Really going to miss summer pasture

JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom

Songster
10 Years
Jun 17, 2009
937
4
131
West Central WI
We pature our birds in summer in an electronet enclosure with open-bottomed sliding shelters. Summer chicken chores are so easy. Slide the huts to a new spot, use the hose to fill the waterer, fill the feeders. Head count. Occassionally move the fence slightly an mow the fenceline, put the fence back. Or move the birds to an entirely different spot.

Winter here is below freezing for months. The snow is so deep there is no point in giving them an outside run. Water has to be hauled in jugs. Daily poop management, can't just move the hut. Frostbite needs to be watched for. Roosters who naturally stay separated in a large pasture need separate cages to avoid injuries. Eggs lose that wonderful color they get from eating lots of veggies. Constant Rodent Control efforts (I HATE Rats). Constant checking for holes big enough for weasels, mink or other vicious chicken killers. Try to give the birds something to do so they do not pick at each other.

I am seriously going to miss summer pasture.
 

7L Farm

Songster
9 Years
Jul 22, 2010
4,635
68
231
Anderson, Texas
Not me. It's been to hot & dry here in Texas. Today was the first day for rain in months. It finally cooled down to 60. Really, not much rain today but every little bit helps.
 

A.T. Hagan

Don't Panic
12 Years
Aug 13, 2007
5,379
185
303
North/Central Florida
We've got our first real chance of rain in over a month this week. Hopefully we'll actually get some this time. Hasn't rained a drop here in over a month and the month before that was only a half-inch. Hard to raise birds on grass when the grass ain't growing.
 

Olive Hill

Crowing
10 Years
Apr 19, 2009
4,203
110
253
...there is no point in giving them an outside run.

Sure there is. A big point; to reduce or eliminate most of the problems you outlined in your post.
 

savingdogs

Songster
10 Years
Aug 2, 2009
1,005
12
149
Southwestern Washington State
Ours will go out in the snow, but not in the rain and mud. When it is too muddy and rainy they just stay in the coop. When we hear a prediction of lots of rain, I have liked to either buy a flock block for their entertainment, or to get an old cabbage or other veggies from the cast off section behind a local open air fruit and veggie market by us. They let me pick through it for free whenever I want. The stuff is not fit for people to eat and has had flies on it, etc., but the chickens don't care.
 

TeamChaos

Songster
10 Years
Nov 8, 2009
1,068
10
163
I'm in WI and this will be my first winter with chickens; I'm still trying to wrap my brain around what the chickens will DO all day without a pasture to kick around in...
 

JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom

Songster
10 Years
Jun 17, 2009
937
4
131
West Central WI
Quote:Sure there is. A big point; to reduce or eliminate most of the problems you outlined in your post.


Ok point taken. I confess to being spoiled by the movable fence. We can leave the birds in their night huts for a few hours, move the fence and mow, then put the fence up. It really works surprisingly well.

My DH does not want the maintenance of caring for the area around a permanent run fence. The man does not really like going around trees or anything at all, so I am not allowed such permanent structures. I have to stick flower beds and trees in odd corners that he does not like to mow anyway.

The winter coop is a roomed off area of the pole shed, and he does not want to poke a hole in the siding for a pop-door. When the weather is nice after they go into winter quarters, I have to build a wire tunnel to the garage door and let them out there. Honestly, there is a 4ft+ drift there in winter, just not what the birds will go for.
 

cobrien

Songster
10 Years
Mar 16, 2009
576
10
141
Oakland, CA
I would push for the outdoor run, covered with corrugated metal roofing (it would need to be well supported for the weight of snow).

If it is only about mowing, I would either mow myself, pay someone to mow, not mow at all and maybe plant weed blocking plants, or put weed block/mulch/wood chips around the structure (however free ranging chickens can mess up the weed block and mulch).

Not sure why he's opposed to putting in a pop-up door, but I'd also push for that and install it myself if I had to. But I'm kind of a stubborn one!
 
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