John Silveira vs. The Chicken Moat

Bernard P. Fife

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jan 8, 2012
With the weather being so wonderful here in Alabama (blah), it's got me in the mood to start planning my garden and how I want to set up the chicken run in relation to the garden. I have seen several posts discussing John Silveira's idea and some posts discussing the chicken moat idea, but I was wondering which one yall thought was the better of the two? I think both are great ideas and I see benefits to each and I see drawbacks to each. I've posted the links to each one for those that might not be as familiar with the two ideas. What do you think?

The Chicken Moat:

John Silveira's fenced chicken coop/garden:
I personally like John Silveira's garden/coop, only because you could use the advantage of the chicken manure as compost and swap garden sides every year. I think the moat would be a lot of work! LOL. Lots of fencing in the moat!

edited to remove the reference to chickens falling in the water. I didn't read far enough in the article. LOL
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It's not a real moat. It's a fenced section surrounding the fenced garden. The "moat" is the chicken's area.The link I provided gives a good description.
It's not a real moat. It's a fenced section surrounding the fenced garden. The "moat" is the chicken's area.The link I provided gives a good description.
We have a version of a moat, the garden is fenced off in the center of a much bigger area/orchard that the chickens patrol.

Our garden is terraced and we rotate that way. I would love to say the hens stay out, but a couple tend to figure out how to fly over the fencing, only 4' tall.

Of the plans that have a narrow moat, I think that is not as good as the two sides version
ours works because we had to carve it out of an orchard and the chickens have much more space that they can range in than the parts they can't

And the chickens help us turn the compost pile too
Interesting points! One of my drawbacks on the moat idea is the smaller area for them to range, but it is also a plus in that it I feel perhaps it's easier to defend from an aerial attack. My two biggest drawbacks with Silveira's method is how to protect that much area from above and that it takes up more yard than the moat idea (the dimensions I was figuring).
I am going with the John Silveira's plan myself, but I am living on a fairly large piece of land. I think you really have to look at your space and finances to determine which is best for you. As for how I am going to handle aerial attacks (hawks and owls) right now my run has chicken wire and recycled feild fencing on top of it. When I grow that space this year, I'm going to use some bird netting. Not sure how I will like it, its much lighter weight than than chicken wire, but it does have a decent price and will cover the space I need it to.
So you've already started implementing the Silveira plan? How big is your fenced garden area? I'm with you on the bird netting and the price. Amazon has some listed on their site. It's 14ft x 45ft for $16.47 and 28ft x 28ft size for $21.49 AND it''s made in the USA (a huge plus to me!).
Burney - I have to say that I will be looking at going with the Silveira's coop/garden. It seems like the perfect setup for my area. It doesn't look as if it would be too difficult to construct and I like the way each "section" in the coop/garden feeds off the other sections. Will keep you posted on how it is going whenever I find the time to begin working on it. Thanks for bringing these ideas to the table!

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