Keeping vegitation in your run.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bullrunslabs, May 6, 2016.

  1. bullrunslabs

    bullrunslabs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello, I raise chickens in the Pacific Northwest, where mud becomes an issue very quickly. I would like to plant something in my run that the chickens can use for shelter in the rainy season, that will provide shade in the summers, and that will be hardy, yet non-invasive, and of course plants that are SAFE for my chickens.

    Please let me know what you have used that have worked well in your outdoor runs, and how you have protected them until they were established.

    Thank you!
     
  2. 0wen

    0wen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The chickens will most likely decimate anything you try to grow in the run.
     
  3. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Man ain't that the truth. We have an abundance of thorny/sticker type plants everywhere, except in the run. The way my chickens are I'm convinced you could spread gravel in the run and it'd be dirt and mud in a few days. I know of no plants that can survive a chicken occupation.
     
  4. 0wen

    0wen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agreed. I compost in my run and have ground cover consisting of wood chips, dried pine needles, dried leaves, garden waste, lawn clippings, some random pine cones and twigs that were mixed in when I raked up the pine needles. My run is on a slight slope and is located under cover of some maple trees so fortunately it gets quite a bit of shelter from rain (snow, sun, whatever) so it is never really a total mess. The chickens did take it down to dirt quickly though and it would get moist enough to be soft dirt/mud - hence adding the wood chip based covering - I use the same basic mix in the coop and will add the coop litter into the run when it comes time to clear out the DLM. Sometimes I'll get a blade of grass or a weed pop up through the ground covering but the chickens attack it. I can't imagine anything surviving in the run - Maybe Kudzu - but that's a mess that is worse than any chicken or mud issues you will ever have...
     
  5. bullrunslabs

    bullrunslabs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That was exactly the opposite of what I was hoping to hear, but I had a feeling that it was the truth of it. Darn it. it is amazing how destructive they can be for such a small animal.Well Maybe I will try planting some sort of plants along the OUTSIDE of the fence to at least provide a wind break. Kiwis grow very good here, Maybe those for across the top. Thank you all for your input!
     
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I have trees and shrubs outside of the run for shade, and they are fine. Inside the run, maybe a small tree or shrub will work; catnip or other mints are good too. Vines on the chainlink fencing? Be careful with vines; some will be too aggressive for your fence to support. Mary
     
  7. bullrunslabs

    bullrunslabs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you Mary. I am leery of vines here anyway, once things start to grow, they seem to never stop!
     
  8. lynnehd

    lynnehd Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also live in the PNW, and I would suggest that you have a covered run, or at least partially, so they have a drier area during the winter, outside of the coop.
    I also covered the lower 2/3 of my run with 6ml plastic secured with pieces of lath screwed in.
    That's the best shelter I know of during our rainy season.

    Vines planted along the South and West sides of your run will definitely help with shade in the summer! Look for quick growing annual vines.
    If your run is large, a couple of small trees would help; you can put a ring of wire around them to protect the trunk.
    Also shade cloth works well in the summer.
     
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  9. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

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    To add a footnote.........so chickens are destructive to almost all vegetation you can put into a run. Yet we know if they are free ranged, they don't kill everything......so at some point, you can get a large enough run......pasture area.......for them they don't devastate it. So how big is that area? From the sources I've read, that is about 50 birds per acre under "normal" circumstances. That translates into an area of about 875 square feet per bird.........an area that is just under 30' x 30'. So within my 50 x 150.........7500 sf fenced in back yard, I should be able to keep 8 to 9 chickens without them turning the whole thing into a muddy run. But even at that, they will affect things, so I've opened up a second area of similar size to rotate them to and to actually confine them down into on a rotating basis. I'm hoping to take advantage of them scratching, digging and eating everything in sight.....while being confined within......and protected from without.....by electric poultry netting. Just rotate them around, while planting forage crops for them to move back into. Over time, I'm hoping they are going to help me build one really nice garden spot........assuming the varmints don't get them first.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. bullrunslabs

    bullrunslabs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have both covered and uncovered runs. They do not seem to use the covered run, strange critters. The main run has plenty of mature evergreen trees in it, the rooster run is pretty bare. I thought about roses or grape vines too.
     

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