Moving to winter run

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BabyBantam
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Moving to winter run

Post by BabyBantam » Tue Dec 02, 2014 10:19 pm

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Winter run
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Finally, dry feet!
Decided that struggling with wet and muddy Pekin feet for another winter really didn't seem appealing. My lawn is also suffering after 4 years of constant abuse and chicken poo, so finally moved to a winter run.
5 inches of wood chip has been laid in a frame just 'plopped' on the ground, with a poultry net around it to keep the Foxes that seem to pass the back of the garden (about 2 feet away) out of the garden. I am planning to poo pick every week as the woodchip seems to swallow up the poo rather well, with a wash through via a hose every couple of weeks.
In the spring, I'll put the ark back on the grass for the summer and move all the woodchip to the allotment for mulch.
Can anyone see an issue with this, or have I missed something? The girls are sooooo happy on the surface and seem to be consuming white pointed cabbage and defrosted peas happily instead of grass.
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chrismahon
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Re: Moving to winter run

Post by chrismahon » Wed Dec 03, 2014 6:26 am

Sounds like a good idea to me BabyBantam giving the grass time to recover for Spring. It's common practice to move livestock to Winter pasture everywhere I think and something we intend to do when we have made our final move. in our case it is so cold, wet and windy here that all the birds will have to go into a barn equipped with Winter coops and runs on straw.

Wood chip works well only if kept dry. The mix of chicken poo and water turns it into a slurry very quickly. We poo picked our runs daily and still had a problem, so you may find you have to change it halfway through. I would avoid washing it through unless the water has somewhere to run away carrying the chicken poo with it. Also you may find the mulch will kill the plants because the poo is too strong. We used to compost ours, which takes about two years, or it could be laid on pathways.
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Marigold
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Re: Moving to winter run

Post by Marigold » Wed Dec 03, 2014 8:47 am

That looks good, they'll be much more comfortable, for so long as you can keep the floor in a clean and dry condition. If you need to change the woodchip in a month it two, as Chris suggests, you might consider replacing with Aubiose, which is much more absorbent than woodchip, easier yo poo puck, and also it doesn't go mouldy even when wet. In the dark date, they do most of their pooing overnight in the coop anyway, which is convenient, isn't it?
Last winter I just dumped the poopickings from Aubiose around mature shrubs and plants as a winter mulch, without composting, and the borders grew as never before the next year. The worms took it down without any digging. But I woukdntbhave used it in any soft new plants without composting first.,
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BabyBantam
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Re: Moving to winter run

Post by BabyBantam » Wed Dec 03, 2014 7:21 pm

I have an allotment, so maybe I shall put the woodchip on paths rather than flowerbeds, but may be ok for fruit shrubs?
I found a supplier half the price of flytes o fancy and looks very much like the same stuff, so have enough bags in the shed to top up and change some of the woodchip rather than wash it. Thanks for the advice :)
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Marigold
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Re: Moving to winter run

Post by Marigold » Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:53 am

I wouldn't waste it on paths, it's fine fertiliser with the droppings mixed in, and also the decomposing oid chippings add lovely humus to the soil. If you have a cleared patch on the allotment you can just spread it on top, turn it in, and it will do a lot of good. Or mulch the fruit bushes as you suggest, (although soft fruit also needs a high potash fertiliser because too much nitrogen like you have in droppings promotes leaf growth rather than fruit development.)
Probably best for brassicas or any leafy crop, beans don't do well with it either.
If you can use it in layers in your compost heap, it wil, make lovely stuff you can use anywhere. Particularly good if layered between grass clippings or other soft stuff as the wood chips balance out the fast-decaying material.
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Re: Moving to winter run

Post by KittyKat » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:24 pm

I use chicken waste straight from the coop by burying it about 2 ft down below the crops. We did get exceptional leaf growth this year, which is probably related. I recently read on one of the allotment websites that it works well deep under broad beans, so will be testing it out this year.
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Re: Moving to winter run

Post by Icemaiden » Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:43 pm

Thanks Marigold. You've explained why the raspberry canes next to our hen enclosure grew to over 6' in height this year & produced less than a dozen raspberries between them. I'll be emptying the cooled wood ash around them over the winter this year!
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tygrysek75
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Re: Moving to winter run

Post by tygrysek75 » Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:18 pm

Icemaiden wrote:Thanks Marigold. You've explained why the raspberry canes next to our hen enclosure grew to over 6' in height this year & produced less than a dozen raspberries between them. I'll be emptying the cooled wood ash around them over the winter this year!
For the plants to produce fruits or flower nitrogen has to be reduced dramatically or you have lots of green leaves and very tall plants. Plants needs potash to produce flowers and fruits. NPK ratio is ever so important .
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Icemaiden
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Re: Moving to winter run

Post by Icemaiden » Sun Dec 07, 2014 1:57 pm

Ahah.
Reducing the nitrogen would mean asking the hens not to poo, which isn't going to happen! I can increase the potash ratio by judicious application of the ash from our wood burning stove though...
Chickens are a girl's best friend (though diamonds would be nice too!)
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Marigold
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Re: Moving to winter run

Post by Marigold » Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:54 pm

Or just get a bag of Soft Fruit Fertiliser granules from Marshalls, for a complete and balanced feed.
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