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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After much contemplation on designs for both now and when I move from this location, I have decided that I will be building a hoop coop.
I have been steadily turning my focus to growing the most food possible, and I like that I can utilize the hoop coops for greenhouses as well.
I have decided my best method(for where I rent) is to dig in 9in block to make a solid footer for the hoops. I will use cattle panels, with the lower portion wrapped in hardware cloth. I plan on getting electric poultry netting to wrap around the coop that is housing the hens. This will plow me to truly range my birds day and night with no fear of predators.
With the future use of several hoops I can develop a rotation and can rotate gardens through the coops and have the chickens in the hoop not being used for gardening. With the use of deep litter this will give the birds awesome soil all the time, it will allow the veggies to grow a bit longer and stronger then my current arrangement.
What do you think so far? Any alterations or concerns?
 

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That sounds simply lovely! Great idea for stacking food sources...you could even throw some meat rabbits in the mix, suspended above your chickens and grow even more meat there.

I've done rabbits over chickens and it was a great combination. If I had to do meat rabbits all over again I'd put them in a hutch/tractor...the design has been rolling around in my mind for a bit now. But for winter housing, it would be great to put them back in with chickens and keep them stacked for winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bee said:
That sounds simply lovely! Great idea for stacking food sources...you could even throw some meat rabbits in the mix, suspended above your chickens and grow even more meat there. I've done rabbits over chickens and it was a great combination. If I had to do meat rabbits all over again I'd put them in a hutch/tractor...the design has been rolling around in my mind for a bit now. But for winter housing, it would be great to put them back in with chickens and keep them stacked for winter.
Meat rabbits are in the mix, as well as some game birds and waterfowl. I have a passion for gardening and hounding. Nothing beats being in the woods, when you can share an experience with a dog it's that much more enjoyable. Once I find the land, I will be building a homestead. These small project here and there are all part of learning what works for me now , while I am not dependent upon success. I know I do well with greenhouses, and I had the idea if I had several, I could just keep the birds in the one that would normally be sitting empty. With this idea, now instead of being unused dirt, I turn the compost in, build up a deep litter and let the birds do the rest. Rotate next spring and the ground will be ready to rock and roll.
I also raise tilapia for food and grow veggies off that system , having a more permanent solution for keeping the stock pond safe from predators, using a hoop coop idea is suitable, natural light, for fish and plants.
 

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A lady on another forum started deep litter in her run this year. She lives down south where the soil is sandy and none too rich and she was using sand in her run prior to the DL.

She's been doing some renovations on her run and had to rake back some of her DL to do the work and the soil under it was so much darker than her other, surrounding soils that she is convinced of how quickly this converts the soils to a more loamy, rich medium. She is now contemplating putting some plastic on one end of her huge run and using it as a greenhouse come spring.

Another lady placed raised beds outside her hooped run with DL and is using the leaching of nutrients from the run to grow food in the raised beds, with the added benefit of using the hooped lattice work over the run as a place to grow cukes, beans, etc. on a trellis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Same thing here. The ground this high up, just below a 200 year old mine tailing is less then soft. When I moved here 5 years ago there was no yard, just mountain.
Now there is a lawn and the soil is improving. Where the run is, blows me away at how the soil became.
Because I am switching to electric netting for containment, I will be removing the fully enclosed "Fort Knox" run. It will save more space for greenhouses and grasses. Using the chickens, and a 1 or even 2 year rotation, the greenhouses will eventually become little gardens of Eden.
Like you said, once cold is no longer a threat the greenhouses can be rolled up, and the panel can be used as a trellis to grow plants vertically.
It's about straightening out learning curves now, so when I need it to survive I know the system works.
I particularly like the idea if hanging hutches in ALL of the hoops, the coop and the gardens. Maximize that hanging space with hutches in the middle.. Constant fertilizer and a lot of space for growing out rabbits
 
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