I signed up for Geoff Lawton's newsletter.

He posted this video, and said next week he will release a video of his version of this very interesting concept.


In essence the idea is to let the chickens free range on  manure with the addition of food and table scraps and compost (Karl Hammer goes to restaurants to get his additions), and the interaction of the chickens/compost/manure/table scraps creates a total cycle with healthy birds and eggs as the by-product in addition to wonderful compost.

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  • I have seen this and it's really cool.  Have been trying to incorporate it into our system.

    • Kari, nice I saw your post on Victoria's sheep/goat question.  So much of this seems to be on the same path so-to-speak, maximizing everything.

      Here is another of Geoff's videos on what he calls cell grazing.  While his is a huge piece of property, I think you should see what he is talking about as to what 'pasture' is.


    • It was that video that made me think of posting my question.  Saw it on same site as the chicken composting.  Still trying to figure how to do that cell grazing on the small area (compared to his) I have. Looking for seeds I can broadcast in my pasture/paddocks to get some of those wildflowers.  Also thinking of planting more banksia rose as fodder for my goats.

  • Hi Catherine.  Enjoyed the video.  Trying to something like this on my place.  I take the straw bedding from where I shut up my goats and sheep at night (to keep them safe from coyotes) and toss it into my orchard area that is about 150' by 15'.  It is basically becomes a windrow.  I then throw over my garden waste and any kitchen waste that I believe would be good for the chickens.  The chickens (15-20) have this to run over (plus any fallen fruit) during day.  They do a good job of distrubting this compost around the orchard area.  In early morning and late afternoon/evening I let them into the pasture paddocks before and after the sheep and goats get their turn at it.  I still feed them grain but maybe I should see how they do on this alone. Very interesting video.

    • Victoria, nice you have added your own experience.  There is so much about this idea that should be appealing to anyone who has or wants chickens.  We (permies) talk a lot about the problems with mono-culture growing, but so many times we tend to think of sectioning things, goats over there, chickens in their separate area, garden in its "place" etc. etc.  When what we should be looking at is the whole idea of sharing the space for maximum benefit of critters and plants.  Your efforts sound a lot like Joel Salatin's concepts.

      Can you post pictures?  I know sometimes we don't think what we are doing are good examples (not neat, not clear etc.) but sometimes even the simplest pictures are really helpful :-)

    • Got one photo.  You can see my rooster and a couple of hens working.  In the background are some 5' tall flowering arugula plants (they had self seeded) that I had just pulled from my raised bed to make room for new planting.  I then covered those with more goat/sheep straw bedding.  I should mention that goat/sheep manure is considered "cool" manure and that I practice deep bedding.  So the bedding I throw out there has already done some composting.  I orignally was just hoping to mulch this area to retain moisture but the mulch kept disappearing.  Then realized chickens were redistributing and making compost in place for my trees.  The chickens also weed for me.  Although some beneficials I wish they would let be.5022479699?profile=original

    • Nice Victoria.  Agreed that goat is more 'cool' than many manures and the way you are using should not be an issue.  That looks so 'fertile' and healthy soil / area.

      Re: what you would like to protect.  I love chicken wire hats for protecting plants and seedlings.   What I've found is because the birds and critters can see through the wire but it is a physical barrier, they kind of learn to avoid it and it seems to 'disappear' from their interest.  An exception would be anything on the edge or just under the edge :-)

    • The chickens do leave my daffidil bulbs alone.  You can see one in foreground.  It looks a little beat up but I think that is more from dumping stuff on top of it.  I had read that daffidils are a good companion for an orchard area and as they survive here with just my flood irrigation and bloom I try to add some every year.

    • Love daffidils!  Apparently many critters including squirrels avoid them so often used when folks have trouble with growing things like tulips.

  • I know that this can be done, My grandfather did this back in the 60's, I have seen  other farmers do it do.

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