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Greenhouse Non-Chicken Poultry?

 
John Kitsteiner
Posts: 38
Location: East Tennessee
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I have thought for some time about incorporating birds into a greenhouse.  I know it has been done a lot with smaller "pet" birds (finches, parakeets, etc.), but is anyone doing it with pigeons or doves or quail or any other smaller "food" birds?

I know there are some people who share a chicken coop with a greenhouse, though they are not free ranging through the greenhouse.  I don't want to do that anyway, I would prefer to free-range my chickens outside.  Larger birds could cause a lot of damage in a greenhouse, so that is why I was thinking about the smaller birds. 

Plus squab and quail eggs are delicious!

I would love any thoughts or opinions and especially first hand knowledge.

Thanks!
Doc K

 
                                
Posts: 62
Location: Western Pennsylvania
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Ooooohhh, this isn't something I have done first hand, sort of, but this is something I have always thought about. 

Some years ago I bought a greenhouse kit.  Aluminum frame with corrugated panels, 10x12 (i think).  So, the next year I bought my largest amount of peeps (4 and I set them up on one side of the greenhouse.  My thought was that I would raise them in the greenhouse, separate from the other chickens and then transfer them to a new coop with all the others.  Well, they ended up living a whole year, even a winter in the greenhouse, and we ended up moving, so they came to the new house and a new coop.

But, I did keep good track of the temperature inside the greenhouse while they were living there and even when the winter winds were blowing the inside temp never fell below freezing, in fact the coldest was in the upper 30's to 40's.  Without the chickens the greenhouse would be a few degrees different then the outside temps, but once the outside temp fell below 20 the greenhouse was the same inside and out.

So, I came up with this great idea.  Put a hoophouse type greenhouse into the garden, at least 6-feet high so walking inside isn't a problem.  Then wire off a section on one end and put in chickens through the winter, probably some boys from the last years hatch or even some late in the summer rooster orders from a hatchery.  Then you have chicken to eat through the winter, with most of them being harvested in the spring when the weather improves AND the presence of the chickens keeps the temperature of the greenhouse able to grow cold crops through the winter.

Needless to say this never happened, but I did learn that it would be possible with a hearty winter breed in my climate (western pa) based on my flock in a greenhouse kit.  My girls stick close to home in the winter, so I wouldn't do this in the summer heat, but for winter it would work because the chickens are less likely to mind being cooped up in the bad weather and their presence helps with the temperature in the cold. 

Since quail are much smaller, I would think it would work, but you may need more birds.

Tami
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 488
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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I lived briefly in a community that kept chickens in a greenhouse, and that experience left me with concerns. 

We could grow lettuce and other cool weather greens during most of the winter. However, the chickens scratching in their run in the greenhouse raised a lot of fine dust that settled everywhere in the enclosed space, including on the greens. Of course, we washed the greens, but as time went on, I found myself less and less inclined to eat food that I knew had had fine particles of chicken poop sitting on it. I also knew that every time I walked in the greenhouse, I was breathing in a lot of the aforesaid chicken poop...

In Solviva, Anna Edey divided the greenhouse, so that the dust contamination would be much less than what occurred in this greenhouse.
 
T. Pierce
Posts: 254
Location: Virginia
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i aggree with the dust issue. pigeons can  be nasty and quail can be quite crazy,,,,,  but if your really liking the idea of birds in the greenhouse.  have you ever considered something small like old english game bantams.   or even smaller. like the dutch or smallest of the small,,,,,seramas?

all would lay eggs,  and all have a nice amount of meat on them esp. for their lil size.
 
Brice Moss
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
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guinea fowl don't scratch and have no interest in your veggies, keeping them in a greenhouse would eliminate the problem of finding the little buggers at harvest time (they also don't coop up like chickens do at night)

http://www.guineafowl.com/fritsfarm/guineas/
 
Tyler Ludens
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Pie
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Guinea pigs. 
 
                  
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Bobwhite quail are pretty easy to get ahold of, that might work.  Coturnix quail are the champeen layers, they can do up to 300 a year.  They disturb things much less than chickens.  But as T. Pierce mentioned, there are very small chickens, too.  Seramas are tricky to casually purchase.  Seabrights are very small too- there's quite a few breeds of chunky-pigeon sized chickens.  But they will all scratch and eat your lettuce
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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I've thought about ducks on the greenhouse floor, with all the plants up in growing beds too high for the ducks to reach.  Not too sure the clean-up would be worth it, though.  Having all the legs for the grow beds in the way would make cleaning up bedding harder than it is already.

Kathleen
 
jacque greenleaf
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Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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Kathleen, I think ducks would work pretty well in a decent-sized greenhouse. The biggest issue would be whether you offered them water for bathing and how you would handle the resulting mud puddle. In this regard, muscovies would be better than the regular mallard-derived domestic ducks. They would be even less inclined to fly up to the garden beds, and they don't need to bathe their noses frequently the way the mallards do.

Muscovies are meat birds, they do lay eggs, but are not as productive as egg-laying breeds of ducks.

You wouldn't need to provide much, if any, bedding for muscovies. They are fine on bare ground. Or you could make some sandbox like structures to contain sawdust for them to rest in. I would provide something like half-barrels for them to shelter under, their natural proclivity is to hide and brood in thickets and brush piles.

 
Kathleen Sanderson
Posts: 985
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
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Right now my ducks have a big black rubber pan (meant for hog feeding pans, I think) for water in each of their chicken tractors.  Three ducks per tractor, and it seems to be working very well.  They can't swim, of course, but they do get in and splash around.  I move the cages to fresh ground every day, though.  In a greenhouse, I'd have to figure out something else -- maybe have the water pans up on a slatted decking.  I have 'mallard' type ducks, as I mostly have them for eggs, but I would like to try Muscovies too, someday.  I think they would work well on the ground under an aquaponics system (not really permaculture, I know, but in some climates you have to do something a little different to get fresh vegetables over a longer season), especially if the floor of the greenhouse was planted especially for the ducks, and maybe some of the stuff being grown was also for them.

Kathleen
 
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