Want to introduce chooks into your permaculture system but not sure how to get started? We explore a number of options for a backyard chicken setup.
Ahh… chooks. The perfectly multi-purpose permaculture animal. Not only will they lay you an egg-shaped meal every day, they will scratch up and turn over a piece of land in a matter of days.
So why not put this energy to good use all over your garden or acreage and get yourself a backyard chicken setup?
Chicken tractor or “eggmobile”?
This probably depends on the size of your land. Some would describe a chicken tractor as a smaller-scale egg laying operation perfect for a backyard. Something like this:
An “eggmobile” on the other hand might be described as an egg-laying setup used on a farm where a large flock of hens are free ranging on pastures. Like this:
Whatever sort of egg setup you are looking for in your permaculture palace, I have two words for you: Google Images.
Type in “chicken tractor” to Google Images, or maybe try “eggmobile”. Have a look at what everyone else out there is doing. It’s great fun. And you’ll find plenty of inspiration to make your own from free, scavenged or second-hand materials.
Recently, we decided to go from a permanent chicken coop to a movable chicken house, so that we could have our scratchy hens out there doing their thing over weedy areas and manured patches down the paddock.
We took an old farm trailer and have so far had the tyres fixed, and have some wire mesh at the ready as the base (easy for chook droppings to fall through). Scavenged steel for the frames and sides, and we found some core flute under the house to use for insulation.
Or go ready-made
You may not have the time or inclination to make yourself a chicken tractor. If not, there are plenty of options to make use of someone else’s skills and buy yourself a ready-made version.
Or you might do a bit of both, like we did. We bought a fantastic chook feeder that allows our hens to eat the grain (once they are trained to use it) while keeping out wild birds and rats. We’re planning to fix this feeder to our home-made trailer.
Trawl the web and you’ll find free instructions to make movable chook houses out of bamboo, old trailers, pallets, polypipe, and even an old table! Here are a few links to get your started…
- Chicken tractor made out of a table
- Geodesic chicken dome made of polypipe
- Chook tractor made from free pallets
- Great watering system
- Large scale chook tractor (little vid of Joel Salatin)
Want to know more about backyard chickens?
We’ve got loads of great content about keeping backyard chickens.
Issue #7 of Pip Magazine is our dedicated “chicken” issue, with articles on:
- How to keep your chicken flock healthy.
- A guide to the different backyard chicken breeds.
- Information on how to raise meat chickens.
- Plus, a troubleshooting guide, where we answer all of your questions and dilemmas around backyard chickens.
You can access these articles online here as part of our digital subscription offering.
Also check out our article on designing chickens into the vegie garden from Issue #6 of Pip here.
And don’t forget we have loads of chicken-related content online, including these articles:
- Keeping chickens: A beginner’s guide
- The perfect backyard chicken setup
- How and what to feed chickens
- Animal care: Summer chook care
- A guide to coloured chicken eggs
- Chicken breeds chart
- 7 alternative chicken feed ideas