Farm, Garden and The Land > Permaculture, Land Management and Foraging

dog poop and chickens

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So wife is now gung ho about getting chickens and wants to put a chicken coop/tractor in the dog yard where the inside dog goes to poop. Other than the new added workload I would have (anyone have a wife with great ideas then go on to something else and expect you to do the mundane work?), my concern is the chickens eating the dog poop and the dog eating the chicken poop and one of them getting sick. Could just scoop up all the dog poop I see and bury elsewhere and spread out the chicken poop well before moving their tractor location or either scoop up as well for side dressing garden or adding to compost pile.
Better option I see would be to get an electric fenced lined garden spot going where the perimeter has an enclosed chicken run attached to a coop with an electric fence to keep deer away. Have seen a few rough diagrams of online.

Don't worry about chicken manure. If they have good feed and enough water, it comes out liquid most of the time. It just soaks into the ground or bedding. The only time I've seen it get solid is when feeding corn, which is probably the worst feed nutrient-wise (it's used because its cheap for the number of calories, but really try to avoid it).

There will be nothing there for the dogs to eat, it just soaks in. However, many dogs will still be able to smell that spot and will roll around in it.

As for chickens eating dog droppings, they won't if they have something better to eat. They'll scratch them around and help break it up.

The only transferrable pest to worry about with dogs and chickens are tapeworms. If one of your chickens gets one, you'll know almost immediately, they die very soon after. It's almost a non-issue given how quickly a chicken will succumb to it. They lose weight and the other chickens will kill the infected one. It's pretty rare, I wouldn't worry about it. Only an issue in the worst possible living conditions, not the type of conditions you would have with a backyard flock. The type of tapeworm that lives in chickens doesn't live in human hosts, so no worry there.

When it comes to free-ranging with dogs, don't. You'll lose a few birds before getting the dogs trained not to chew on their heads. It can be done, but it's a pain to deal with. That run is the dog's territory, the chickens are intruders. The dog will defend it's turf. Even if it doesn't, big flappy feathery things that let you chase them... too much temptation for most dogs. In a large area, they'll learn to ignore each other. If the dogs are sharing a quarter acre or more with the chickens, training will work. In a small confined run, it will be carnage. Not sure how big your dog yard is, or the temperament of the dogs. You'll need to judge that for yourself.

For tractoring, clean the area of dog droppings before moving the chickens in. That takes care of that issue. The area the chickens leave behind will be mostly clean if you move them regularly.

I've found chickens are easiest to manage in a coop. It's easy to get the eggs, all the manure is in one place to be composted, feed is always covered, water is always available, light and temperatures are controllable, and predators are a non-issue. It's just a lot easier to control the conditions. You can build a run for the chickens outside of their coop, but keep them confined to a single area. You can always toss grass clippings into their run as bedding and something for them to eat / search for bugs in...  It's easier to bring the pasture to them.

Thanks. It would be an enclosed coop with a cage and wheels where it could easily be picked up and moved around in the yard. The dog wouldn't be getting to the chickens.
As far as a chicken run, the chickens would be enclosed within the run, which would attach to a coop. Kind of similar to this type of set up where chickens would take care of bugs around the perimeter of the garden and be protected during the day from hawks and other predators and go into a coop at night
where the outer fencing is electrified to keep out deer also. Am looking around for better examples that have detailed drawings and plans.

Ok, that makes more sense than what I was envisioning.

One thing I would suggest, make the short runs with a hinged lid so you can get into it. I made that mistake myself. The chickens took out one of the weaker of their flock, and left the body in a short run, forcing me to cut open the fence to retrieve it. They will also mound up the area with their droppings over time, so you need access to the whole run to clean it. Never design an area where a chicken can go and you cannot, or that's where they'll lay their eggs, lol.

Yeah, I was looking for a chicken run setup where it would be PVC framed and could easily be moved as needed.


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