Humble Garden

ReSkilling for future food independence

Greenhouse with poultry

Posted by Nika On December - 27 - 2009

Permaculture: draft sketch for chicken-greenhouse

This fall and this winter I have been thinking about a greenhouse I would love to build. It integrates the heat of slowly decomposing hay bales, chickens, and two 2 foot deep, 16 foot long raised beds. I have to admit that for now, its a dream as I do not have the financial means to put this together for now.

A greenhouse that integrates the heat produced by chickens is something much talked about in permaculture thought. If you google a bit, there seems to be some doubt that people are able to make this happen. As I have not built and tested my concept, I can not make any claims. I think, though, that a lot of the doubt comes from arm-chair gardener types who do not know much about gardening or chickens.

The hay bales are seen in the diagram, making up the north facing wall. There is a gap between the bale wall and the first raised bed. This gap, 16 feet long and 2 feet deep, 3 feet wide perhaps, will be covered by chicken wire, forming a chicken run between the two ends of the greenhouse.

Garden Project: raised beds

(Raised beds I am referring to)

On either end of the greenhouse will be housing for chickens (perches, areas to run, areas for feeding and watering) separated from growing areas by chicken wire. The growing area above two raised beds will be under the sloping roof of the green house. My vision is for this greenhouse to supply us with lettuces and nutritious greens through out the cold cold winter here.

I thought I would share some of what little is going on here, in the depths of winter. I have also been snuggling on the couch with seed catalogs and generally trying to stay warm without feeling too pouty that the garden is out of commission for the season.

We are also watching our 9 pregnant goats, some of them are quite large now with child. I continue to mentally prepare for labor and delivery.

5 Responses to “Greenhouse with poultry”

  1. […] For us here in the northeast, this means extending our season. I wrote a bit about my greenhouse dreams at our homestead blog, Humble Garden, in this post: Greenhouse with poultry. […]

  2. Jerry says:

    I like this. I have been working on a similar idea on a bit larger scale, but I am looking at housing the birds along one side of a hoop-house. This way they could be run inside in winter, and in runs outside for the rest of the year. While the birds are outside the house would be in full greenhouse mode and in winter we could grow greens specifically for the birds to eat.

    One heads-up I would offer you. I’m not sure how many chickens you are looking at, but in any number they distribute a LOT of dust/dead skin. Trust me when I say that this deserves a bit of thought ahead of time, because its not the kind of dust that just washes off easily.

    Here’s hoping the New Year is treating you well.

  3. Nika says:


    I agree. When we muck out the chicken house, there is a lot of particulate that is airborne. Might have to do with the type of bedding we use too.

    Been thinking about a very thin plastic barrier between growing space and chicken space that doesnt impede heat movement or perhaps a filtered/baffled fan of some sort.

  4. Steve says:

    I saw this blog address on one of your messages on the PC Relief Haiti list. This is great! My greenhouse ambitions started like yours for our site her in NH, but now it has grown to meet our needs in a much different way. I would be happy to share pictures of the greenhouse(with climate battery), chicken coops, shed, 2nd story screen house and living roof…all still under sonstruction…
    All the best in your journeys!


  5. Nika says:

    Steve, I would love to see what you have done!

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About Me

We are a family of 5, including Nika, Ed, Q (14), KD (7), and Baby Oh (4). We garden 1024 square feet of raised beds plus assorted permacultural plantings. We also have 13 LaMancha dairy goats, 40 chickens, and one guard llama.



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