So a brief history of my past experiences with gardens, animals, and Mother Nature. I have raised chickens, we had a coop which my daily tasks were to collect eggs, water, feed, and clean coop when needed. We also had dogs, which we trained to be friends or guards of the chickens. We had about 1000 sq. ft of garden area which was t-post fenced from the chickens and at end of year we let them have free range. Over all they loved our 1,0000 sq ft back yard; I think we had about 6 chickens and 1 rooster. Minimal grain feed was used, and they did a fine job of eating bugs, and keeping the plant growth down. I have been charming bees, and tending a 9,000 sq ft garden lately and with helping hands.
So now I have an area what is basically a “U” shape with about 23,000 sq ft total The soil is fairly compacted, with a high clay content, I plan on building on top of the soil and doing HK beds mainly. Wind is predominately from the west to the east, there are 7 existing evergreen trees in the south west corner which appear to be doing very well. It is located in Lockeford, Ca zone 9. I have irrigation via a well with 3 hp 240 volt motor 300 gallon tank at 55 psi (which I am pondering idea of converting to solar well). I am trying to plan and design a system that will work well for the 2 people who live on property and hopefully make a small amount of excess to sell at a roadside stand. We have access to local heavy equipment etc.
The east side of the “U”, runs north south and is about 35’x100’ which I have a 20x40 green house (starting sprouts, a low energy aquaponics system, root stock, seedling etc…) we are also planning on HK beds in this area. I plan on doing live fences, a composting and vermicomposting area there too. We will try to position beds so they are just about 20 degrees off north south with a slight grade running from north to the south (drain towards the other garden area)
The bottom of the “U” is about 11,250 sq ft, and we are thinking of putting more crops and hk beds there. It runs about 150’ (east west) x 75’ (north south) we are thinking of doing some HK beds here and crops of corn, sorghum, beans squash. We can cover crop to provide foraging for future chickens, quail and possibly hogs… We are also planning to have sunchokes, lavender, black berries, shizandra berries, sages, rosemary and other bee attractants as we will hopefully have 2 swarms in some top bars hives.
In west most part of the “U”, it is approx 10,000 sq ft, 200’x50’ running south north at longest dimension. I am thinking of making a couple paddock areas here for 2 hogs or for a large chicken paddock or a combo of both some chickens and hogs. There is a shed and wooded area provided the large trees, in which I could build a good shelter for hogs, and use the shed for a coop. My idea is to coop the chickens at night and let them out in the day. We are planting the Organic P Valley chicken forage in this area, it has available irrigation. Aside from the Rabbit and Hawk population there are coyotes in the area, but we have a decent fence. I am also thinking of making a small pond near the shaded base of the trees that will provide some local humidity, critter feed, and local ground water. Would it be better to start with chickens this year, install orchard trees, and grow cover crops, then add or try 2 hogs next year. We don’t mind using a small amount of supplemental feed. There is a lot of veggie and fruit waste available to feed hogs. For the chickens we have been considering the Modesto mills organic blends.
So if I go the paddock route for the chickens I am thinking we already have centralized coop and trees for them to have to roost. But as far as retaining them from the rest of the house and landscaped neighbors house, what is a cheap and effective route to go? Should I use netting, or will t-post suffice?
Can the paddock area be managed in a good way for the hogs and chickens combined?
I’m open to suggestions, life stories, and rants. I want to plan this out correctly and don’t want to screw up any land or lives in the process.
subject: My critter and HK project ... Input appreciated