Permanent Pasture/Chicken Run Sizing (Want to keep it green)

Welllaidacres

Songster
Jan 2, 2020
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170
116
Eastern Illinois
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I fully recognize this is just one data point, and that scaling it up is probably not linear math, but it might still be helpful.
I currently have only 4 chickens. Their Chicken Palace provides just over 400 sq feet of predator-secure space. Most of that has a solid roof but a small amount is alternating 'pasture' that they destroy very fast.
In addition, this summer I fenced off about 650 sq feet of pasture. They were not out in it all day every day as it is not predator secure. I would guesstimate they got out in it most days for many hours because we had work going on outdoors and I relied on the presence of people to keep the predators away. But then there were rain days and days when they only got a few hours roaming.
Anyway, with that load they are not even keeping the grass trimmed let alone denuding the area.
One other observation, they scratch up newly sprouted grass etc. much, much, faster than older established plants with a real mat of roots. So you may want to leave one of your pastures without chickens for a couple of years to let it all establish.

View attachment 2845895
Thanks a bunch! Appreciate the data point
 

RoyalChick

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
Nov 3, 2019
8,047
87,920
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Northern New Jersey
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Thanks a bunch! Appreciate the data point
I realize I have one other data point from inside the secure area where they have two pastures of 50 sq ft. each. I alternate them seeding one and excluding the ladies while they play in the other.
If it is all fresh sprouts they can destroy 50 sq ft. in a few hours (and have a lot of fun doing so!).
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,223
17,327
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USA
Appreciate the data point

Another data point: 12 hens did not harm the grass on 1/4 acre, with all day access for an entire year. They did have mulch & trees for shade around the edges, so most of their lounging and scratching happened off the grass. The grass got mowed about once a week from spring through to fall. The winter only had a few snowy days, and a few weeks below freezing, so some of the grass and plants were able to stay green all winter long but did not grow much. The grass was very well established before the chickens were added. (This experiment only ran for a year, because predators became an issue, so I do not have longer-term data.)

1/4 acre for 12 hens works out to about 900 square feet per chicken.
 
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