Originally Posted by SurbFarmGirl
My girls have quite a nice run attached to their coop. When I'm home I let them free range in the backyard, however they are destroying it (I'm constantly raking bark back in flower beds, etc).
I'm thinking about taking on a spring project and turning the whole area where their coop is into their own yard that they can free range in instead of having the whole backyard.
Which brings me to my question. Right now the surrounding area is dirt and large patio stones leading to coop door. I was thinking of laying pea gravel and making some foraging boxes that they can pick at. Figured the pea gravel would look nicer than dirt (the coop is adorable but the area surrounding is so BLAH). Would pea gravel be ok? Should I consider something good else? Do any of you have pictures of areas your girls free range in??
Hubby isn't a chicken guy ... these are my girls. I want my yard to be enjoyable but I want them to love their yard too. Help???
I'll add the pic I have of my 'daytime run' that my chickens access from their coop/run via a chicken tunnel. I set it up for the reasons you mention, but mainly because we have many hawks/eagles. I only have 4 chickens, so I really don't want to lose one, which is 25%.
I also really didn't want to have my potted plants, and patio destroyed, quite frankly, though that is a secondary reason.
It has deer fencing around the sides, and aviary netting over the top. In this case, a tree is the center, but you could also set up one or more 4x4" as the center posts (if you need netting overhead). There are 4 grazing pens, seeded with a mix that is good for chickens.
I did spread gravel (and have since spread some more), thinly. It's best to spread it during dry weather, apparently, so it doesn't immediately sink in. It isn't pea gravel, I picked the 5/8" minus gravel, because I was using it for pathways, too.
There is a good article on BYC about 'preventing a muddy run' that I found helpful. They recommended a slightly different sized gravel, but this one has worked well for me.
They have access to a dirt/shrub area off to the right (lots of digging going on back there).
The chicken tunnel to the coop is off to the left.
I can take a few more pics in the next couple of days if that would help.
Edited by lynnehd - 11/5/15 at 10:23pm