Dave

chicken coop greenhouse

5 posts in this topic

Hi everyone

 

I'm planing on building a new set up. I live in Belgium so the main concern for an aquaponic set up is maintaining the temperature during the winter.

 

So my idea was to build a passive greenhouse with an integrated chicken coop. There are two main advantages in this design :

  1. chickens will heat the greenhouse during the winter. I've read that 1 adult chicken gives 15w of heat, so 4 chickens give off the equivalent of one 60w lightbulb.

  2. There is also carbon dioxide release witch is beneficial for plants.

 

The plan is to construct a GH facing south and have a chicken coop attached to one of the sides (preferably the north side). There would have to be a adequate air ventilation in order to circulate the heat trough the GH. I would insulate the 5 sides of the chicken coop that do not join onto the GH, so that more of the heat makes it out into the GH. When the temps get up in the summertime the two vents on top of the GH automatically open above.

 

This is a drawing explaining the general idea:

CGH drawing

 

But I have several questions concerning installing a aquaponic system in a chicken coop greenhouse:

  1. Will the ammonia in the chicken manure kill the plants or harm the fish?

  2. I read that “birds are warm-blooded animals, so they frequently harbor E.coli and salmonella bacteria in their intestines. You will need to keep your birds away from your aquaponics garden to prevent these dangerous bacteria from contaminating it.†Although there will be no direct contact between the chickens and the plants is contamination possible though the air exchange?

  3. The heat transfer will happen in both directions, so on a sunny day the hot GH will overheat a well insulated chicken coop. Chickens get stressed in very hot conditions leading to health problems and death. If there is excessive summer heat in GH will I need to cool down my GH or are the automatic vents enough?

Here are some Chicken coop greenhouse pictures I found on the internet:

CGH

Cgh

Thanks in advance for your shared thoughts on the subject.

 

 

 

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Hi Dave,

 

Your proposed system is a good example of integration.

  1. Will the ammonia in the chicken manure kill the plants or harm the fish?

No.....the ammonia in the chicken manure won't impact either - and it will be less offensive to you, too......if you create a good deep litter floor in your pen using a nice deep layer wood shavings or sawdust.  Sprinkle a bit of grain on this every few days and the chickens will turn it over and keep it healthy.

 

Well managed, this deep litter will be converted to excellent compost over the space of a year.  The key to managing ammonia in poultry pens is to keep the litter dry.  Set up your waterers so that wet patches can be turned over or removed.

 

I read that “birds are warm-blooded animals, so they frequently harbor E.coli and salmonella bacteria in their intestines. You will need to keep your birds away from your aquaponics garden to prevent these dangerous bacteria from contaminating it.†Although there will be no direct contact between the chickens and the plants is contamination possible though the air exchange?

 

 

 

Anything is possible.....but disease arising from contamination is unlikely.  This notion is reflective of the unfounded anxiety that most people have around "germs."  The fact is that bacteria are everywhere and the world could not function without them.  All of the recommendations around keeping things separate ignore the reality that bacteria are borne in the air and can be transferred by insects as readily as humans or animals.  Setting up your system so that it is biologically healthy is as much as you need to do.  Keep your poultry deep litter dry and ensure that your greenhouse is adequately ventilated.

  1. The heat transfer will happen in both directions, so on a sunny day the hot GH will overheat a well insulated chicken coop. Chickens get stressed in very hot conditions leading to health problems and death. If there is excessive summer heat in GH will I need to cool down my GH or are the automatic vents enough?

My suggestion would be to insulate the wall that divides the chicken house from the greenhouse......and to install vents in the top and bottom of the dividing wall.  In the winter, this will allow convective air circulation (the cooler air will be drawn in through the bottom vent and, as it takes on heat, it will rise and exit through the top vent).  In the summer, simply close both top and bottom vents between the greenhouse and chicken house.

 

Your system integration is a good one and, properly designed (largely in the manner that you've described), will serve you well.

 

 

Gary

Edited by GaryD (see edit history)

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Hi Gary,

 

thanks for your post it's very helpful and has given my more ideas for the CGH design I'm planning.

 

 

 

Well managed, this deep litter will be converted to excellent compost over the space of a year.  

 

Very good idea! The deep litter method will also act as natural heat source due to the composting in the coop over the year.

 

 

This notion is reflective of the unfounded anxiety that most people have around "germs."  The fact is that bacteria are everywhere and the world could not function without them.  All of the recommendations around keeping things separate ignore the reality that bacteria are borne in the air and can be transferred by insects as readily as humans or animals.  Setting up your system so that it is biologically healthy is as much as you need to do.  

 

Yes, people do tend to be paranoid with "germs". And bacteria is what makes the world function and we depend on it! Especially us whom have aquaponic gardens!!

 

 

My suggestion would be to insulate the wall that divides the chicken house from the greenhouse......and to install vents in the top and bottom of the dividing wall.  In the winter, this will allow convective air circulation (the cooler air will be drawn in through the bottom vent and, as it takes on heat, it will rise and exit through the top vent).  In the summer, simply close both top and bottom vents between the greenhouse and chicken house.

 

 

Proper ventilation flow is important. I was planing on have both top and bottom vents on the dividing wall. I was also thinking building my nesting boxes on that side. The nesting boxes would protrude from the coop into the GH. You would of course have to harvest the eggs form inside the GH. This will also bring a supplementary heat source for the GH at night.

So to recapitulate (top to bottom): 

insulated roof  l              

top vent          l

              nesting boxes         GH

bottom vent    l

deep litter       l

coop floor       l

 

It's going to be a very exciting project :-)

 

Dave

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It does sound exciting Dave. Much success and please post pictures of your progress!

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Thanks Edmolina,

 

Will post pics a soon as we start with the project during this summer

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