Green Pasture Chicken Run

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by tsiecz, Sep 30, 2011.

  1. tsiecz

    tsiecz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 1, 2011
    Pendleton,NY
    I have an area in my yard I can dedicate to my chickens. The space is about 25' x 30'. I have 8 chickens for this area. If I planted pasture grass do you think the chicken would decimate the area bare? Should I set it up and section it into say 4 or 5 sections and change he grazing area weekly??I can also use a tractor and let this area recooperate as they us the rest of the yard. Suggestions??
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  2. TigerLilly

    TigerLilly I failed Chicken Math

    Jul 18, 2010
    Central Florida
    In a word....YES--to all your questions.
    Although I've seen my chickens clear a section of grass in less than a week!
     
  3. Al Gerhart

    Al Gerhart Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 29, 2011
    Oklahoma City
    Yes, if nothing esle the manure will burn the grass due to the hot nature of chicken manure. Move it around or go to a deep litter pen.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  4. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have my chicken yard divided into two sections slightly larger than the area you described, with about twenty chickens in there, and thought I that by rotating them I could keep it green in there. Well, I sort of did, but the grass is gone now. Virtually the only thing still growing in there is this thick, scraggly mat of this woody weed that survived and out-competed everything else--oh, and and some clumps of lemongrass that I planted, and some mature spiderlily plants and a soursop tree that were already there. Sigh... But at least they have some space to run around in! And they do find the occasional bug under the soursop tree or the odd tender grass or clover shoot, when I rotate over.

    I would either go for a space that's big enough to do a genuine extensive green pasturing/free-ranging system, use the chicken tractor, or go with a deep litter run. To try to squeak by with something in between is just to invite a bare dirt chicken yard, which isn't the end of the world, but it doesn't look so nice, nor is it much use for foraging. [​IMG] Personally, I'm a big fan of deep litter, because I reason the chickens are forest birds, and really enjoy digging through detritus or loose earth looking for insects, which is what they are made to do. So some deep litter, or at least some fallen leaves or mulch in an area of the pen is a nice thing for them. An all grass pasture is a little boring for a chicken anyway...They aren't grazing animals, after all... [​IMG] Of course, at least SOME access to greener or at least some leafy greens is important for proper nutrition and good quality eggs and meat.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2011
  5. carolinasculpture

    carolinasculpture Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi! I have 10 chickens, 9 hens and one roo in a 50x50 chain-link enclosure attached to their coop. I don't have it divided and much to mu surprise, I still have grass! I have even mowed it this summer. I was terrified the first time I mowed it, but it seems to have come back even thicker! However, I have only had them in this run since May of this year so I am not sure what will happen when the grass "dies" this winter and then comes in again in the spring. Good luck!
     
  6. NottinghamChicks

    NottinghamChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:My fenced area encompasses both grass, woods, and the two coops and is approx 75x90'. I have 13 birds that roam on most days and I have to mow it! I am trying to get some more pullets to help them out but cannot find any for sale. The wooded area makes up only 1/8th of the area and is probably their favorite area. Lots of perches, bugs, salmanders etc. They are apparently quite happy because no one has flown the coop yet [​IMG]
     
  7. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 13, 2008
    Quote:My fenced area encompasses both grass, woods, and the two coops and is approx 75x90'. I have 13 birds that roam on most days and I have to mow it! I am trying to get some more pullets to help them out but cannot find any for sale. The wooded area makes up only 1/8th of the area and is probably their favorite area. Lots of perches, bugs, salmanders etc. They are apparently quite happy because no one has flown the coop yet [​IMG]

    Sounds like a real chicken paradise! I'm a little jealous... [​IMG]
     
  8. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

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    Forks, WA
    Either make your run bigger or let the grass grow completely before adding chickens.


    I have a 30' x 40' run with grass in it that never fails, and the run has withstood up to 9 chickens on it, the grass was still healthy and green and covered about 90% of the run. The trick was mainly allowing the grass to be completely mature before putting the chickens in.

    Because our winters never get as bad as most places in the US though, this is as bad as it gets. The grass is short but still plenty. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    (pardon the molting Polish)
     
  9. tsiecz

    tsiecz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 1, 2011
    Pendleton,NY
    I tilled and planted a pasture mix I got from Johnney seed co. It has clover,vetch,winter rye, winter pea, and wheat. I may have missed something. Its about 3 weeks old and had not planned on putting them on it until next spring. Still planning in the planning stage as to how I should fence it in. Great looking , chickens.
     
  10. swamy

    swamy Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 28, 2011
    My set-up is 4 pens offering almost 30 square feet per bird....8 larger breed birds. I went the entire summer with only two areas and they've held up ok....just finished building the other two pens though. All four pens feed off a 3 foot wide run coming off the pop door. Gates are closed for three, with the active one open. The HUGE factor in all of this is the weather and your ability to irrigate and maintain the closed off areas.

    I had to mow once this year when we got into a rainy spell. Now that it has been dry my first two pens are in need of maintenance. I plan to rake out/de-thatch/overseed/irrigate the pens that are resting to keep them lush. 10 days in each pen gives 30 days to get each pen into shape....plenty of time to bring them back as long as damage is only 20-30 percent.

    It's a work in progress and if I need larger areas I will extend each one out another 10-20 feet.
     

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