies organically. Anyway, I was thinking that the heat generated by the chickens, and possibly the decomposing deep litter in a section of the greenhouse might be enough to heat it in the winter. And the chickens would maybe benefit from the extra light? I plan to use chicken tractors in the warmer months, so I wouldn't have to worry about them getting too hot. Also, I live in the Pacific Northwest, so the weather is pretty temperate anyway.
    Please let me know if you have any experience with this type of thing.

    Thanks so much, Amy
  2. barg

    barg Songster

    Apr 27, 2007
    MY uncle in-law had Chickens and ducks and built a large greenhouse that the chickens used in addition to their coop.
    Honestly I dont know alot of details, but it seemed to work for him.
    The thing was like half a geodesic dome and was really big; Had waterfalls and all kindsa plants in it.
    I'm sure it must have stayed warm , with or without chickens, by the way it was built, the plants etc..
    As I say, the ducks and chickens had an additional area with a coop that was outside of the greenhouse. Maybe for summertime?
    If I can get more info on it i'll let you know.
    BTW, we all live in the PNW too [​IMG]
  3. There is a book called Solviva which goes into great details on this concept. It is an awesome read!!

    Some of the things I remember:

    If there are a LOT of chickens, and their waste produces ammonia, it is possible that it could damage the plants in the greenhouse. Even small amounts of ammonia in the air will do in plants.

    She invented "ammonia extractors", which, as I remember, pulled the air from the top of the coop area and then released it under her compost beds, thus adding nitrogen to the compost area.

    I have also posted info about passive solar heating for a coop; depending on where you live, you might be able to combine the two and get the most bang for your buck.

    Can't let the chickens out in the greenhouse without a fair amount of damage to your plants, but you probably knew that.

    If you have any other questions about this concept, email me at [email protected] and I'll try to answer them.
  4. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    With deep litter in a coop, if you smell ammonia escaping the litter, you just add more carbon to the mix, by scattering more fresh litter on top. Maybe this would be a good concept for use with a chicken and greenhouse combination.
  5. Yes, Anna used the deep litter method; she used dried leaves she collected in the fall.
  6. Terryboc

    Terryboc Hatching

    Apr 12, 2007
    I thought I'd chime in with a comment on this-please make sure that you can regulate the temperature very well. I have an 8 x 12 polycarb greenhouse with automatic roof vents and a fan that runs 24/7 and it heats up ALOT during the day with the sun on it-in excess of 100 degrees is very common. I am going to try shadecloth this winter to regulate it a little more. I can't imagine that chickens would be comfy in the amount of heat my houe generates (I know my citrus aren't!)
  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    Terryboc, what area do you live in and what are your winter temperatures like?

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