Location: Pennines, northern England, zone 7b, avg annual rainfall 50"
posted 7 years ago
hello this is my first post. just at stage of designing on paper a new market garden, inc chicken run.
there is a little stream running through the field, it is about 1' deep and the same across. it doesn't seem like it would be very accessible to the chickens as it is steep-sided so there is no beach for them to access it from. at the moment it is also hidden by very long grass but the chickens would eat that soon enough.
do i need to put the chicken run in a different part of the field or is the stream fine to be running through the run?
Personally I would not put the chicken run in the same area as the stream unless it is a very large field and the chickens won't disturb the vegetation along the stream. Generally you want to avoid putting animals near a stream because their activity can disturb important vegetation which protects the edges from erosion and if there are enough animals, run-off from their poop can pollute the stream. Best to leave a biggish buffer between an animal run and a stream.
I don't know if it's possible in your situation, but fresh water is a wonderful resource for animals, so maybe you could dig a ditch from the strean into your chicken pen - divert a bit of the water for them to drink while keeping them away from the original streambed.... your stream might be too small. Also, if your stream goes directly into say, a wooded area, the chicken poop would only be a positive addition to the water. They definitely will kill off anything growing along whatever part of the streambed you allow them access to, so bear that in mind. Not even shrubs will stand up to them.
Hope this helps,
Dirt-lovin' tree hugger type, with a few vices....
Keep in mind that chickens aren't real smart and they aren't good swimmers....1 ft. deep is just deep enough to drown a chicken if she cannot get out easily. Then there is the issue of flooding during rains...how much does it overflow and what soil/manure from the run will be washing into it? Neither prospect is desirable.
Not a good idea. The best idea was the ditching into a shallow reservoir for watering purposes but not to allow access to the stream itself.