We finally started taking some steps towards creating the chicken run/coop, compost, garden area. It took me quite a while to figure out exactly where I wanted to have the chicken run. My original thought was to have it up by the workshed, but after a lot of reading, I decided that I really wanted to combine my chicken run, compost, and garden areas. I came across an old, but great, article that pretty much sums up exactly what I’m planning. The “west garden” is my current space. It still needs some modifications with the fencing, but that will wait until after this growing season. The current focus is getting the chicken coop built and ready!
In the mean time, my friend Pam at Hard Earth Farm provided me with some much needed fertilizer for the garden and to get my compost started. Alpaca Poop! Never in my life would I have thought I’d be so excited about poop!
The happy husband helped me put up some temporary posts and chicken wire to fence of the new compost area. The compost area will be larger, but the fencing is temporary until we build the chicken coop.
One bin of aged poop was added into the garden soil. Then I added my current compost of leaf mulch, grass clippings, and food scrap on top of 2 bins of fresh alpaca poop. This should be a great start for compost for the Fall garden! The Fall garden will be east of the compost area. The idea is to alternate gardens for growing and chicken access (check out the above referenced article). The chickens can clean up and fertilize one garden while the other is in season growing. I’m really excited about this idea – I think it will not only save me a ton of work in the long run, it will also provide me with some excellent garden compost.
The current setup will give me about a 30′ x 30′ gardening area this Spring. I hope to be planting my seed starts in the next couple of weeks. We still have some frost in the morning, so I don’t want to lose them! I’ll see if this is a large enough area when I plan out the “east garden”. The beauty of this layout, is that I have as much room as I’d like to expand both gardens to the south, and then can also expand the chicken and compost area in between very easily.
My plan is to start with 25 chickens, but build the space to house about 40. That will allow me to grow if I choose, and if not, I’ll have some happy chickens with lots of room to run.
Here are the sweet alpacas that provided my fertilizer this year! Thanks boys!!!