first time using a chicken ark.... will my lawn be able to handle it??

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kathrync, Oct 4, 2014.

  1. kathrync

    kathrync Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2013
    I just moved my 5 girls from a coop/run into a 4x8 chicken ark. My plan is to move the ark once per day onto fresh grass, and my lawn is big enough to give each section of grass about 10-12 days of "rest" before moving the ark back onto the same spot. Do you think that will give the grass enough time to recover? I know how quickly chickens can decimate grass, but I also want them to have the health benefits of being raised on pasture. Anyone have any experience with chicken ark rotation in their backyard?
     
  2. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a homemade chicken tractor 3'x8'x3'tall. We move it every other day. It currently has 5 roosters in it. We do let them free range everyday also. But the time we are at work-8 to 10hrs a day, plus night time, they are in the chicken tractor. Your plan sounds like it will work. 10-12 days is plenty of time for the lawn to recoup from 5 hens.[​IMG]
     
  3. kathrync

    kathrync Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2013
    Thanks, Outpost! That is reassuring :)
     
  4. kathrync

    kathrync Out Of The Brooder

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    well, my girls have spent two full days in the ark, and I can already tell that they are going to destroy my lawn :( The problem is that they will scratch, scratch, scratch in one spot until they rip up the grass completely. There will be bare spots everywhere if I let them keep it up. I think I'm going to have to put some chicken wire on the bottom of the ark to prevent them from scratching that much. And, I think letting them out to free range in the evening for an hour before dark will give them plenty of opportunity to scratch.

    *sigh*

    It's tough finding a balance between giving the chickens what they need and also having a half-decent backyard!
     
  5. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    UGH! Not good. Sorry. Our yard is not a "proper" pretty grass kind of yard. We are farmers that live in the country & don't really care about pretty yards. It was not mowed for years before we moved here. We mowed it down to a nice short length & then in the spring we bring out the chicken tractor & move in around the back part & do not have to mow that area because the chickens mow it. Works for us. Hopefully like you said, you can find a balance.
     
  6. kathrync

    kathrync Out Of The Brooder

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    Sometimes I wish we lived in the country and not in the suburbs... just so I could have an excuse to have a "wild" yard, haha! I put some chicken wire on the ground underneath the ark for a temporary fix, and it seems to help. I'm gonna arm myself with a staple gun tomorrow and put some permanent wire on and pray that it works!

    [​IMG]
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Be careful with those staples. They are pretty light weight, and can easily be dislodged, causing choking/perforation injuries to chickens.
     
  8. kathrync

    kathrync Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks LG :) I was thinking if I wrapped the wire around to the outside of the ark and stapled it on the sides, there will be less chance of them becoming loose and falling out :) We'll see how it goes!
     
  9. kathrync

    kathrync Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2013
    Just an update for anyone that might be interested:

    I put 1" chicken wire on the bottom of the ark a few days ago, and so far it seems to be doing what I intended it to do. The chickens don't scratch the ground bare anymore, although they aren't very good at eating the grass evenly! haha. They have a tendency to eat the grass very short in some places and hardly at all in others. So, my lawn will never look great. (not that it ever did before... we've never been very good at yardwork around here.)

    Despite the grass looking uneven, I am really liking the fact that cleaning up the poop is so easy now! Every time I move the ark, I use a small rake to collect as much of the droppings as I can and throw them in the compost bin. Then I just use the sprayer on the hose to water in any remaining poop into the grass. So much better than having a dusty, dirty run with poops that are difficult to clean up completely! Not to mention the icky mud in the wet winter-time.

    I do wish my yard was a little larger so I could have more options for ark placement. We have 3 small kids and a swing set, so I do have to leave some space for that, lol.
     
  10. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] I love our chicken tractor. DH thought it would be a good idea to let the grass grow in the back of our property & then mow it down in the fall for hay........That's when I got the chicken tractor in gear! (pun intended) So I kept moving it over the area he wants to grow hay. The problems I have with the hay idea is bugs, looks, and it would never get mowed!

    What I do is when I move the chicken tractor I do a quick run over the grass the chickens have ate with a push mower. On the bright side, the chickens are also fertilizing your lawn. So, next year your lawn will be greener than the neighbors[​IMG]
     

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