I have my tractor coop and run which I can move but since the heat I've had it in only a few places and grass is history. I only have 1/3 acre and part is forest with very tall trees. I decided to pen off part of my back yard. I already have a picket fence in the back so I put a portable fence from my house to the back fence, most of the area is under trees but not all. There are shrubs and vines and lots of tree leaves that have built up over the years. Part of the lawn remains which is grass and clover with a few dandelions mixed in and I've managed to keep most of this green area still green. The new yard is 50 feet by 30 feet and I have three chickens that spend 2 hours in the yard in the morning (5:30 am to 7:30) before I leave for work and again after I get home from 6:30 pm to dark when they roost. I move the coop/run each evening to a new place and put down some fresh mini-flake bedding, clean the waterer and refill and top off or refill the layer crumbles which is raised up so they can't poop or scratch it out.
They peck the grass tips and hit on the clover but not enough so far to kill it off to being gone but then there are only 3 chickens in this 30 x 50 foot area part time. I water the green area every night also. I also toss in supplemental greens from the other parts of the property. Next to the wooded part of their yard they work the thick leaves and mulched leaves from years of tossing them there (pre-chicken years) so much time is spent not eating the grass.
I think if I had more chickens and didn't supplement the greens my 50 by 30 foot area would be bare most likely. I plan to reseed the whole chicken yard in the fall with mixed grass seed and I'm looking to add green and red clover seed. I can't let my chickens 'free range' and they are monitored when in the 'yard' as it is open on top and I know they could get out if they wanted to, but they stay busy with things. There is nothing near to the fence they could use as a step up (and over).
I think they are content with the set up and respect the fence edge and each night they go up to their coop/roost by themselves.
Edited by RedStarLady1207 - 7/21/12 at 1:14pm