Building Soils with Chickens and Cover Crops


so in one of our previous videos we
showed you our chicken tractor that we built that we’re implementing into our
garden plan this year using the chickens to eat and remove old crop debris
instead of pulling the plants up we let the chickens remove them the chickens
add stuff to the soil and by doing all this hopefully we reduced some of our
inputs at our garden required compost and additional fertilizer so I want to
show you something that we’ve added to our chicken tractor implementation
that’s really really kicked it up a notch as far as sustainable practices in
our garden and adding quality nutrients to the soil so what we’ve done is we’ve
combined our chicken tractor was one of these poultry fences from Premier One I
really like these fences because they’re easy to put up easy to take down easy to
move around really simple the kit we got has a hundred foot of fence and I can
block off a nice area for these chickens to forage and the electric charge on the
net keeps any predators out keeps the chickens in and it’s worked really nice
so far so we showed you when we talked about our chickens tractor we showed you
our pea pot that we had the chickens eating them now we have planted some
clover over here in the other end of this garden so we’ve got some crimson
clover planted here and we’ve got to really get stand okay and so there’s
there’s three different purposes for planting this clover one is weed
suppression so this cover crop is going to cover this whole area prevent any
other weeds from growing really suppress those weeds
the second is nitrogen addition so the clover is going to fix nitrogen should
give us a good storage base of nitrogen for when we get ready to plant some
sweet corn here in the spring also the chickens as they eat the clover are
going to deposit nitrogen as well and the third thing is
is obviously forage or feed for our chickens so we get weed suppression we
get nitrogen into our souls for building our soils and we also save on chicken
food because these chickens really love to eat this clover here so here’s the
charger the solar panel charger so this thing is going to fuel this battery
that’s inside of here which is going to keep your fence charge you’ve got one
clamp here that goes on the fence and then one clamp here that goes to a nail
that I’ve stuck in the ground there that’s your ground wire you can change
the angle of this solar panel based on the seasons this kit comes with really
good instructions telling if you’re in the southern USA or the northern USA
what angle to put it at the different seasons so that works really well and
this thing is kept a really good charge for us so far we haven’t had to charge
the battery outside of using the solar panel and it’s kept the fence nice and
charged and kept everything out of here so our plan here is to let the chickens
be on this side of the clover kind of Forge that knock that down and then
we’re going to move them over we’ll move the chicken tractor and we’ll move our
electric knitting over to this side and let them Forge this side while that
other side recovers and we’ll just go back and forth until about you know a
month or so before we get ready to plant our corn we’ll just come in here and
till this clover and this chicken manure in so it’s not quite so hot when we go
to a plant our corn

14 thoughts on “Building Soils with Chickens and Cover Crops

  1. Way to go Travis! After seeing Gabe Brown's video on treating the farm as an ecosystem, which should be required viewing, this is a great way to go. Soil building, and reduced or no tilling, that seems to be the magic plan. Could Hoss come up with a hand powered seed drill!

  2. There will be lots of insects and other invertebtates in and under the clover, which provides even more protein-rich food for your chickens.

  3. Do you have to keep the vegetation clipped down under the fence? I heard if you don’t it will short out… just wanted your opinion on the issue. Thanks.

  4. In response to weed suppression, I am in the process of eliminating aggressive poison ivy on our land. Our chickens do not eat the ivy or its roots. So I was looking at cover crops as part of this process.
    Do you think clover would be a good option?

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