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chicken moat

 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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Has anyone tried this? It might be the answer to a couple of challenges for me, but I'd like to hear from someone who has done it before starting.

 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
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Location: Western Washington
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All I can say is that my chickens ignore the ditches on the side of the road like champs
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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A chicken moat is an enclosed chicken run around a garden. It's supposed to cut down on insects and weed encroachment while also keeping the chickens from destroying the garden. I'm thinking especially about the dreaded deer ticks that made us all very sick this past summer.

Having Ehrlichiosis, an unpleasant tick borne disease that causes both pain and mental confusion, was the first thing that ever had me considering throwing in the towel. And I've had Lyme disease.

Chicken moat is an interesting kind of edge
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1304
Location: Central New Jersey
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I have not tried it. I have watched with fascination a youtube video about a fellow who has his chooks set up with a veritable maze of wire runs that lets him send them to all sorts of areas around and through his garden. He seemed very satisfied with how it worked and it certainly looked like an ingenious set up.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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I like the idea of having the chickens nearby while I'm gardening too, so I can toss them snails and squash bugs. It would also be handy to get them safely to and from a paddock that is not adjacent to the coop
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Ah, I was envisioning an actual moat to keep them in or out, but it's figurative. Thank goodness!
With the tick thing, I suppose there'd have to be a continuous, er, ring of chickens and you couldn't rotate the 'moat', right?
So I'm thinking that in this instance, what are generally considered standard coop-and-run weaknesses like the continual occupation, would actually be part of the design?
I like the idea that at the end of the season the system is turned inside-out and the previously protected garden becomes the run!
Peter Ellis wrote: I have watched with fascination a youtube video about a fellow who has his chooks set up with a veritable maze of wire runs that lets him send them to all sorts of areas around and through his garden

Me too
Waaay too much work for me, but I can imagine a modified version where there could be closeable openings adjacent to garden beds,
a dome could be plonked there and the chickens could access an empty garden bed.
 
wayne stephen
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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If you had access to enough mulch you could deep mulch the run . Old hay , leaves , bedding etc. Let the birds scratch and do their composting acceleration thing . You could then gather this into the garden . I saw a design on Backyardchicken.com where a women had her garden on slope . At the bottom of the slope at the base of the garden was the coop . The run was bare on the two sides . At the top of the garden was a long compost pile within the run . She then just tossed her compost over the fence into the garden . You could utilize the entire run for compost and let the birds into the garden for their greens . The coop bedding could then go uphill to the garden . As a bonus the double spaced fence is tops for keeping deer out . They will not attempt to jump between fences three feet apart , even short ones { Thats the theory anyways }
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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Yes! That is a good part, the deer bit.

I am envisioning the moat as a long ring shaped paddock itself, sort of. You've given me an idea, Leila, the outside fence could be the permanent tall one and the inside one could be just for summer

That way the chickens could have freedom in the garden in the winter and the deer would also be kept out in the summer.

I love the idea of truly free range but I don't like the poop on the deck where we eat 5-6 months of the year, and predator pressure is very high here. Every flock of chickens I've had before this has been eaten before the winter was through, and I've had a few. This one I've kept alive through a lot of diligence and supervision so far, and I have high hopes for the spring.

I've been trying different methods of encouraging worm and bug treats for the chicken. Boards, feed bags, stones, piles of mulch and compost, all of these work, and they could be put in the moat to be flipped over to encourage the chickens to run in and poke around.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Matu Collins wrote:the outside fence could be the permanent tall one and the inside one could be just for summer.
That way the chickens could have freedom in the garden in the winter and the deer would also be kept out in the summer.

Alternatively, have both fences permanent and shut the chickens out of the moat, but in the fallow garden, so the moat has a chance to recover a bit between bouts of chickens.
But if you did remove the inner fence, it'd be really easy to
wayne stephen wrote: deep mulch the run... Let the birds scratch and do their composting acceleration thing . You could then gather this into the garden

The gazillion stacked functions are sounding especially cool...protect chickens from predators, garden from chickens, deer, bugs and whatever other critters, people from ticks...
That's just some of the 'protection' bit!
 
wayne stephen
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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If the outer fence was electric poultry net and the coop was movable then the moat could be a stop in your paddock shift. You would only need it around the garden for the season . Fall , winter , and early spring the birds could still be incorporated into the rest of the system. I think we are on to something .
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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