Although allowing your chickens to free-range a great idea, getting them to just stay on the grass and not destroy your garden is not an easy thing to do. They don’t seem to listen and wander about blissfully digging up your garden, making mounds in your vegetable patch, spraying dirt all over the place as they go hunting for bugs, worms and insects.
In a previous post we mention creating a series of wire “tunnels” that emerge from the chicken coop and direct chickens to work zones around the garden.
The tunnels are like a road network system that chickens are allowed to navigate through and then emerge at their designated “work zone” in the garden, usually an area covered in weeds or an old garden bed that needs some attention.
These old parts of the garden are a chicken paradise. Because its been neglected, there’s usually tasty critters hidden under the soil just waiting for the chickens to scratch up a treat. In return the chickens deposit a little fertilizer and do a lot of the physical work of turning the soil over preparing the garden bed for you. Keeping the system modular allows for flexibility in directing the chickens to where you want them to garden and also keeps them off sensitive parts of the garden.
Bruce Morgan the Chicken Tunnel guy explains his system in this YouTube video clip. You’ll get a better idea how light and easy to construct his tunnels are from watching the clip.
We’ve had a few people email asking where do you buy Chicken Tunnels.
As far as we’re aware no such thing exists although a cunning entrepreneur can probably see the potential!
Bruce likes to make his tunnel sections modular and easy to carry. He makes his tunnels from anything found around the house including wire trays from refrigerators now used as doors for his tunnel system.
They should be stack-able when not in use and preferably made from easy to find materials.
One suggestion was to use concrete reinforcement mesh to make a number of interlocking hoops that connect to the “work zone” where the chickens are allowed to assemble and scratch away. Although heavy these hoops are solid construction and prevent predators from attacking your birds in the open.
The “road sections” of the tunnels need not be very large and limited by the height of the chickens and wide enough to allow two birds to pass by one another easily. Bruce Morgan’s chicken system will be featured in our Permaculture Chickens DVD currently in production where clever people use unusual techniques to get the most out of their poultry.