The chickens are an important part of a permaculture garden. We have to keep our hens fenced in or the dogs chase them and as we are in the middle of fields by woodland foxes can be a problem. So we have come up with our movable chicken fence – this enables us to move the girls around quite easily giving them a new area every few weeks and letting us use them as part of the cultivation of the garden. In the Spring they were under the fruit trees to peck up the larvae which would have an eye in the fruit later if they were left alone. In the winter we will put them on the beds so they can dig around and add a bit of manure – and of course when we clean out their coop it all goes on the compost.
It takes us about 45 minutes to do the move.
First we put a run in place and open up the poullailler (hen house) -the girls exit into the run and we then block off the end. Then we start to undo the fencing panels and move the poulailler – it’s on wheels so rolls along merrily.The posts are repositioned (don’t need to be too deep) and the fencing panels tied on with string.
When the fence posts and panels are in place we move the hens inside the run – slow and steady – we want hens in the run not on the run! The girls are excited by all the untouched grass so they want to stop and eat.
Then we finish off with the gate and some shading and the girls are happy in their new campsite. 4 year old Henry who is staying in our holiday gite was very excited by the hen moving exercise and had lots of ideas to help us!
Not many hens have a room with such a view!