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How does using a tractor/ark effect the lawn?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by moonhouse, Mar 11, 2007.

  1. moonhouse

    moonhouse New Egg

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    Mar 11, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    I'm a city girl with a lawn. I'm interested in the tractor henhouse and coop to be moved from different areas of the lawn. I'm wondering how that works...is there a bunch of poop on the ground that can be watered into the dirt after the tractor is moved? Does it kill the grass? Do the chickens ruin the grass so they can dust and pick for bugs? I have a concerned hubby who wants the dirt on this before we build the tractor coop. Otherwise we will go with a permanent structure.javascript:insert_text('[​IMG]',%20''); It's for 3 standard hens on a small city lot. So a tractor that will fit the bill...10 feet in length most likely.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2007
  2. pueawjapygrta

    pueawjapygrta Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 28, 2007
    how many chickens? how big of a tractor? how often do you plan on using it? how large is your lawn?
     
  3. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 20, 2007
    Wisconsin
    moonhouse, the key here is to keep it moved. Trial and error is the only way to know.

    bigzio
     
  4. JamesC

    JamesC Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 2, 2007
    moonhouse:
    bigzio is right, you have to move the ark every day. I use 7 of these arks/tractors/field pens and made them with wheels on one end so they could be easily moved by one person. The problem if you have a lawn that you want to keep looking good is that hens, being active little creatures, will make dust holes in very short time. In my set up that's not so much of a problem because the area I use is in back of my house so I just fill the holes with compost and scatter grass seed on and it keeps it in fairly good condition. If you don't want them to make dust holes you have to put hardware cloth on the bottom. The grass can still come up through so they have the benefit of that but they can't dig holes.

    James
     
  5. spencereb

    spencereb Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 17, 2007
    Tennessee
    Moon..
    As big z suggested, trial and error.[​IMG] The weather plays a big factor (rain vs sun), length of day, amount of space, number of chix, how often you roll the tractor, all sorts of variables. The big issue is not really the amount of poo to water in (it seems the biggest concentrations happens at night whereever their coop is). In my experience, it's how fast do they scratch down to the dirt! If you roll daily, you probably would not notice any difference in your lawn at all.[​IMG] If it's winter, and rainey, with a bunch of active hens, and roll once a week, you will see brown squares in your lawn.[​IMG] Trial and error. I have a 16'x4'x4' tractor with six chix in my back yard.[​IMG] I roll every weekend. I see where they've been, but the turf is ready to go in spring, it's not bare and muddy like my permanent run used to be.[​IMG] They are happy and me, too! Don't go permanent! How level is your lawn? More level is better for a tractor. My coop, with feed silo, nest boxes, oystershell dispenser, and perches are all attached to the tractor on wheels. Wheels (adjustable height for moving) at pivot point for easy roll. Just be sure to roll slowly, so you don't hurt their legs (they don't notice the tractor moving when they have fresh pickin's to scratch in!). Three hens, 10'x4'x 3' or 4', with wheels?.... Sounds good to me![​IMG].
    -Spence
     
  6. moonhouse

    moonhouse New Egg

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    Mar 11, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Thanks so much for your input. I appreciate it. Am I getting that the digging and the dust bowl are more of the problem than big piles of poop in the lawn? Also during the summer if I let them run all over the yard will they go to one area that's cool and dusty? Boy..I have lots o questions and the details of the lawn and how to manage them seem hard to grasp ( I have to sell it since I do the garden and the hubby does the lawn).[​IMG]
     
  7. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    The poop is great for the lawn! The dusting, however, is not. [​IMG]
     

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