Growing plants in the floor of a chicken coop


In the Brooder
6 Years
Jun 5, 2013
I read that someone liked to plant garden veggies in a small plot outside then cover it with a raised hardware cloth so the chickens could jump on top and graze but not kill the plants.

It got me thinking... what if you did this as the floor of the chicken coop?

The obvious problem is the nitrogen rich chicken poop burning the plants. I wonder if creating a soil recipe on the floor would work. Something like 2 parts wood chips (to tie up nitrogen), 2 parts compost or top soil, 1 part peat moss or something like that. Then plant plants that love nitrogen, stuff like corn, sunflowers, maybe some tall grasses like rye, timmothy or wheat. Maybe the better route would be shade loving cool plants like lettuce or broccoli due to the artificial lighting, but how would they handle the nitrogen? Maybe something viney like squash or melons?

The chicken's floor would be the hardware cloth, something like 1"x1", with plenty of roosts. It would be maybe 4-6 inches off the ground. Then as the grass grows past the hardware cloth the chickens would eat it. The composting action of the nitrogen and wood chips along with the body heat of the chickens may help keep it growing late into the fall with artificial lighting.

Stocking rates would also have an effect on it.

It may also have to be a combination of the deep litter method with raising the floor up once a month or so.

Anyone try this or think it may work?
I have a light in the coop that would probably be enough for low light plants like broccoli or lettuce. Probably not corn/sunflowers.
Eventually, you would have to maintain and clean that mess. I can imagine loads of chicken crap on top of the wire. Not to mention the crap piled up around those, whatever they are, dead plants. And, how would you clean that? That sounds like a bad idea from the jump. Either have a chicken coop, or a greenhouse, pick one.
I have a small "grazing box" in my run. As you mentioned, it's a raised bed with 1/2" hardware cloth over the top. I plant various grasses in it throughout the season. I wouldn't do it over the entire floor as that would hurt their feet, but a small section is great. When it gets poopy I just hose it down and it waters the grasses. I'm not sure how veggies would do...

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