I've had chooks for years. Usually I pen them because they are so destructive among the veges growing. Brutal with seedlings.
'Tis a crisis when a chook gets out and does feral things.
But I live with a woman who grew up with a chook run across half the fam back yard and I'm always being told to let them roam.
I'm no dogmatist. I'm not a poultry bigot...so once a few of my orchardy trees survived I expanded the pen to surround them too.
Then I planted Pigeon Peas inside this pen by protecting the saplings inside milk crates.
I now see that aside from fruit trees, the chooks have allowed Turmeric, yam and sweet potato to grow unmolested among what is usually Ground Zero.
My usual practice is to ring plants, I need to protect, with twigs and branches as a mulch so the chooks can't dig up their roots. I also ring young plants with stakes and sticks driven into the ground so the chooks can't get through the grill effect.
So now I've added a second pen that I let the chooks into as required. Here I have my Vetiver nursery and the chooks keep the weeds and grasses down.
But I'm finding with careful management I can grow some veges -- like the squashes, Jerusalem artichokes and Piper lilot, Okinawan spinach -- in such a chook run.
I had been thinking about this for some time as I wanted a fence that was mobile.
I had a few old pieces of corrugated iron sheeting and, with three starposts, and some plastic clamps, I got myself a mobile wall I can dismantle and move about in 20 minutes.
Much better than relying on chicken wire which curls up on you, cuts your hands and doesn't sit straight.
Any height issue -- and I do have an escapee type in the flock -- I just run a rope a little ways above the top of the iron sheeting. What they don't know, chooks don't trust to land on.
So all good.
[In the photo: Behind the Vetiver is a Cassava hedge, moringa, a banana and to the left, one of my mulberry bushes covered with choko vine.]
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