I've posted some info about our system on the general chat in this forum, but thought I'd start a specific discussion if that's ok. I get a bit lost in all the posts on different topics.
Basically, we've moved into a new rental and the owner wants us to do chooks & vegies etc. We're delighted, cuz it's what we've been wanting to do for ages. But we have very little idea of how to go about it.
The yard is an L-shape & we have to fit kids' play equipment in, too. There is a garage on the northern fence, but there is an area beside the garage with a fence on 2 sides & the garage wall on one side. The garage wall is on the eastern side, then fences on the northern and western sides (wish I could show you a plan!). My friend has suggested blocking this corner of the yard off for the permanent chook shed & a yard, with the shed near the western fence, set back from the northern fence so it gets plenty of northern sun, but is protected from the west. Sounds good.
I love the idea of free ranging them for part of the day but the yard's not 100% secure & we have a dog plus will hopefully have lots of veggies. Friends of ours have an AMAZING system that I'm thinking we might be able to adapt.
We could build it in stages, which would also feel less overwhelming.
The basic idea would be to have a permanent chook house (deep litter system?) up the back near the garage (as I said above) with a yard that they have access to all the time. (This would be the first thing we'd build.)
Then off from that, along the western fence in our yard, there would be a long skinny run (prob only about 1 metre or so wide). I've seen in a book that it's helpful to have straw on the ground in the run/yard, which you occasionally replace?
The final stage to add would be raised veggie beds alongside the run. It's hard to describe. Basically the run goes along the fence and then jutting out at right angles from the run would be the veggie beds, each about a metre or so apart for human access btw the beds for planting etc. When any bed has been harvested, you would allow the chooks access to that bed only (not sue how we'd do this - perhaps the fence on the run would need to have little gates you can open for chook access. But then you'd have to fence that bed when the chooks are in it. Perhaps a moveable cage thing that you could transfer to whichever bed the chooks are using?
It sounds pretty complex, hey. Our friends have done something similar but don't have the permanent chook house because they only have a couple of chooks (they just have a portable tractor the same size as the veggie beds, that sits on top of whichever bed is not being used). I think they've got 3 chooks. We're wanting to have about 6-8.
I'm not sure if we need the permanent system, or whether we could just use what our friends have (the tractor and the run).
Do I sound confused? Welcome to all ideas and suggestions!!
P.S. Our landlord will pay for materials & prob do the building, so it's not a problem to invest in a good system in that it will be at his expense & to his benefit after we leave.
P.P.S. Sorry this is so long!