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Free Range Space Requirements

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by juniebug, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. juniebug

    juniebug New Egg

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    Jun 12, 2016
    I just finished my new coop and run. The coop is 5x5 and the run is 6x12. I have a fenced backyard that is about a 1/4 acre that I plan on letting the chickens free range in all day. My yard is nicely landscaped and I want my children to be able to play outside in a nice place. I'm trying to figure out how many chickens I can keep free range in my yard and not have it turn into a barren wasteland. I had 4 outside all summer and their droppings just mixed with the grass and I never had any trouble with waste management. Well chicken math hit and I now have 4 hens, 3 silkies, and 10 chicks. I don't know yet who is a rooster (can't keep any roosters). Do you think I can keep a total of 10 and not have my yard turn to waste?
     
  2. BruceAZ

    BruceAZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Valley of the Sun :)
    it will depend on your area

    my yard is nothing but bare earth now..

    the chickens ate most of the remaing grass + hot temperature + no water killed the rest of the grass in my yard

    if your grass will grow back as fast as the chickens can eat them and you don't have to worry about the shortage of water.. i'm sure you will be fine

    but be careful if you have dogs or humans who will also use the yard.. since stepping on the manure might be common..

    to prevent the spread of salmonella i would suggest to check your pets' paws and use a different pair of shoes when outside in the yard
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  3. juniebug

    juniebug New Egg

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    Jun 12, 2016
    Thank you! I do have sprinklers in my yard and so far the grass in the back is growing great. Is it the chickens eating the grass or the poop that destroy the yard? I've definitely got some burned grass where the food spilled out, but that is much better now I'm hanging the feeder. I did have to make adjustments so my lawn sprinklers don't hit the chicken coop and run. It was getting soggy and stinky. But now that it's drier it's a lot better. They do dig a lot, but are always in the mulch and dirt in my shrubs and not really on the grass.
    Thanks for the warning about salmonella. We have really had to increase hand washing and baths. And my laundry has tripled. My boys that are 2,4,6,7 like to sit in the run with the chicks. [​IMG]
    I guess time will tell. Is there a general rule, like if each chicken has 100 square feet or 500 square feet the landscape can regrow as fast as the droppings and eating destroy it?
    I'm providing food and water in the run so they don't rely on the yard for sustenance.
     
  4. BruceAZ

    BruceAZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Valley of the Sun :)
    for me--it was due to the chickens and lack of water.. i live in the desert so o do not want to waste water

    if you want to have a beautiful yard.. having chickens might backfired

    biosecurity is important

    [​IMG]

    so use a 2nd pair of shoes for walking around the yard and in the coop/run.. if your kids are sitting down in the run i would advice against that since they might sit on the manure and then bring it in the house

    check shoes and clothes before going in the house.. also WASH HANDS each time you pick up the chickens! since the chickens do walk/lie on their on manure after all


    the definition of free ranging can vary

    USDA only stated "access to the outside" and that's is it ...

    for some people "free ranging" means the chickens will be foraging their own food

    for space per chicken-- i think Australia has various numbers

    skip to @2:40 of this movie for the numbers

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  5. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Long Beach, WA
    Regardless of whether you free range or not, the coop is only big enough for 6 Leghorn type birds. That is the most you should have in a coop that size.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  6. AllynTal

    AllynTal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mississippi Gulf Coast
    Precisely. There was no mention of expanding the coop, so right now, the coop is the limiting factor, not the yard. You already have too many birds for the existing coop.
     

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