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A Chicken Moat

>26 January 2012
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I just came across the most brilliant idea ever.

A chicken moat.

Have you guys heard of this, yet?

Basically, it’s a tunnel of wire for your chickens to roam in, which runs around the perimeter of your garden. It’s like a chicken run that borders your entire garden area. The idea is that the chickens in the moat will catch many of the grasshoppers and other bugs that are making their way into your garden, before they get to your plants.

Is that genius, or what?!

Check out an example of one I found on Back Yard Chickens. Although it’s very nice, to me it looks very labor intensive and expensive. What I have in mind is taking some sturdy wire fencing, bending it into an arch, and attaching it in tunnel form from the existing garden fence to the ground with yard staples. It sounds good in my head, anyways.

Another thing I love about this idea is that one of the problems I have in our garden is not being able to till right up against the fence… which means weeds take over like crazy all around the sidelines of my garden. If I have a run there, the chickens will make quick work of scratching up these encroaching weeds, and I won’t have to waste any time pulling them out!

Mother Earth News has an article on how to build a chicken moat, you might wanna check out for some ideas. Their plans are more of an open run than the enclosed tunnel that I envision for our moat, but you can kinda get the gist of it.

I’m thinking it would be awesome to have the moat connect to a small run, which leads back into the coop. In the mornings we could let the chickens out straight into the run, they could wander throughout the moat at their will, and go back into the coop to roost for the night. That would be ideal.

Ooooh, I can’t wait to get one of these installed around our garden!!

What do you think? Have you ever seen a chicken moat, or do you have one yourself?

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15 Comments »

  • Amy @ Homestead Revival said:

    Thy Hand Hath Provided has a chicken moat, but hers was used to get the chickens from point A to point B if I’m not mistaken. I thought it was pretty clever at the time, but I didn’t think of it as a bug barrier! What a great idea! My chickens make excellent weed trimmers around the fence line. Looks like a professional job it’s so precise! LOL… Apparently, their neck can only stretch so far.

    So, here’s a thought. I’m thinking about making a dog moat. I need the dogs to get around my garden, which is situated behind the yard. I began thinking about this last summer… if I made a “run” just inside the fence all the way back through the garden, they could protect it better from deer, rabbits, etc. So far it’s just a thought.

  • Michelle said:

    I have friends that have them in a network running all over their property. They have them built so that they can open them at human path/drive ways, drive through, and then let them back down. They are super cool!

  • Clint Baker said:

    I love this Idea, we are considering chickens for our urban farm. I posted om my blog about a thing called a chicken tunnel that a fellow over seas uses, you could put the 2 together and have an awesome maze for the chickens! Thanks for the idea. (Chicken tunnel idea: http://theredeemedgardener.blogspot.com/search/label/Chickens)

  • Darren said:

    We added a turkey moat last year and what a difference it made! We run Midget White turkeys in there and if didn’t we wouldn’t be able to garden in the Nebraska panhandle…due to the zillions of grasshoppers (we don’t use chemicals). I had to see it to believe it: we can walk across the field driving a wave of ‘hoppers towards the moat and they will actually turn aside when they get close!

  • Daedre said:

    I’m hoping to do something along these lines this year. I want to get the chickens from their static run (attached to the garage) to somewhere closer to the garden. I’m hoping I can use the as sod-removers and open up some more space for vegetable beds without having to remove the sod myself!

    They’ve done a darn good job of obliterating the sod inside their static run, so hopefully they’ll do the same elsewhere.

  • Jessica K. said:

    AWESOME! Thanks for sharing this great idea Kendra! As soon as we get chickens I totally want one!

  • Mona @ Healthy Homesteading said:

    We are doing this but for the ducks. When I purchase ducklings last year I didn’t realize they would be so different from the chickens. My original thought was to put the two groups of birds together but after having them a while I realized how messy the ducks were. So instead we are building a moat around the garden for the ducks. This will keep the mess down and they will also have access to left over greens from the garden. Ducks are not the best weeders but they do like to eat grass. Right now my ducks are locked up in the garden. I figure I will allow them to do this every year. They can fertilize and we also dig a hole for a temporary pond in the ground.
    We will be building the moat this spring and also buying a few of the bug eating breeds of ducks called Moscovys.

  • Emily said:

    I have a chicken moat! No chickens until March, but we built the moat last fall. It was A LOT of work, but I think it will be so worth it. If you want to check out our setup, here are links to my blog:

    http://theharriedhomemakerpreps.blogspot.com/2011/10/great-chicken-moat-build.html

    http://theharriedhomemakerpreps.blogspot.com/2011/10/it-is-finished-almost-chicken-moat-and.html

  • Lauren-Mae Cook said:

    Wow! That it actually a pretty inventive idea!

  • Susan C. said:

    The chicken moat idea is a good one however I would suggest putting good deer/rabbit/chicken proof fencing around the outside and stake it to the ground to keep out predators. Don’t scrimp on this one fence. The extra expense is worth it and cheaper in the long run. Then you can use smaller less expensive fencing around the gardens to keep the chickens out. Make sure the fencing around the interior fences don’t have any cross pieces on top that chickens can perch on or they will fly up, perch on the top, and then hop down into your garden.

  • brenda parsley said:

    I loved all your ckicken adventures we have chickens and peafowl the chickens are freerange inthe afternoon Carlton and Peanutbutter our 2year old Shih-Tzu correl the chickens in there pen and coop. the little dog was jellous when we had the young chicks in the house in boxes with there lights i told her the pup they were her pepspeps she got all excited and stood on her hind legs and would watch the chicks and we changed there hay daily and she would lick or kiss each chick and count then and she knew how many chicks she had to kiss there was no fooling her . all in all the chickns and the dog are great friends she rounds them up and the go right in there pen and she goes out several times a day and checks on her chickens she is haveing a hard time one of her hens ai on a nest and she gets confused thet chicken belongs in that pen to funny you should have had Peanutbutter grandson named her after his favorite food she would have helped you catch your chickens..ROLOL

  • Gene GeRue said:

    Well, shucks, who can complain about being called a genius? I am totally delighted that so many people have embraced my idea of a chicken moat. I just did a Google search and find 1,370,000 hits. Whee! I may have never gotten my fifteen minutes of fame, but I feel beyond good about having apparently done something that has been helpful to so many people.

    Feel free to ask me any questions.

    Gene GeRue, inventor
    The Chicken Moat

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Well what an honor to have you here, Gene!! Thanks for inspiring all of us with your great ideas :) Keep ‘em comin’, will ya?!

  • Amber S said:

    I loved this idea when I first thought of it several months ago. We just purchased a home with an old horse arena out back. My garden is planned on the inside of the arena with the chicken “moat” as the perimeter chute. There’ll be simple chicken wire separating the garden from the inner ring and “predator-proof” heavy gauge planned for the outer ring. I’ll add a hoop-ceiling support(to create an arch) every few feet and cover it all with chicken wire–that way the garden plants can climb up and over, creating shade in our west Texas heat and I don’t have to bend when walking around!

  • Vicki Arnold said:

    I am trying to talk my husband into doing this. It comes down to cost right now, but hopefully we can make it work soon!

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