pasturing chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by cookfromscratch, May 19, 2011.

  1. cookfromscratch

    cookfromscratch New Egg

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    I read an article yesterday about portable coops and pasturing chickens so they are more free range than a run but more contained than free range. I loved the article but wondered if anyone else is actually doing it besides the author of the article.


    We live on a farm property but rent it. We do not want build a permanent house as we want to be able to take it with us when we leave here.
     
  2. Player Hater

    Player Hater Chillin' With My Peeps

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  3. BlueBetween

    BlueBetween Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm trying to figure out how I can do it. Not exactly the way in that article, but with temporary fences in different areas of the yard and then back to the coop (mine won't move around the yard) at night. I have several areas of the yard that the chickens would like that we almost never go into except to pull ivy and blackberry runners... I don't mind letting them scratch around in there... but I need to find a fence/pen system that is easy to move around and set up that will contain them.
     
  4. Player Hater

    Player Hater Chillin' With My Peeps

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    some people here use portable dogrun fencing and cover the top with something

    browse around in the threads, and use the search box; you'll see tons of pictures and discussion about various kinds of temporary runs
     
  5. JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom

    JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We do during spring, summer and fall. In Wisconsin winters, birds need suitable quarters.

    We live on a farm where we rent fields out to a neighbor. As he is trying to get a corn or soybean crop, we needed to keep the birds out of his fields.

    We use Premier Electronet fencing.

    http://www.premier1supplies.com/fencing.php?species_id=6

    The fence can be moved fairly easily. Some years we move the birds around the yard over the course of the summer, so no one spot gets too abused. The birds love being penned with the raspberries and other "jungly" vegetation. Other years we leave them more in one place and move the fence slightly to mow the grass it comes in contact with and then back to the original place. Currently they are all in an alphafa field and loving it, with mouse and snake hunting and hiding in the tall plants. We are enjoying watching them from the deck, so I think they will stay there this year.

    We can easily divide up different groups within a large enclosure with non-electrified non-metal fence such as green snow fence. The Roosters can see each other and will sometimes try to fight through it, but so far they get over it and back to running around enjoying the dust baths and bug-chasing.

    We have not lost a bird to predators with this set up, but we have lost two that became entangled in the fence. We believe they were scared in by a hawk. We now sometimes hang old CDs or stretch police/caution tape from fence post to fence post to discourage swoops that startle the birds.

    We use no-bottom sliding hoop houses.

    http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/4hpoultry/t02_pageview/Hoop_House.htm

    Just slide them to a new spot each morning and the poop needs no cleanup, goes right into the soil with the next rain.

    These are especially good for groups of young birds. We made a taller one for older birds, but now it is too heavy for me to easily move it. It stays in one place longer than the rest.

    We made outdoor, free-standing nest boxes so we would not have to crawl in to the back of the low huts to collect eggs. The birds use them, so we must have done all right.

    We have not had a lot of wind issues during summer thunderstorms. They could be staked down if we were concerned.

    Most feeding and watering chores are very easy, hoses to fill buckets do not require great care. Feeders sit just inside the huts on rainy days. The amount of bought feed needed goes down some, as they eat a lot of plants and what animals they can catch. But you still need to feed them if you want eggs or weight gain for butchering.

    We have only one hen who has learned the secret: she can fly OVER the 42" high electric fence. The others could also, but were trained from a young age to know the fence "hurts" so they do not even try. This renegade hen has become a pest/pet, choosing to lay her eggs in the cat litter box in the garage and following us around the yard.

    I'll have to take pictures someday.

    Good luck to you!
     
  6. ParadiseFoundFarm

    ParadiseFoundFarm Goddess of Good Things

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    I have both a chicken tractor and moveable fencing.
    I find the chicken tractor is not enough for the amount of birds I have unless I move it 2 times a day. I did that all last year. In the winter I moved them close to the house, put a tarp under and I changed the bedding in there very often. I promised my old, battered body that this spring, summer and fall would be different.
    This year, we put the tractor inside a large acre enclosure of electrified web fencing by Premier 1. No, I don't work for that company. The fencing is moveable, You can take it with you when you leave. Start at one point on your building and end at another - it does not need to make a complete circle. It does no damage to the rental property you are on. I has deterred 100 lb dogs. It has deterred hungry coyotes. A possum, raccoon or skunk will not cross the fence. the birds repect it mostly. It is not for flighty birds.
    We bought 400' of 48" high fencing, upgraded posts, extra grounding rods and over powered it with a solar charger. $1,000.00 later, I am very pleased.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  7. BlueBetween

    BlueBetween Chillin' With My Peeps

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    that premier fencing sounds great - thank you!! As far as the blackberry runners go... I imagine i'm over-worrying about their feet? Or should I go cut the vines all back before I put the girls in that area?
     
  8. farmer4eva

    farmer4eva Out Of The Brooder

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    i have chicken tractor that works well for chicks and 3-4 hens i will try to pictures when i can [​IMG]
     
  9. JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom

    JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I believe they will simply work around the brambles. Ours worked around fallen raspberry brambles, no foot injuries were noted.

    However, if you cut the brambles to the ground, they will probably eat the new sprouts as they come up. The birds could eliminate the blackberries in the penned area over time. That may or may not be something you want done.

    Although I am very fond of the Premier electronet, I will admit it is expensive. They have a sale for about a month in the fall.

    We currently have a Bull fencer from Fleet Farm running on about 590 ft of fence. It works well all the way around. Cheap solar fencers will work well on smaller sections, but do not ask them to handle more than 84 ft of fence. When selecting a fencer, remember there are 5 or so wires that need to be charged in the electronet, so a 1 mile fencer may not be enough.
     
  10. jamband

    jamband Chillin' With My Peeps

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