In a previous post (Aquaponics-101-chicken-sht-and-swimming-pools), I documented an integrated chicken, fish and vegetable system which drew plenty of comment and scepticism. It entailed housing chickens above a Tilapia tank. Their droppings fell into the tank and were greedily eaten by the fish. The fish poop on the other hand provided valuable nutrients for Aquaponic vegetables in a closed loop system. While I was never comfortable with the hygienic elements of this system, the client, to the best of my knowledge, is still using it and hasn’t killed or poisoned anyone yet.
My circumstances having changed somewhat, I now find myself behind a computer terminal programming and my more agricultural pursuits have had to take place after work or over weekends. I also live alone in a small cottage on a wine farm and commute home to the Child Bride and Brat Deluxe in Knysna every 2nd weekend. This did not stop me immediately establishing a very productive little vegetable garden and recently my thoughts wandered back to chickens.
I am currently able to feed myself at least 3 days a week from my garden and the logic behind keeping chickens was to make myself even more self-sufficient. I have been a forum member of backyardchickens.com for a few years and I turned to this site for inspirations for a small chicken tractor (moveable coop) that could provide me with 3-4 eggs a day.
In my research I discovered that a laying hen produces an egg every 26 hours. I would thus need 4 hens and set about designing a coop to fit this bill. Ever on the lookout for integrated systems I also figured that 4 hens would also provide me with plenty of manure for my blossoming garden.
The coop would also have to be neat and well-constructed as I rent the cottage that I live in here in Paarl and try my best to keep my landlords happy. I wanted to design and build a piece of garden furniture and not some cobbled together creation of wood and wire.
This then is what I was aiming for, which I found at backyardchickens.com
The next couple of posts will document the build and my own interpretation of this design.
Enough for now