Improving my free range ideas.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Harvest Mint, Dec 10, 2016.

  1. Harvest Mint

    Harvest Mint Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 16, 2016
    Philadelphia, Tennessee
    I have a large yard between two houses on my property that I can't do much with because it is a septic tank drainage field so my parents have always told me. It's mostly fenced in but my dog is an escape artists and can't be kept there. There is an apple tree and a weeping willow. Some other ornamental tree and some me fir trees lining the side of my house. Wysteria grows all along the fence parallel to the road. It wouldn't take much to make the fence chicken appropriate. I was just thinking of what might make it safer to use as a free range area.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I find my birds stick to cover or close to it during free ranging. The only time the venture into the open for long periods is if the roosters are along for look outs. So good cover like trees and bushes, or even things like trampolines and tables to duck under will be used by chickens.
     
  3. Harvest Mint

    Harvest Mint Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 16, 2016
    Philadelphia, Tennessee
    I have been reading up on cutting feed costs plant fruit bearing plants. If I am correct some berries got on bushes. Those would provide more covered foraging.
     
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    If cutting feed costs is your goal, variety of forage is important. Mowed lawns provide greens. Letting patches go to seed will provide grains. Not raking leaves under the trees will provide a habitat for all sorts of insects. Basically, to make a typical yard into a place for chickens to forage, means you need to 'let it go' a bit. It's not going to be a neat and pretty yard any longer.
     
  5. Harvest Mint

    Harvest Mint Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 16, 2016
    Philadelphia, Tennessee
    Oh we hate mowing that area anyway. The plants alway seem to grow faster there than any where else and I believe it because of all the available moisture in the soil.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Sounds like it could be a nice area for the birds. Some open area, some nice cover. I agree try not mowing, or just mow pathways and let some of the grass go to seed this next year.

    I'd say collect some leaves this fall and put them down under the cover. Get a start on some nice insect habitat.
     
  7. Harvest Mint

    Harvest Mint Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 16, 2016
    Philadelphia, Tennessee
    We even have an old school push mower. No motor, all man power. Thinking about planting Veggies on the outside of the fence and the chickens can eat what grows on their side and the rest will be for the family.
     
  8. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    You have to keep veggies fenced off, or the chickens will eat or scratch up everything. It's a challenge to keep my flock out of the veggie beds. The Barred Rocks and Easter Eggers seem to be able to find ways in, no matter how hard I try.
     
  9. Harvest Mint

    Harvest Mint Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 16, 2016
    Philadelphia, Tennessee
    I am going to place them on the outside of the fence with head sized openings so they can only eat what they can reach. Plus I will throw them all the scraps.
     
  10. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    You may be very surprised at what they can reach through 'head-sized' openings.
     

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