Chicken Space Consequences

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by davidchickens, Jan 2, 2015.

  1. davidchickens

    davidchickens Out Of The Brooder

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    I hope this is the right place for this question:
    Say you have 45 square foot per chicken. The land soaks up a little bit more rain that most places (the ground is very low). It usually has thick grass in the spring and fair grass in the summer. There are about 8 young trees (3-4 years old, about 8-10 feet tall). So the question is, what sort of impact would chickens have on that land at 45 square foot per chicken (not counting two square feet per chicken roosting area). Would it be completely eaten up in a week, or completely eaten up in a while. Or, would there be enough space that vegetation doesn't completely die out? Any thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I expect that it would take them a little while, but you could expect them to pretty much strip all of the vegetation from that area. there will be some stuff left, the plants that they don't like. Have you already designed your run and completed fencing? If not, you might want to consider electronet fencing. If you have the space, and it sounds like you do, you could move the run around your yard so the vegetation could recover.
     
  3. davidchickens

    davidchickens Out Of The Brooder

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    No, I havent put the fence up. I'm making plans for next year. As for electronet, I have considered it. The only thing holding me back was that the price of electronet always seemed a bit high. Regular fencing, while more labor intensive, always seemed the better deal financially. Still, if I'm left feeding the chickens everything, than it might not be so cost saving lol! I'll consider what you said. Thanks for the reply!



    Edit: This leads me to another question. Say you have one 160 ft roll of electronet. The most space you get from that (a square) would be 1600 sq. feet. If you had say, 100 chickens in that area (16 sq. feet per chicken) and moved it every week, with five seperate areas, would that preserve the grass, better than if they were stationary at 45sq ft.? Also, would it survive at say, 8 sq feet per bird?
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
  4. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My experience with rotating the areasevery week, is that is works well as long as the growing conditions are good. With my barn flock, of 16 to 24, I use around 250' of netting in five areas I only see ware when it starts to dry out. The coop,about the same population, has around the same area moved over three areas and I see alot more ware sooner as growing conditions worsen. With 100 chickens I would think at 16sq ft and rotated over five areas, they would use it up quickly, even with good conditions. At 8sq ft I have no doubt it would have no chance to recover.
     
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    What I notice is that the area around the coop shows wear, farther away from the coop, I don't see signs of them. I would assume that regardless of the total area, the more birds you have, the bigger the area would be around the coop/run would show wear.

    A lot will depend on your seasons too. Here in SD we have about 4-6 months of growing, with 3 of those months being aggressive growing, and the other 3 not so much. Then the land freezes up, and there is no plant growth.

    If you are planning on your pasture feeding the birds, my experience is that while June and July my chickens intake of commercial feed, does fall, it never goes away. And by mid August, even though they are still eating bugs, the bugs are mature, and must be losing their protein levels, as their consumption of feed begins to rise. My birds have unlimited pasture while free ranging, but generally do not get a long ways away from the coop/run even in the summer.

    In the winter, with the shortened days, and the increased predators pressure, my hens are very close to the coop/run if not in it, most of the very short days. Without added feed, they would be very short changed for their protein requirements.

    In my opinion, you really need to feed them.

    Mrs K
     
  6. davidchickens

    davidchickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh, I certainly intend to feed them! I was just hoping the feed costs would fall, not disappear lol! I should have made myself more clear sorry!
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
  7. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    They really won't fall that much.
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    If you factor in the cost of fence posts, you might find that the cost of the two types of enclosures are fairly similar. I don't think I'd range 100 chickens in a 1600 s.f. run. That's not my style, though according to the "space requirement" "they say" people, you could keep 160 chickens in a run of that size. The big benefit of electronet is it's moveability, and the fact that no critter will dig under it, and it will repel any animal that touches it. Rocky raccoon will climb over any fence out there. But a properly charged and grounded electronet will send him screaming for Mama. The down side of electronet is that you can't use it during snow season, you will need to be sure that weeds don't grow up through the fencing. That's easily accomplished by setting the posts in, and mowing a swath around the fence line, then moving the posts back out. I find that it needs to be done about once/month. But if moving the flock to a new run area, you would typically do that when the weeds start to grow into the fence.
     
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