Organic Garden and Chickens...My Coop/Run layout

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Ro-Ro-2, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. Ro-Ro-2

    Ro-Ro-2 Out Of The Brooder

    May 23, 2011
    I just built my 'open air' coop/run. for my 4 RIR chicks [hens] that I should be getting next week.. overall dimensions 12'x8'...seperated 3'x8' for the coop/shelter and 9'x8' for the run.
    Then, I made two organic garden in the front and one in the back of my coop/run and made doors so that they can easily access either garden as I wish.
    The front garden is 26'x12' organic veg garden and the back garden is 17'x12'.

    I collected used-wood destined for the local dump from a couple folks in town and tried to make something decent-looking and appealing...hehehe

    I'll post photos once my post count requirements are met...

    I've never had chickens before, nor do I know anything about having them free-range in an organic veg garden setting.

    I just thought it would be COOL for me and my 6 yr old daughter to enjoy them foraging in the garden and my wife able to cook
    our own FRESH eggs...yeehaw!!!

    Could you folks take me to school on the pros and cons...and anything I should be aware of please...[​IMG]

    How mature should my veggies be before I let these little girls I don't want them to DEVOUR my plants...LOL

    I'm hoping it's a win-win situation for both us and the hens as they get to eat the bugs, etc and we can have them composting our garden at the same time.

    And the coop itself has a 1/4" hardware cloth [screened] floor where all their poop will fall to the dirt floor beneath and make easy retrieval for me.

    Then, I will add it to my compost pile to use as fertilzer....

    Again, we're excited but everything else that lays ahead of us is new at this point...

    Help appreciated...

    Aloha to all.....

  2. gmendoza

    gmendoza Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2010
    Rock Hill,SC
    If you have them in your garden,they will eat it down to sticks......seriously.
  3. Patricia Jane

    Patricia Jane Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 28, 2010
    Petaluma CA
    If you let them into your garden they will literally distroy it. Chicken and gardens do not mix. All that would be left is dirt. If you want to give them something to eat, plant grass in plots. Someone posted on this forum and I tried it. It's great. I built a couple 4x4 garden boxes in their run, planted grass seeds and put wire tops on them so they couldn't eat it all the way down. Once the grass was tall enough they ate it. Keep it watered and it keeps growning. They love it. [​IMG]. Have fun and enjoy.
  4. Ro-Ro-2

    Ro-Ro-2 Out Of The Brooder

    May 23, 2011

    I feel STUPID....hahahahaha

    I thought that if I srictly controlled their foraging like say before sundown for just a half-hour or so say 3x a week once the veggies were quite mature it would be okay....

    I didn't intend to give them HEAVY access at all...but just time to get some R&R and grab a few special bugs and do maybe some light-weeding for us...[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Still not GOOD???

    I really appreciate all this info....[​IMG]
  5. catsew

    catsew Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 14, 2011
    I think its called a chicken moat. There was a thread on here recently about it. You put like a 3 foot wide spaced fence around the garden, like the chickens occupy the 3 feet in between 2 fences all the way around. And that's supposed to keep the bugs and weeds at bay.
  6. catsew

    catsew Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 14, 2011
    I only have 2 chicks right now and have only been giving them bits of supervised fenced outdoor time. We put the fence over part of the yard that is all weeds and rocks/sand since we eventually want it cleared. I figured with 2 their future run would never get cleared. In just half an hour they had a nice big section of the fence nicely cleared for us. They did an excellent job tilling up the soil and everything. They're only 4 weeks old too, so I can't even imagine what a flock of full grown chickens would do.
  7. Jerseycoop

    Jerseycoop Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2011
    New Jersey
    You may want to watch the chicken manure. Good for corn, tomatoes etc not too good for lettuce, herbs etc before it's properly composted. Good luck! [​IMG]
  8. sotelomary

    sotelomary Chillin' With My Peeps won't work. Chickens will eat everything! I thought my bamboo was safe. Not...I had to fence it off from their run. I keep an eye on it too because once a new stalk goes over that 2' fence into their run they devour it.

  9. Ro-Ro-2

    Ro-Ro-2 Out Of The Brooder

    May 23, 2011

    I better come up with PLAN B
    real quick!!!!

  10. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    In the ideal world, everything should work just so. [​IMG]

    Reality is the birds will pick everything bare in their captive area. "chicken salad bar" is great. My salad bar does not seem to grow because so soon as the pieces become reachable to the birds, they are picked off. They will eat some bugs but not others. They will not eat the ants that I have in abundance. They will poop messy, runny stuff attracting flies. They will take time off from laying eggs without notice or reason. Other words, they are much like live animals. [​IMG]

    Yet, somehow we love them.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by