chickens again

permed at permed at
Thu Sep 14 01:55:21 EDT 2000

 permaculture institute, pci at  wrote:

>would like to ask for personal experiences with using chickens on
>vegetable beds. This is first time for us - before we kept chickens on
>grass and alfalfa, or free range and now want to use them for
>reconditioning garden beds. I am interested if anyone knows how long you
>can keep tractor on the same spot without destroying soil organisms
>and/or soil tilth. Is it better to move them frequently and let them work
>same area many times, or let them be over a bed for extended period of
>time, say 2 weeks, and return them back next year?

Jarlanbah (PC community next door) has to be the chook tractor capital - 
most use the tractor dome system described in Linda Woodrow's book PC 
Home Garden.
Paul has been using this system several years now and finds that after 2 
weeks on one spot compaction begins. 
I have found from a full-on weedscape the chickens need 2 weeks to 
eradicate the weeds then I give them a deep straw litter for another 2 
weeks before moving them on. As I have heavy clay soils I aerate the soil 
with a garden fork (opening it NOT turning it) before planting. I avoid 
planting root crops immediately after cook tractoring (risk of ecoli from 
manure) but concentrate on tall above-ground bearing plants.

Robyn Francis

Permaculture Education
Djanbung Gardens
PO Box 379
Nimbin NSW 2480 

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