Help on floor for covered run, chickens digging up cherry tree roots

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Phantom309, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. Phantom309

    Phantom309 New Egg

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    Oct 27, 2010
    Hi, we have a covered run outside our chicken coop. The run is under the cherry tree and the floor of the run is dirt. Well over the last year the chickens (9 of them) have started to uncover the roots of the cherry tree. We are ordering dirt to cover the roots again but the problem will just persist, so needing some advice on what we might do. (also getting dirt all the time is expensive) I clean up the poops and mess twice a day and will continue doing this (we live in the city and I wish to keep on the good side of my neighbours) but need some medium that will not hide the poop so I can get at it and something that keeps the chickens from digging to the centre of the world. Also need materials that won't harm the cherry tree too much. Any suggestions? Thanks so much. Penny
     
  2. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    More room may help. Chickens dig. Perhaps a fence around the cherry tree to protect the roots. You could install the new soil and lay fencing over it to keep them from digging there.

    Hope this helps.

    Chris
     
  3. Phantom309

    Phantom309 New Egg

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    Oct 27, 2010
    Thanks Chris. Will have to see if that could work. Appreciate your thoughts. Penny
     
  4. Jaxon4141

    Jaxon4141 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens love to dig. Digging between roots of a tree is a chickens play ground. How big is your run and how much area of the the run does the tree roots take up. Trees have a way of barking the exterior of exposed roots. If you do lay wire on the ground try to use a heavier gage wire. Chicken wire when buried does not have give to it and the wire is thin, it can cause injury to their feet. Hardware cloth has a similar problem with small openings and still thin wire. I personally like 2"x4" 14 gage fencing. It allows for shallow digging but they will not be able to dig holes.
     
  5. Phantom309

    Phantom309 New Egg

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    Oct 27, 2010
    Jaxon:
    This is from my partner:

    I appreciate all the responses. Jaxon's was especially useful given our circumstances. Our enclosed outdoor run is a 14' X 14' area immediately under a large, +100 year old producing cherry tree. The chickens have exposed the roots in nearly all of the run and to a depth of close to two feet deep in spots. I understand your comment that tree roots develop bark for protection. However, the problem I see is that gullies created by the chickens will need to be filled with topsoil to get a surface sufficiently level to lay the 14 gauge fencing. At that point, would it be sensible to put in a couple of inches of gravel and sand before the fencing or would the fencing provide enough protection to the topsoil to eliminate this step! Thanks!

    John
     
  6. Jaxon4141

    Jaxon4141 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The chickens will not be able to dig very deep under the wire, maybe an inch or so. You can easily push with the back side of a rake and fill ever thing back in will little effort. You make out of it with game with your chickens, they love a new challenge. Most feeder root on a tree are at the dip line of the tree. That's were I would pay most attention to.
     
  7. Jaxon4141

    Jaxon4141 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One more thing. Could you post a picture of your 100+ year old cherry tree? That is very impressive and I would love to see it.
     
  8. Dawson Zoo

    Dawson Zoo New Egg

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    Mar 20, 2012
    I think that putting down large gage wire after you fill in the holes and cover the roots is a great idea. On top of the wire you might think about adding more dirt or possibly something even heavier, and possibly a little harder to dig (but still water permeable) like gravel. However, you asked about a material that you could scoop or rake out on a daily basis and I think a thick layer of hay, coffee chaff, dried leaves, pine needles or a mix etc. would work really well. Chickens love to dig, but they don't necessarily have to dig deep holes in the dirt, they still get a kick out of digging through litter. All of that stuff is pretty cheap, breaks down in a compost fairly easily, and quickly dries out and covers the smell of poop. :) Tell us what you decide to do and how it works out.
     
  9. Phantom309

    Phantom309 New Egg

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    Oct 27, 2010
    Hi, thanks Jaxon for the extra information. I have just been given a digital camera so need to find out how to work it. I know I'm behind the times. At the moment my niece has taken it to New York on a holiday. Will forward a picture of our tree when she gets back. Yes we love our cherry tree and we still get cherries when it's doesn't rain too much in the spring which is what has been happening in wet Vancouver BC for the past several years. Ah well. Thanks again for the information!! Penny
     
  10. Phantom309

    Phantom309 New Egg

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    Oct 27, 2010
    Thanks Dawson Zoo. We have ordered the dirt and going to get the wire and see what happens from there. Appreciate your time. Penny
     

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