we're kind of focused on other projects at the moment... so our own setup has been reduced down to a more temporary setup utilizing a tractor.
but I thought I'd mention one of my friends' solution for nighttime predators; a method she calls da do run (ron) run (ron) -- she has an extra run around her chickens -- initially she had guineas but she didn't get along with them and would rather her pasture dogs stay near the goats and cattle than run back to towards the house to see whatever mouse fart set them off. So, she then set a couple barn cats in it -they come to feed at night, so she pens them up like her other dogs now, the cas mostly live in it now - but she did have to create some shelters and a couple 'trees' to encourage them to explore and stay along the parameter a bit more. And outside of that a run for the house dogs (well, really it's just more of a fenced in space of the house's yard.. the cats seem to do better with a narrower space and it is enclosed at the top. the dog's fence does have an outer gate but all the runs attached to a large shed (small barn) - two doors to the cats, two doors to the dogs, one door to the chicken yard (she rotates within their access to different parts of the yard and they've got a house in the center) one door to the outside and a sliding door blocking the dogs & cats door from her chicken room (incubation, medical, storage) and the chicken's yard door.
the costs are impractical when she primarily uses the chickens just for her family's needs. It became her 'mission' .. honestly, for a while I thought she was going to open up a squirrel farm as every few weeks she'd gift me with a package of squirrel meat. She wasn't much of a hunting person, nor a cat person, but that changed pretty quick. The squirrels had no fear, she calls them furry cockroaches. While most of the other predators were more of a seasonal... which a floodlight was enough to drive most of them off. she also pitches up a picnic umbrella in the summer. She didnt seem to have problems with hawks or owls, but if nothing else they get a little extra shade.
I'm thinking I might try a more budget friendly version when we get our shit together... but out here, this season, we've had more problems with armadillos than anything...
How to have fresh eggs without the following problems with our Chicken Sanctuary System:
Never clean the chicken Dome\Cube coop – if one person moves the Dome weekly
Healthiest eggs by providing the chicken a Free Range Diet – if one person moves the Dome weekly
Day time protection from Chicken Hawks, Eagles, and the neighbor’s dog
No waste or no rodent problems with our special feeders
Do not have to feed chickens everyday with our large capacity (100 lbs) and rain proof feeder
Automatic chicken watering system – from our rain harvesting system
No having to open the chicken door in the mornings
Likewise, no closing the chicken door at night
Night time protection from raccoons, coyotes, weasels and other predators
Design the chicken roosting area (cube) to look like a Favorite Barn, Rubik’s Cube, Chicken Hotel etc.
The Chicken Sanctuary Package consist of following:
No Waste Rodent Free Chicken Feeder - Fifteen Gallon (15) Feed Storage Barrel–it can feed chickens for 4 weeks
Rain Proof Roll Away Eggs Nests
Automatic Opener and Closer for Chicken Cube Door - 110 volts – Solar
It is 9.5 feet wide and 5 feet high with 71 square feet of run and free range natural diet area. The dome is light and can be moved comfortably by one person because is made out of pvc pipe and covered with deer netting. It can house up to six (6) chickens.
The Dome is composed of long, curving struts which crisscross and are anchored to a base. The Dome with its deer netting covering is not meant to protect the chickens from night time predators: like raccoons, coyotes or weasels, but from chicken hawks, eagles or the neighbor’s dog. At night the chickens roost in the Cube, with its solid plastic walls, it protects the chickens from night time predators
Moving the Dome
By moving the Dome, the chicken run area never has to be cleaned and the chickens have a Free Range Diet. The chicken poop just fertilizer the ground under the Dome.
The Cube contains all the feeding, roosting, and egg laying systems.
It is a 4’ X 4’ X 4’ solid plastic walled cube. The plastic bottom floor is replaced with a wire floor. This is in order that the chickens waste will fall on the ground instead the cube’s floor.
There is a bucket inserted sidewise into the Cube for eggs laying with a black rain proof screw off lid.
The cube has a opening in the top for ventilation.
The Chicken Feeder
A No Waste Chicken Feeder is placed outside at end of the Cube. It is elevated to a comfortable height for the chickens to eat. This feeder completely eliminates mess, waste, and provide clean and poop free feed for the chickens.
It can hold up to a 100lbs of Chicken Feed and it is rain proof and rodent proof.
As the Dome and Cube are moved, the Feeder can be moved by sliding it on its rails.
So This is where one would post a response to your article comparing various ways of raising chickens?
This is nit-picky... but you say that Salatin's broiler pens as described in his book (Presumably _Pastured Poultry Profits) are 10x20 and they are actually 10x12.
I don't think it's fair to say that Cornish cross aren't interested in bugs. They are less intelligent and have more trouble catching them, and they are also very interested in the feed trough, but they definitely catch bugs.
I got a 100% survival rate with a batch of 53 Cornish X one year. I *think* that what happened is this... I got the chicks from a different hatchery than I usually did and they were just listed as "cornish cross" not "jumbo cornish cross" which is what I normally get, so I think the genetics vary significantly from one hatchery to another. They took forever to gain weight though, and I was experimenting with using squash as part of their fermented feed. I used a third hatchery this spring and just slaughtered birds that dressed out in the 6-8lb range. No heart attacks or leg problems, but lots of chicks that just keeled over during the first 10 days or so.
The big birds appeal to me because you get a lot more meat per bird slaughtered, and slaughtering yourself is a lot of work and I'm doing it with an infant on my back now... so... BUT I've noticed that the big birds get really dirty, which is not what Salatin describes, and your article made me think I probably need to move them more often and/or not grow them out as big.
Which leads me to another point... You don't distinguish between vegetation eaten and vegetation killed. I'm not trying to clear ground with my Salatin-style broiler pens, but I do notice that the birds trample or burry what they don't eat, and I'm not sure why they would eat toxic plants if their feeders were kept full?
I hope this doesn't put me in the "bashing" category for feedback. I really appreciated your ability to weigh pros and cons, and thought it was over-all a great article. I'm working on establishing a paddock system for my pullets, and establishing lots of food plants for them
Location: Port Elizabeth, South Africa (34 degrees south)
posted 9 months ago
I sometimes like to say that "Architecture is where building meets consciousness."
The great Roman Architect Vitruvious speaks of Architecture comprising 'Firmness, Commodity and Delight".
We look at this delightful little chicken coop/ Rabbit Hutch combination at Pebblespring farm and share the very real and universal architectural design principles that guided its construction and can be applied to small projects like this and much bigger ones.
I went to see it and was very impressed how the place incorporates the needs of all 3 species. A combination of permanent and temporary fences are a critical element of the design, to avoid the chickens trashing the wrong plants at the wrong time, and to avoid the poop on the doorste dilemma Paul mentions in the second post.
If you go to the Diploma tab on the website you find a much more detailed document about the forage system
Forest Gardening in Practice: The first comprehensive review of temperate forest gardens. Case studies of private, community and commercial sites. Order from https://reallifeforestgardens.com/book