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herding chickens with a stationary coop

 
pollinator
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We have a two-acre sloped area in which we're planning to run chickens (first) then goats. While scouring the interwebs for the perfect 10-15 chicken coop plan, I'm thinking about how to move them around our two-acre fenced area so that they are somewhat contained and protected while still getting to free-range and weed/pest control/fertilize for us. Any ideas for some kind of lightweight contraption that could sit up against the coop chicken exit door and then deliver the chickens to an area with temporary electric fencing?  It's got to be fairly agile, as we have slope as well as uneven ground to contend with.
 
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I am setting up a “holding pen” outside the coop to deal with this problem -it’ll be a ~3x6metre deep litter area with permanent fencing- then I will run 4 or 5 electric fencing “petals” off the main coop so that my 22 chooks can graze one area at a time.  Access to the paddocks will be through tidy little doors if all goes to plan, and through a bottomless 5 gallon bucket wedged under the fence if, as usual, reality gets in the way!
 
gardener
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If I understand your plan, you want the birds to exit the coop into a different area where you can move them to their grazing area for the day?
Would a large dog kennel work?
 
Erica Colmenares
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I like this idea - love the image of "petals." Since our only flat area is at the edge of the parcel, I'm not sure something similar will work for us, but I'm going to think on it. Thanks, Julia.
 
Erica Colmenares
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Stacie Kim wrote:If I understand your plan, you want the birds to exit the coop into a different area where you can move them to their grazing area for the day?
Would a large dog kennel work?



Yes, that's exactly it, and yes, it seems like a dog kennel could work! The chicken door or ramp out of the coop would have to join securely with the kennel in some fashion, to keep the chickens from escaping on either side. Oh, and then there's the problem of getting them to return to the kennel ... grain bribery?
 
pollinator
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Our mixed flock of somewhat flighty chickens will happily go from their run to their tractor with just a little cup of corn as an inducement.  No need to fence their path:  they go straight in to where they see us sprinkle the corn.  Going back to the run is just as simple.  We trained ours to come when called;  they know "chick chick chick" means come get treats.
 
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hey erica

As someone who has fed goats for 3 or so years now. I have tried to feed them everything imaginable on this property. The one biggest thing which will turn a goat off is dirty/soiled grass/shrub and obviously poop.

My suggestion would be to run the goats first as they will be the picky ones who will want it to be all clean. The chickens might make some areas dirty/poopy which will keep goats from eating the browse.

I am not sure what your timeline is for the goats going onto the area.  If it was a year or so after the chickens were in the area it might work fine.


The other thing is the chickens can search through the goat poop and pick out bugs and whatnot who are enjoying the goat poop. Good luck getting a goat to pick though chicken poop lol
 
Erica Colmenares
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G Freden wrote:Our mixed flock of somewhat flighty chickens will happily go from their run to their tractor with just a little cup of corn as an inducement.  No need to fence their path:  they go straight in to where they see us sprinkle the corn.  Going back to the run is just as simple.  We trained ours to come when called;  they know "chick chick chick" means come get treats.



Of course - that's a great idea!


jordan barton wrote:I am not sure what your timeline is for the goats going onto the area.  If it was a year or so after the chickens were in the area it might work fine.

We're actually getting the goats later, as in we'll start with chickens, figure that out, then add goats. It's good to know that the goats will want access to the area first. Thanks!
 
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If you want the chickens to be able to go back to their coop at will during the day, our friend's solution was a "chicken tunnel". They had sections of light fencing supported by metal hoops which they pushed into the ground. They used as many sections as needed to cover the open area from the coop to the run in use. They had issues with aerial predators, and the "chunnel" protected the girls as well. Since the sections were portable, they just pulled them up and realigned them to a new paddock area.
 
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