Need some expert advice for my chicken moat

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by harriedhomemaker, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. harriedhomemaker

    harriedhomemaker Songster

    Jul 26, 2011
    The Hubster and I are in the process of building a chicken moat around our garden. We're getting the chickens in the spring and we're trying to get everything set up in advance.

    Here's a link to my blog that shows the plan:

    Chicken Moat Plan

    You can see that the chickens can't make a complete circuit around the garden - the gate from the outside into the garden cuts it off. Do you think that our hypothetical chickens will get confused and be unable to find their way back to the coop? Being a complete novice to chickens, I have no clue!


  2. mestaske

    mestaske In the Brooder

    Feb 14, 2011
    Southern Colorado
    Looks cool. I do not think that they will get confused. As long as they know when are where they are fed they will be there. Plus they tend to venture out slowly, at least in my case. Mine at first only went a few feet from the coop and now they come to my garden and in my nice lawn and over to the apple trees... But they are always back inside by the time that the sun goes down.
  3. Pharm Girl

    Pharm Girl Songster

    Jan 6, 2011
    My sister has a similar set up in her yard. Once they know where the coop is, they all make it back just fine.
  4. AZWhiteKnight

    AZWhiteKnight In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2011
    I take it that this is an effort to deter pests? I had considered doing something similar. My first garden was devastated by ground squirrels last year, so I made my garden fortress this year to address the issue. And it has for the most part. However, I am still thinking of expanding the run to include an uncovered area that encompasses the garden. While I would love to see the chickens keep the ground squirrels out, I'd hate to see a decrease in the insect helpers that pollinate it. A double edged sword I guess...
  5. harriedhomemaker

    harriedhomemaker Songster

    Jul 26, 2011
    Thanks, y'all. We were going to make some sort of chicken underpass/bridge combo, but if they can figure it out on their own, so much the better.

    AZWhiteKnight - Yes, chicken moats are supposed to really cut down on weed and pest problems. We got the original idea from this, though I have seen a few members here on BYC that also have one.
  6. turtlewomyn

    turtlewomyn In the Brooder

    Aug 27, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    That looks cool. I had seen something similar in a MEN issue once I think. They did have some sort of underground passage for the chickens at the gate. I wish I had room for something like that.
  7. Kassaundra

    Kassaundra Sonic screwdrivers are cool!

    Sep 1, 2010
    That is my big plan this winter also to build a chicken moat. ( I also got the idea from that article) I already garden w/ chickens in a rotating garden/run plan. Each coop is surrounded by smaller gardens that the chickens are allowed access to or denied access to depending on if that garden is growing or in clean up stage.

    I think your chickens will have issues w/ the gate (sorry to be the descenting voice). I think they will see their coop straight ahead and bunch up at that dead end trying to get back to the coop they can see, not think about going in the opposite direction to get back "home". At least that is my limited experience w/ chickens (we have only had them for a year).

    I went back and looked at your pics and drawing again, and realize the chickens won't be able to see the coop from the dead end. So maybe they will get used to it.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2011

  8. harriedhomemaker

    harriedhomemaker Songster

    Jul 26, 2011
    Quote:Yes, the underground tunnel is our backup plan. Our soil is so incredibly hard that we are hoping to avoid that, but I guess we shall see!
  9. harriedhomemaker

    harriedhomemaker Songster

    Jul 26, 2011
    Quote:Thanks for your perspective!
  10. owler

    owler In the Brooder

    Jan 11, 2010
    Northen NJ
    I have had my moat up and runnin all year. What I did differently is to make the entrance to the garden gated on both the inside and the outside. If I need to keep the gates open I have light weight gates to block the run like you have set permanently. This way I can let them into the garden in the off season when I want to.

    When I have the runs blocked off so I can move in and out of the garden easily they have no problem getting back to the coop. However, when I have the garden open for them to use the hens seem to be struggling to figure out how to get back to the coop to lay during the day and get quite agitated. I just started doing this when I am home on the weekends and I am sure they will eventually figure it out.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2011

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