In May I found a large roll of new chain linked fencing at a garage sale for $5. I was overjoyed at this cheap find and was anxious to create a chicken run. In July my dad built a frame for the fencing and constructed the chicken run. The chickens loved their increased living space. It was amazing to watch them peck at the ground, feasting on greens and bugs. Within a week their run was completely dirt. This caused me to think that my chickens would do a fabulous job of "rooting" up my garden once the growing season was over.
I wanted a temporary fence to keep them in the confines of my yard. I live in town and completely free ranged chickens are kind of frowned upon. This is what I came up with:The orange "fencing" spans the width of the the garden. I still had beets and carrots to harvest in one of the garden boxes so I just blocked off the back third of the garden. I used twist ties to sturdy the fence against tomato cages, bean cages, and the wooden trellis that is attached to the middle garden box (the one that Cooper is next to). The sand table that's turned up on it's side (to the right of Cooper) wasn't used for holding up the fence but instead was keeping the kids from pulling down my temporary fencing.
|Red tub under nesting box holds clean bedding.|
I gently tossed the chickens into their new space hoping they'd tear into the weeds and turn up the dirt.
A couple hours later I went to check on them. The garden was not tilled up as I had expected it to be and the chickens had somehow "hopped over" the barriers to get back to their coop. I know chickens have the ability to fly but my hens had never attempted to fly out of their coop. I'm thinking they hopped onto the nesting box and back into their safe, secure home. Lack of time (and energy) has stopped me from trying this experiment again. Maybe in the spring they will be ready to work my garden for me.
Running a portion of the length of my chicken run is my strawberry bed. Since I'm still waiting for my strawberries to take over this bed, this summer I planted potatoes on the empty end.
My problem is that the kids and Cooper like to stomp through the strawberries to look at the chickens. As I was cleaning the garden and debating a solution to the problem, I realized that I had a bunch of tomato cages that would be much more helpful protecting the strawberries rather than taking up storage space in the garage over the winter. TADA! It works!
As I cleaned out the chicken coop I tossed the soiled bedding onto the strawberries and other garden boxes. I love having my coop right next to my garden.