I remember when I was growing up and we had rabbits in a chicken-coop. They had both space indoors to keep warm and outside, with the outside area only surrounded by chicken wire. They were of course awesome rabbits and so very cuddly, but not really necessary for anything other than petting. There were no eggs, and actually lacking a bit in any recognisable personality too. They didn’t even want to stay put in their coop we made for them, and often they would dig their way out and we would have to chase them through our garden. They probably didn’t know much about the badgers living in the woods nearby, judging by their carelessness, until that one unfortunate day…
It’s not the same with chickens though. We had those too, in the same coop (but not at the same time). I don’t think they had (have) the brain-capacity to figure out how to dig themselves out, or it might just be because of their limited anatomy. No matter, we let them roam around our yard free instead – during daytime only of course. We had a rooster too, and as many roosters before and after him; he was absolutely crazy. Mad as hatter! Some times it even was so bad that visitors had to kick him away and run for the entrance because he would attack their legs so furiously it would actually start bleeding. But this article is neither about blood or roosters, its about chickens.
The chickens, and their awesome power of gobbling up everything we don’t want in our garden (and some of the stuff we actually do want) and simultaneously preparing the soil for optimal growing conditions. The even fertilise it while they are there, and it turns out that they can even be trained to eat slugs! How sweet! I thought I needed geese or ducks for that..? Still, chickens can eat them. Its just a matter of feeding them smaller bits as first (using scissors). Nice!
Anyway, chickens are awesome (I really mean that). But we don’t necessarily want them roaming around freely like we did. It was a bit unmanageable, even without the rooster. So, how can we get the best of both worlds? With a moveable coop, it seems. And a “chicken tractor” does just that. You could even design your own tunnelling system for your chickens, but this probably requires a bit more planning before starting. It is possible though, and actually what inspired me to write all this.
The main reason why I think that using the tunnel system instead of the tractor is better is because of how simple the required structure is. No need for a sturdy framework or complicated doors. A few sticks of wood and some chicken wire would work just fine. And then some metal wire to connect it everywhere. Just make sure the chickens don’t fit through any of the openings; they really can be quite stubborn and will try to squeeze through the most ridiculously narrow spaces. So tighten it up properly so they don’t go running. During the night you should keep them indoors though, the badger wont have much problem getting in. The carnage it will leave is better left to the imagination…
This chicken tunnel does require some additional work when you want your chickens to change areas. But not that much if you planned it properly, and if you have long tunnels it would be well worth it if compared to the chicken tractor. Be creative when planning how to cover your garden beds with the lowest amount of work and materials. Maybe you should make a main “hallway” with a few exits placed in front of each area. Then you can connect additional tunnels to these. Run pathways of this main “hallway” between the garden-spots (and their indoors/night-area) if you need them to prepare multiple areas at once. This way you can probably cover your entire garden without much hassle.
Thank you for reading this simple article about chickens!
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