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So I came up with a method (it may already have been invented) of keeping these chickens inside a somewhat closed loop system.  I call it “chickenculture”.

So the stand is on wheels and is its own structure.  The coop on top is large enough to hold a breeding pair of the sebrights (they are quite small).  The chickens eat and defecate into the bin below.  The bin below is a vermicomposting bin (I still have to put a bin below it to catch the tea).  Inside of it are worms who will eat the microbes that eat the droppings.  The worms will make castings which will in turn feed plants (I will plant seeds of probably buckwheat or some other chicken forage).  The chickens will eat the plants as they grow up through the bottom.  The chickens excrete more and the cycle starts all over.

The inputs are chicken feed, water, worms, chickens, seeds, newspaper and light (from a window).

The process is described above.

The outputs are fertile eggs (good for either hatching or eating), compost tea, worm castings, more worms and heat.

Make sense or am I off in space on this one?

UPDATE:  Thanks to Terry on Facebook who reminds me that chicken manure is pretty toxic stuff if its not cut down a bit.  I’m not sure how I’ll be able to accomplish that but I have some ideas.

11 comments to Chickenculture

  • Steph

    Are you planting the buckwheat in the worm compost? Newspaper is bedding for the chickens or the worms? Will the chickens have problems walking only on the wire floor?

    Be interesting to hear how it goes!

  • Jason

    Hey Steph

    I’m going to plant the buckwheat in the worm bin (or that’s the plan anyway. I’ll probably plant it on the fringes and put the newspaper bedding on the worm bin. I won’t have any bedding in with the chickens, just the wire floor. I’ve kept them on this wire floor before and they didn’t have any problems. The wire only has 1/2″ openings.

    As always with something like this I have to adapt plans. I’m already finding out some problems that need solutions!



  • Bonnie Nelson

    Cool setup….I’m keeping that in mind for the future…. :)

  • Steph

    Video on Paul Wheaton’s website mentions using pine boughs for a chicken coop because it neutralizes the chicken poop. Would a layer of pine work to insulate the worms?

  • That’s a really good idea. I might be able to put down a bed of pine or other wood chips to allow the wood to soak up some of the manure. You should be right, that would insulate the worms from the ill effects.



  • Nes

    Jason can you post a picture with another angle of the chick-system?

    Interesting idea, wonder if it would work on an apartment balcony or something…

    • Jason

      Sure, give me a day or so and I’ll get it wheeled to somewhere with some more room. LOL

      I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t work on a balcony.


  • keith

    is this thing working out?

    • Jason


      I haven’t been brave enough to add the worms yet but the coop and collection bin system is working great. I gave away two roosters so now there are three hens and a rooster in the cage. I add wood fine hardwood mulch to the bin as needed to keep the smell down and when it gets full enough it goes into the composter!

  • Dave

    Love the podcast I am now the proud owner of three bootleg chickens . I built a coop for twentey bucks from an old book shelf (Fake It Tell you Make it)

  • Jason

    Bootleg chickens! LOVE IT.

    That’s great repurposing too. I’d love to see pics.


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