Nascent chicken food forest

LaurenRitz

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Ok, this doesn't exactly count as gardening in the traditional sense.

This is a picture of my planned chicken forest. This is just bare bones, providing shelter and a few winter snacks. Other things will be added later.

The two curved lines are rows of logs, on contour. The house is to the south (down in this picture) and a rain gutter comes off the roof at this corner.

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Water is captured by the first set of logs, then overflows to the second. All of this will eventually be woodchips but is currently grass. The list is a possible shopping list for a plant sale I'm going to this week.

Problem is that I have no experience with these plants and no idea how fast or how big they actually grow.

Is this a reasonable arrangement, so the quicker growing plants won't overshadow and kill the rest? Trees too close to the house? Things that spread from the root? Other things that would work better?

The redbud is already there and I have no idea what the other is. Hence, the questionmark. The rest of the grass will remain for the moment.

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Mini Horses

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Chickens eat grass. They scratch up & thru chips, looking for worms. Herbs are good for them -- and you 🥰. Mine free range all my pastures, eat bugs, grain droppings from animals feed, get produce from garden or otherwise found...plus kitchen scraps. In winter, you can sprout seeds for them to eat as fresh ... Quick, cheap, easy. 🥰
 

LaurenRitz

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Yeah. This is their food forest area, so I need to decide on the major plantings.
 

Finnie

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Hard to say about your plant list fitting the way you have it planned, since there is no scale or measurements. But what I will usually do when I’m figuring out where to plant trees and shrubs, is look up what size they could get to and divide that in half. Then make sure there is at least that amount between where I plant it and anything nearby that I don’t want it to crowd. (Like the house, sidewalk or parking area.) Extra space is better if I have room for it, but I might crowd some things together if I really want them both. (Or all 12 🤣)

So for example, your choke cherry (which I’m assuming you mean Prunus virginiana) looks like it can grow up to 30 feet high and wide. So is there 15 feet of space between it and your unknown shrub-potential-tree? You may not need 15 feet if your goal is to have them blend into each other.

You could take a sheet of graph paper and plot out the sizes and locations of everything that’s already there. Then look up the max sizes of all your wish list. Cut out circles to scale of those size diameters. Then play around with moving the circles all around your map.

I personally don’t think too much about how quickly things grow, but about how tall they will end up. And then I put the taller things to the north and back sides of an area, and shorter things to the south and front. And then place a few random tall things here and there if I think it will look nice that way.

If you’re worried about things that need full sun, definitely put them south of any tall things. Or put them in the sunny spots you have now with the understanding that if shade grows up there, the full sun stuff may eventually die out. Or since it will be a gradual change, maybe they will adapt to less sunlight over time and be fine. Or you could transplant them later if you want.

Sounds like a fun project. I hope you keep us updated on your progress as you make it.
 

flowerbug

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also consider rotational grazing/pasture area for them because they can really strip an area of beneficial insects and plants. you want to be able to move them around often enough and best to move them before they strip an area down to the dirt. also, plant covered areas soak up rain and prevent erosion a lot better plus keep the area cooler.
 

LaurenRitz

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They have 3 acres to roam, although they usually stay right up around the coop and the house, where they have trees and a deck for shelter. Right now it's 3 acres of grass, so I need to build a shelter belt that will allow them to roam the whole area safely.

This chicken food forest is the start.
 

flowerbug

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This is the story of my life! I have this meme saved and I use it a lot.:love

it's funny because it is so true. :) besides it is spring-time and time to release the winter kracken anyways... let it all out. get outside and enjoy this wonderful planet instead of staring at the walls and daydreaming... or something...
 
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