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Sustainable Living with ChickensSustainable living with chickens centers on composting. In permaculture, the soil is the foundation of success and chickens are workhorses in building soil. They make vast amounts of organic ferilizer in the form of compost. Woody or brown biomass (leaves, wood shavings/sawdust) along with chicken droppings and some green biomass really jump starts your compost pile.
The "black gold" that results from composting can be added to your garden. It fertilizes your soil the more robust plants are so healthy, pests and diseases have a much harder time becoming established and overwhelming your plants.
Table scraps, garden plant trimmings and waste added to the chicken's run will add even more quality to your eggs and the resulting compost.
Chicken coops can be very simple or very expensive depending on your goals and budget. Here are 4 free coop ideas with plans to assist you in making an inexpensive chicken coop you will enjoy building and provide years of healthy food and free organic fertilizer to your permaculture garden.
The Free Plans with Download Links
Movable Chicken Coop
This practical, easy-to-use coop is functional in two unique ways: it is mobile, and it streamlines the cleanup process. Adding wheels to one end of the coop provides the mobility. One or two people can easily wheel around this “chicken rickshaws” type of structure. To simplify cleanup, you’ll find a novel concept for chicken coops: the poop tray. The chickens roost directly above a pair of removable trays that collect the majority of the chicken droppings. The trays slide in a set of tracks so they don’t get moved around. A large set of doors on the end walls provides access to the coop’s spacious interior. You can simply move out the roosts for hosing off.
|Download Plans for Movable Chicken Coop|
Sunny Side Up
There are a number of practical qualities to this design that poultry owners will appreciate. In terms of size alone, this design is versatile. The coop measures 4' x 6' (1200 x 1800mm), which provides 24 square feet (2.2 square meters) of floor space. Allowing 2 square feet (.2 square meters) per bird, a structure of this size could house up to 12 chickens. You can scale the concept to accommodate smaller or larger flocks too A separate area—often called a sidecar—that is easily accessible from the outside of the run holds the nest boxes. Some poultry owners like this aspect, while others don’t mind entering the run to collect eggs. Because this coop is on stilts, its large footprint provides a shady area for the birds on hot days. It also makes for good airflow; breezes below the coop keep the ground dry, which is important for disease prevention. For ventilation, the coop’s two large sets of double doors allow great interior circulation. The doors and the removable roosts make cleaning easier.
|Sunny Side Up Chicken Coop Plans|
|Sunny Side Up Materials List|
Little Barn Chicken Coop
This coop measures 7' x 4' (2100 x 1200mm), or 28 square feet (2.6 square meters), which can comfortably house up to 14 chickens using a standard of 2 square feet (.2 square meters) per bird. The interior is open so the movable roosts and nest boxes can be configured in whatever way seems easiest. Two sets of double doors provide access for cleaning and plenty of ventilation. A large clerestory window allows for additional arirflow. You can screw on a cover during cold weather. The base is low to the ground - the lege are 16" (405mm) high - so the coop is in reach of children who can learn about tending chickens.
|Little Barn Chicken Coop|
|Little Barn Chicken Coop Material List|
This coop measures 7' x 4' (2100 x 1200mm), or 28 square feet (2.6 square meters), which can comfortably house up to 14 chickens using a standard of 2 square feet (.2 square meters) per bird. The interior is open so the movable roosts and nest boxes can be configured in whatever way seems easiest. Two sets of double doors provide access for cleaning and plenty of ventilation. A large clerestory window at the top of the coop allows for additional airflow. You can screw on a cover during cold weather. The base is low to the ground—the legs are 16" (405mm) high—so the coop is within reach of children who can learn about tending chickens
|Chicken Condo download|
|Chicken Condo Materials List|