As a permaculture design consultant and homesteader I am always looking for ways to integrate different elements of the homestead to work together synergistically. Chickens are one of my favorite homestead elements.
They provide so many different and useful functions: entertainment, garden preparation and clean up, tilling of the soil, pest (bugs and mice) control, fertilizer spreading, food forest management, of course eggs and meat, and heat for a greenhouse!
Normally, our layers are either paddock shifted or free ranged throughout the growing season from spring to fall. During the colder months we take a different approach for wintering over our hens. We integrate our greenhouse with chickens and sometimes rabbits.
Since I cannot stand chipping ice, I want a simple system designed to prevent the water from freezing. The chickens generate enough heat to raise the temperature…