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Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Chickengirl1304, Sep 20, 2012.
Everyone gives formulas. 10 sq ft per bird type formulas. Truth is that the variables are numerous.
45 penned chickens will certainly scald off a half acre, quite honestly. It will take them awhile, but without rotation, they'll accomplish the task by picking, pecking, scratching, digging, dust bathing etc. They'll be on plain dirt within a month or two. Lots of options here for alternative styles of management, if you wish to discuss them. In any case, what do you envision?
They eat later feed and vegetable waste from our restaurant and are egg layers
If you have adaquate acreage, consider a portable fencing system. I have an electric net fence and a trailer coop with about 80 chickens. It works great for me, they get fresh pasture and I just move it when they finish mowing for me
Really? Half an acre?
My 150 birds haven't even come close, and we have 2 acres. It's been since April.
LOL Well, of course, each situation is different, but we had 35-40 birds on the ground this summer and they tore through a half acre in about 60 days. Reduced to dirt. I just rotated the yard yesterday, (I fell behind and should have done it after 45 days) but now that I'm down to my winter flock of 20, they'll not tear up their new piece as fast. Our soil is sandy and grass grows ever so slowly. We also had drought and heat, unusually, unbearably so, this summer, which did not help.
The point remains that most folks really, really underestimate the ability of 4 dozen birds on a piece of pasture to reduce it to scorched earth.
Another factor to remember is that 4 dozen birds poop a lot. On our soil type, they putrefy the ground quickly. That's just another factor in whether one needs rotation for their pasture. A fixed pen, even a huge fixed pen, with that many birds, sometimes gets the full Monte of pecking, grazing to nubbins, scratching, digging, and a heavy manure load. Some soils and grass combination can handle that task, while many others simply cannot. YMMV
I still have to mow. I wish they'd help me out a bit
We never have droughts, so that is probably where our situation differed. No sand in our yard
I so miss timely rains in the summer. It is but a memory.....
We don't fence our pasture for them. I plan to eventually when my LGD is a bit older. The chickens don't need the fencing, but she definitely does. Forgot to mention that my birds spend a lot of their time doing their scratching in the woods. They range on the grass after 3pm. I've notice that pattern. It's getting earlier and earlier as the days are getting shorter and colder. My grass is very healthy and green Hasn't even looked this good. I refuse to mow it right now. My geese should get all the greens they can eat before winter hits.