Chicken yards can be either fixed or mobile. Vegetation is designed to provide shelter and provide forage both food and medicine. A range of fencing choices depends on predator risk and how you want your flock to work the land and the degree to which your are importing food vs. allowing your flock to gather their own.
Forage crops[edit | edit source]
Annuals: greens of all sorts, lambs quarters, amaranth, shoots of grain crops, sprouts. Planting can follow intensive foraging as chickens will leave bare ground. See annual polycultures for ideas.
Perennials: comfrey, grasses
Shelter[edit | edit source]
Give some areas with shade and others with sun.
Organization[edit | edit source]
A predator-proof coop and yard can be connected to a variety of foraging opportunities including some areas with seasonal crops, other areas with permanent pasture or meadow.
Fencing options[edit | edit source]
Permanant fencing can be buried or with a skirt laid on the ground toward the outside of the enclosure to keep out burrowing predators. Metal t-posts or wood can be used.
- Poultry wire - Good for keeping chickens in but not necessarily for keeping predators out.
- Wire mesh - soldered wire mesh, more expensive than field fence but
- Field fence The most economical galvanized wire fencing available? - around $120USD for 330' only available in limited heights (2007)
- Living fence - Slow to establish. needs full sun to become dense? Does not require
Moveable fencing can be either moved daily as with chicken tractors, or moved less frequently perhaps between a fixed post system (as with livestock panels), or moved infrequently. 1/2 inch or 5/8 inch rebar makes a reasonable temporary fence ppost that is easy to move.
- Livestock Panels - Livestock panels are durable and rigid gavanized mesh that can be wired together. cost is approx. $30 per 16 foot panel. Due to their rigidity, they can be made freestanding, or require fewer posts.
- Electric mesh - Some systems advertised in chicken magazines.
- Electric line - can be added at the base of a fence that is otherwise not predator-proof.
- Chicken tractors - a small mobile box of chicken wire that can be moved around , doesn't work well on uneven terrain. Focusses chicken work on a small area. Can be sized to fit standard bed sizes in annual gardens*
- Plastic deer fence - plastic mesh, $60 USD for 100' x 7'. Light weight and easy to move. Can be strung between rebar posts.