Since starting the chook dome garden, it has been a challenge to find the right length of time to keep the chooks on each bed. I originally was putting them on for 3 weeks, but discovered that this was not long enough, as by the time they were back to circle 1, that bed was not ready to be harvested yet. For the last few circles, I have kept them on for 6 weeks, and so far so good. This allows each bed about 9 months of growing, before having the chooks come in and cultivate again. I made the chook dome out of materials that were scrounged and it tooks about 3 days. It is not the prettiest thing to look at, but it has lasted well and is doing the job. The chooks don't sleep in there, they have a permanent pen to go in at night. In the morning they race straight for the chook dome, waiting for me to scatter in their grain, along with any vegie scraps from the kitchen. At night it is the same routine, I let them out and they run to their 'night time pen' to have their dinner before bed. We keep a container in the kitchen and all of our raw vegie scraps go to the chook dome garden, as well as spent plants, hedge trimmings, wood ash, grass clippings, autumn leaves, manure (cow and horse), as well as the goaty bedding straw from our 2 goats. Anything really that is of vegetable matter ends up in there, with the idea being, at planting time you have a wonderful, thick, nutritious mulch to plant into that needs no further fertilizing. The chook dome is due to rotate in another 2 weeks, at the end of January. Here is how it is looking today:
Bed 6: The remains of broccoli, peas, red cabbage and celery. Due to have chooks in 2 weeks.
Bed 1: The remains of potatoes.