Paddock System in Permanent Run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ChicksMN, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. ChicksMN

    ChicksMN In the Brooder

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    So I am a newbie to BYC and this is officially my first post! After years of lurking on here and reading up on backyard chickens, we are reading to dive in! We bought a 6'x8' coop off Craigslist and are hoping to build our run this fall. After reading a lot about the paddock system, I'm wondering if it can be done in a permanent run and not just a pasture setting. We plan to start with 6 laying hens and likely wouldn't go above 10. We were thinking of doing roughly 4 10'x10' permanently fenced runs/paddocks that we would rotate them through. We live in MN and have many predators in our area so we would use hardware cloth on the exteriors and top (of course burying an apron as well).

    What I am wondering is....is 100 sq/ft large enough for 6-10 hens that they won't decimate the run in 1 week? Has anyone had success in creating a run like this?

    Thanks for any insights you may have. There is a wealth of information on here and I'm hoping to gain knowledge from the experts!
     
    HeidiEmbrey and Amanita like this.
  2. citychknraising

    citychknraising In the Brooder

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    I just built a 10x10 run for my 4 girls. It's already a dirt hole (admittedly, some of the mess was from digging the trench to bury hardware cloth). Considering a method like the one you spoke of so I can rotate them through runs when they tear the current run up. I'm interested to see what everyone else has to say about this.
     
    ChicksMN likes this.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Welcome out of the BYC 'closet'!

    Might take them 2 weeks... ;) ..depends on what's growing there.
    Sorry.
    Tho that fits the '10sqft per bird in run' 'rule of thumb',
    that number is a bare minimum for avoiding crowing and behavioral issues.
    Has nothing to do with vegetation...there really is no number for that as it's highly dependent on climate and plants present. I've seen many try to ascertain it, there were a couple threads in the past that came close to with reasonable experiments with positive results, can't remember the numbers tho, probably 10x the 'rule of thumb'.

    I would be very hesitant with using HC for a run roof, snow load could crush it, depending on your framing under the HC and your ability to remove snow if it got too deep up there. Even my 2x4 mesh run roof holds snow if the conditions are right.
     
    ChicketySplit and ChicksMN like this.
  4. Kusanar

    Kusanar Crowing

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    Your grass would have it's best chance of surviving if you put wire down on the ground to keep them from scratching and digging up the roots, also if you hose off each section really well after moving them to spread the nitrogen in the manure out so that it fertilizes but doesn't burn the plants.
     
    ChicksMN likes this.
  5. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Sr Chicken Wrangler

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    Hi, welcome to BYC

    Join us Minnesotans on Surviving Minnesota...

    The size is fine the problem you will have will come in the spring. I live on sand in the central part of the state. My runs turn to mud because of chicken poop. If you could have 2 runs that size so come spring you can move them it would help.

    I use a roto-tiller to chew up the poop and help it mix into the sand. That might help you. Predators are terrible here. I lost a ton of birds to them this year. I think I even lost a kitten to something in the last week.

    Be sure to cover what ever size run you go with. Hawks and eagles like chicken....a lot!

    I suggest you get some of those "tube" traps made just for raccoons also as a pre-emptitive strike on them.
    Good luck

    I am sure others on https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/surviving-minnesota.1052702/page-2748#post-19082944 will be able to help you, you might even find a neighbor who would show you how they handle the problems you have.

    See ya!
     
    ChicksMN likes this.
  6. ChicksMN

    ChicksMN In the Brooder

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    Wow! Am I reading that right? Do you mean to say that the successful experiments had roughly 100 sq ft per bird?

    Also, great point on the HC for a roof. What material would you recommend up there?
     
  7. ChicksMN

    ChicksMN In the Brooder

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  8. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Sr Chicken Wrangler

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  9. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

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    A split run can help keep grass going but it really doesn't take the birds long to decimate it. Rotating them through pens might help but realistically 6 birds in 10x10 pens will destroy the vegetation faster than you can rotate to allow it to regrow.

    Another alternative is to have one pen serve as the main one and have restricted access to the others, to allow the vegetation more time to recover. I have 4 birds with a main run and a second run with garden beds, about 500 sq ft total. The only reason I have any grass at all is because I restrict access to the second run. I open the gate between the two runs for a couple hours a day as long as it's not too wet (wet ground gets torn up far faster). I have about 40% grass remaining in there now, started last fall at about 80% grass.
     
    aart likes this.
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    How does that hold up to the snow?
    How do you support it?
    Pics after a 12" fall?
     

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