How large of a yard outside the coop/run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by diana_of_the_dunes, May 22, 2012.

  1. diana_of_the_dunes

    diana_of_the_dunes In the Brooder

    Feb 22, 2009
    St. Joseph County, IN
    Hubby and I have had chickens for a few years now. We had always let them free range, which the neighbors were all okay with. But today we got a note from the Humane Society saying that we need to contain our birds. We have a nice coop and run, but if they're going to be in there full-time, I'd like them to have more space. I was wondering how much room 5 birds need in order to maintain the grass cover. I don't want just a dirt yard; I'd prefer for them to have the benefits of free-ranging, just in a smaller area. We have half an acre of property, but don't want to fence the whole thing!
  2. 5 birds need every inch of a 1/2 acre around here to find nourishment. Your yard may be much, much richer. If it is merely the grass cover you're mostly concerned about, I'd highly recommend having 4 runs. Each need to be 30x20, let's just say. Then, rotate them on a weekly basis. This gives time for the previous runs to recover. All it really takes is water. Goodness knows, they'll be fertilized adequately.

    To make life easier, I might also suggest light weight, easy to put up and take down poly netting. It is primarily sold as deer netting, but it makes great chicken fencing. A 100' roll, 7' high runs about $75 at our local Home Depot.

    Last edited: May 22, 2012
  3. chfite

    chfite Songster

    Jun 7, 2011
    Taylors, SC
    Just wondering where the Humane Society fits into all of this.

  4. Whittni

    Whittni Crowing

    Mar 26, 2011
    Southern Utah
    I'd think they were worried about feces...but it kinda doesn't fit.
  5. diana_of_the_dunes

    diana_of_the_dunes In the Brooder

    Feb 22, 2009
    St. Joseph County, IN
    Wow, sorry. I must not have my settings on automatic subscriptions. I had no idea there were replies here!

    I'm not quite sure what the neighbor's real issue was, as they didn't bother to come talk to us. I thought that I had spoken with everyone prior to getting the birds, but I either missed someone or they changed their mind. I would guess that they were upset about the feces, though personally I appreciate free fertilizer in exchange for bug control! Regardless, the Humane Society just left us a note saying that no violations had been observed, but they had been called out for a complaint about uncontained chickens. I didn't bother calling them about it. It was never my intent to upset my neighbors, and I'd be looking for a containment solution if they'd have just come to talk with us instead of using the Humane Society as a screen/threat.

    But anyways... Fred's Hens, I ended up with a plan similar to yours. I bought 100 ft of portable fencing from Premier1 Supply. It is able to be electrified, but since I shut my birds in the coop at night, I didn't see the need to charge it. The entire roll weighs about 20 lbs, and it is attached to PVC posts with U-shaped stakes. It's perfect. I have been moving it every 3-4 days, and it only takes 15 minutes or so to set (I'm sure it could be moved more quickly, but I'm hugely pregnant at the moment!). Because I don't have any portable nesting boxes, the rotation has simply been around my coop, but we are working on fabricating something portable with a roof that I can move about the yard. Then I can set up the fence away from the coop, lure the birds in with some treats, and leave them there until it's time for them to go to roost. I figure if I open it up 30-60 minutes before sunset, the chickens won't have much inclination to go far from home, so I won't have to worry about upsetting anyone. [​IMG]

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