Chicken yard questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Dove1B, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. Dove1B

    Dove1B Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 8, 2013
    Ok, 2 questions. I hadn't given any thought to this until today when my chicks began jumping out of their brooder, but now I'm worried about my fence. My focus was on keeping the predators out, but I hadn't really thought it would be a problem to keep the chickens in!! My fence is 4 feet tall. I started reading about it today and apparently they can clear 4 feet easily and even 6 feet won't keep them in if they want out. So what do I do? My main concern is them jumping the fence and getting eaten by dogs.
    Also, I'm about to plant some more grass seed and other plants in their 'yard' (everything should be established by the time I get them out there) and I was wondering if I planted a garden or put some raised beds/planters in there, would they just destroy the plants or would they pick what they wanted and let the plants grow?
  2. Toshi

    Toshi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2011
    IN corn state
    For your run you should really have a top on it anyways. What you can do is get Deer Net, then you can put it over the top, rise it a bit that way you can still get in the run. Tops are better anyways for raccoons or anything.
  3. OCpeep

    OCpeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 8, 2012
    Orange County, CA
    We built a 42" fence around two sides of the garden and coop/run a month or so ago. The chickens are happy to stay in the fenced area so far. Two of our three chickens have flown to the top of the fence, but they haven't gone to the other side (yet). We have a 6-foot block wall that surrounds our backyard that the chickens have not gone over or even tried to go over.

    The grass may not last long even if it's established depending on the size of the area.

    I have raised beds in the garden. Chickens will leave some stuff alone while eating other stuff down to the ground. They like carrot greens, beet greens, and broccoli greens. Tomato plants are fine as long as they are established. They destroyed some tomato plants that I was growing from seed that were about 6" tall. My chickens will eat tomatoes off the plant. They left my pumpkins, watermelon, and cucumbers alone. They liked the corn stalks when they were small but left them alone once they grew larger. These observations are from last year's garden. I plan on protecting my beds this year from the chickens where I didn't do that last year.

    Good luck with your yard and garden!
    1 person likes this.
  4. Dove1B

    Dove1B Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 8, 2013
    There's no way I could put a top on it, it's way too big
  5. Dove1B

    Dove1B Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 8, 2013
    OCpeep, I read that they will scratch the grass away. What size area might be big enough that grass wouldn't die? I have four chicks but plan on about 2 more. My coop is around 6x8 and 7 feet tall. I will be building a covered run attached that will be around 10x10, not quite sure yet. Their "yard" is about 50x60, and has the 4 foot hog fence. I want to let them free range when I'm home, but my pasture just has barbed wire which they could easily get out of if they wanted to, so I'm not sure about that.
  6. JesseK

    JesseK Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2012
    I can't remember what the thread was called, but there were some really neat pictures on here a few weeks ago of a chicken yard with raised beds. The poster had made some kind of wood framed screens that went on top of the beds. That way the chickens could stand on top of the frames, eat the tops off the plants, but not rip them out or eat them down to the roots. If they have access to the whole plant, I think they will eat it down to nothing.

    I don't know that I would even try to seed grass...I think it will be a futile attempt, in my opinion.

    I have a four foot Premier electric fence. If I keep their wings clipped (just one side), they don't get out for the most part. They do occasionally get out...maybe once every couple months. But it hasn't been a big problem.

    Good luck! I love the raised beds idea [​IMG]
  7. CrazyPetunias

    CrazyPetunias Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 1, 2013
    You may have a hard time having anything grow in the run for them. Instead, you can try potted plants along the fence line for them to eat. You can change up the treats daily if you want.

    I have a few pots of catnip and basil that I am doing this with now. Within a day, all the leaves are stripped from the plants on the fence side. As long as the chicks don't strip the whole plant, it will grow back. My chicks really like the herbs and they are good for them.
  8. UnlabeledMama

    UnlabeledMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2012
    Western North Carolina
    I have seen pictures of ropes being strung evenly across the top of the chick run a foot apart or so) to stop hawks and from chickens flying out. Would that work for you?
  9. Dove1B

    Dove1B Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 8, 2013
    Hmm, I guess I will have to wait and play it by ear. I don't know that it would really be practical to string 50 foot ropes up every few feet.
    Why will it be so hard for grass to grow? I know they like to scratch, but I figured they'd have enough space not to wear the ground out.
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Here's one discussion that might help answer your question better than...'because they will destroy it by scratching'.

    Here's the very nicely protected raised garden beds, pics of those start on post #15 of this thread:

    It's hard to know just what problems you'll have until you get chickens in your yard. I would strongly suggest that you spend some time reading the predators and pests forum as well as this Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance forum and learn from other peoples successes and failures before building your coop and run.

    Good Luck and Have Fun!

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