Would this idea of managing chickens be okay?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by karen33, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. karen33

    karen33 New Egg

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    Jan 25, 2009
    I have three raised vegetable beds. I was going to build a moveable home that fits over the beds and rotate their home between these 3 beds. Basically they will be living on soil which I hope they will scratch over and poop on so it will be ready for the next vegetable planting. We could also allow them to free-roam when we are home on the lawn or even put their home on the lawn if need be ie, all the vegetable beds are in use.

    We were going to get a silky bantam for my daughter - will it get too dirty if living on soil? Should I put wire on the bottom of their cage to stop them digging up lawn? Many thanks for any advice I can get!
     
  2. Chicken Boo

    Chicken Boo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I read somewhere, I wish I could remember where, that you needed to compost chicken poo for a year before you use it in the garden. The nitrogen content is so high it will burn the plants. Mine do go through the garden and leave some poo but most of their time is in the coop and free ranging in the rest of the yard. I compost the litter from the hen house and it is WONDERFUL for the garden.

    That said, if you were not going to use those plots until next year, it would probably be a great thing. However, if you put the chickens there for a few days, they will take care of all of your weeding for you before you start the garden.
     
  3. karen33

    karen33 New Egg

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    Thanks Chicken Boo. Maybe if I put some straw down - would that soak up most of their droppings? Then I could rake it up and put it on the compost heap (it is just a "cold" one so will sit there for ages probably). Hmmm, may be my idea won't work after all. I could not afford to wait a year to use the bed as I only have three! Thanks so much for your input.

    Would their droppings kill the lawn then if I placed them there instead?
    Would they scratch it all up so I would have to put wire on the bottom?
    Thanks again!
     
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    As long as the concentration isn't high, you can toss it on the beds no problem. A cup of droppings for a bush, won't kill it. Plaster the surface of the soil in droppings and you'll have a problem. A tractor for your bed would be good, but just keep the option open that you can put the tractor on the grass for some time. I usually let the chicken on the soil compost for three months before digging it up and planting directly. Of course though, if the poo is frozen for those three months, doesn't count!
     
  5. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    If you don't leave them there too long and mix it in well I don't see a problem. Too high of concentration will burn plants. It doesn't take anywhere near a year to compost any manure. More like 4-6months depending on your setup and for some uses it could be fine in a a month or 2. My plan though is to let them in the garden in the fall and then let it sit all winter before planting in spring. I started doing that with my first few bantams and my 10x10' herb garden last year. After I harvested the annuals I put mesh shelving panels around the more sensitive perennials and threw the bantams in there to dig the beds up and eat whatever was left. We'll see this year how things grow.
     
  6. karen33

    karen33 New Egg

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    Jan 25, 2009
    Thankyou lovely peoples. From what you have told me, I am thinking then that I might put them there for a maximum of 3 months before moving on to the next bed. I will put straw in their nesting box to mop up the droppings and put them on the compost heap rather than leave them in the bed to help reduce the amount of droppings left there. During those 3 months we could let them free roam the garden when we are home. Hope this sounds okay.
     

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