You have to be really cautious when listening to Paul Gautchi. He is sharing how he did it, but as we try to memorize to we erase the most important part, details. His way of telling is so pastoral and spiritual, it was very hard for me to understand his thinking.
A basic example can be seen is Justin Rhodes video that put online today. Here is the link:Vlog: "Blood in the Milk"
His problem is that he did put 8 inches of woodchips around his fruit trees and he thinks this should have stopped weeds from emerging. It should have stopped and killed all grass underneath. He seems puzzled. I am just going to go ahead and presume he learned the 8-inch trick from Paul Gautchi during his family's Great American Farm Tour, or maybe he already knew it but seeing it works made him implement it in his farm. The detail is "8 inches of wood chips in the fall
". From what I understood from videos available Paul puts all new material in the fall (same as God does as he puts it). The grass is dormant, waiting for the winter to pass. Winter drains its stored energy and so it wont be able to push through in the spring. Some might, but most will perish. Justin, on the other hand, put woodchips just recently. Weeds being benefited with limited winter sun were already ready to go with full energy. Another important detail is that, you have to mow the grass very low before you put woodchips over it.
In his tour he summarizes his method as "put wood chips over grass". His method is actually simple, nevertheless this sentence is "simpler". It lacks details. If your soil is hungry (as Paul puts it), it will take years for it to work as good as Paul's. He actually says it numerous times. Here is an anecdote from Justins's visits:
Justin: Last year we planted into it. The stuff came up slow and yellow. What we end up having to do, based on local gardener suggestion, put bone meal around it and what else did we put Rebecca?
Rebecca: Lime and bone meal
Paul Gautchi: Soil was weak. You see prior to you coming had been depleted. So it had to be fed. At starting at it was hungry and so it is very common. But you will find next year (the results by) adding bone meal and the thing. To me, it is so simple. The ground was Hungry. It was deprived. When I planted these trees it took seven years before I had fruit because the ground was so deficient." Then he shows two year old fruit tree that is covered with fruits "It happened (so quickly) because the ground is no longer hungry"
So from what I understand, you need to bring in much needed nutrients initially, unless you accept to wait for almost a decade. Make a soil test, see what are depleted. Feed your plants with those for the first 4-5 years as they show deficiencies. As your soil gets healthier you won't need to supplements. You are already bringing in a massive amount of woodchips. Bringing in matials is equal to bringing in nutrients and covering soil is essential for a healthy soil.
About chicken composting system, I don't think he sees it as a composting process as I understand what is composting. I believe he sees them as shredders and top soil producers. Not compost. The nutrient impact of chickens is low compared to the browns entering the chicken-run. Here is how he puts his chicken run system:
Vegetable scraps and etc go into chicken run. Those broccoli plants, for me to have to chop that all up and break it up to compost that, there is a lot of work. What is awesome about chickens, you take everything there, they shred up to pieces homogonize into the soil and make amazing top soil for me. ..... I take it out to my garden. Soil inside the coop why it doesn't smell? The ratio is probably one part manure to 10000 parts organic material.
Obviously not all organic material is brown, but yeah.
He also tells that there is over 2 ft of top soil in the chicken run. He has so much that he is giving it for free. From that I understand is; this is not a deep bedding system. In deep bedding you clean it every year, there is no accumulation. The end material is usually a pre-/quasi compost. His chicken run is full with couple of year's material. It is more of a storage place for almost- top soil. Chickens keep it healthy and shred new materials. The nitrogen to turn wood chips into compost, and top soil mainly comes from decomposed woodchips not from chickens, because of the limited number of chickens compared to input. You can certainly use chickens as primary, but from what I see they are secondary components. He calls his chicken run as "soil manufacture plant". It is not a primarily composting process but an active reserve for soil that will be needed in the future.
He is certainly one of many that imports huge amounts of materilas for healthy, fertile soil. Charles Dowling does similar with compost (you can check his composting process) and Ruth Stout with hay.
He perfected it clearly and thanks Justin for bringing us to the journey.
These might be helpful: