My chickens used to free-range, but two predator casualties in the fall changed that. The chicken's run was not very big, and it was covered--sort of like a sun-room--so that was no alternative to free-ranging. So we created a pasture-like enclosure adjacent to the sun-room type run, and added a pop door in the old run so the chickens could go from run to run. They loved it, and thought that they were free-ranging. The grass was thick enough in the run so that in the month they were in that run, the grass showed no damage at all. It was perfect.
Until it started snowing. When they free-ranged, the chickens liked to go to snow-free areas, like under the porch. Now the only place they could be without snow was the sun-room run and the coop. Which meant that they were very, very bored. They would not get in the snow.
So today, at the suggestion of a family member, I made the chickens a boardwalk in their pasture run.
I know it's hard to see, so I will explain it a little. The structure to the far right is their old covered run. From the pop door from the old run to the new there are two boardwalks. The Farthest boardwalk back goes from the pop door to some wooden blocks that I put food on. The middle one--the light colored one--goes from the door to a rock in the run that I scraped snow off of, and put their food scrap dish on. (that's the big black thing)
There is one you can't really see, because the rock is blocking it. It goes from the wooden blocks to the rock. The one in front curves from the one from the one you can't see, to part of the perimeter of the run.
At first, the chickens weren't really sure how to use it, and just crowded around the pop door.
But then they noticed the food scraps on the rock, but they were over across one of the boardwalks.
The boardwalk is about a foot above the ground, suspended between the rock and the hill the old run is on.
(the dirty looking stuff is wood ash, to melt off some of the snow.)
Then, they discovered the back boardwalk.
Above, you can see the one that goes from the wood blocks to the rock. (the rock is on the left, out of the picture) and the board to the right is the back boardwalk.
Hopefully this keeps our chickens busy for the winter!
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