Run area for grass to survive?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Korzak, Oct 25, 2014.

  1. Korzak

    Korzak Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 25, 2014
    Hi there, we are planning now for six hens. I was planning a secured run to be 10' by 20' attached to the coop.

    Is that enough room for the hens to forage on without stripping it bare? I've read that chickens need ten square feet each to be comfortable, but not how much room
    You need per chicken so they don't scratch it down to bare earth.

  2. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 20, 2014
    No, they will have that stripped/eaten bare in a week or two ... Maybe a 50' X 50' ... I plan on 100' X 100' for a dozen, and still let them out when we are around ...

    ETA: What I mean by "let them out" is free range outside of the 100X100 when we can be outside with them ... Maybe an hour a day, plus more on a weekend ...
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2014
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    They also scratch and dig. This disrupts root health of the grass. I agree with RedBeard. Chickens can turn a rather large area to dust and dirt, given enough time.
  4. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    I have a 100x100 area for 18 chickens, and over time they have stripped bare some sections, usually the areas where the grass was not thick and vulnerable to excessive scratching. You can also limit the amount of time they are out so the grass is not under constant attack from the chickens. Mine get out 2-3 hours each evening, and 8 hours a day on weekends. This has allowed 80% of the run to grow well, I have to mow it every 2 weeks or so. The other 20% is stripped clean and the chickens use it as their bath area. Luckily, they stripped the area immediately behind the garage, so it is not easily visible.
    1 person likes this.
  5. 123RedBeard

    123RedBeard Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 20, 2014
    When growing up many moons ago ;)

    We had 24 hens and one rooster in a run 25'X50' ... After two years there was nothing growing there other than a established tree, and a few bushes 4'-5' tall ... That's 50 square feet per chicken ...

    A 50'X50' run for six chickens is 416 square feet per chicken ...

    Thomas's chickens noted above have 555 square feet per chicken, and they are not out all day long either ...

    The bigger the run is, the more it's like free ranging, and they will need less store bought food, and will probably be happier too!
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2014
  6. chicksurreal

    chicksurreal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 3, 2013
    We have a 50' x50' run for 27 chickens, they are only 9 weeks old right now and they have already started the process of destroying the grass that was growing there for many years. Lol! It won't take them long.
  7. Quailsong

    Quailsong Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2013
    If you want areas of your lawn to stay immaculate, then you'll have to bar chickens from that area (or at least reduce exposure.) That said, you can also set up feeding meshes on the ground for grass to grow through, but so that the birds can't scratch out the roots. Then at least some areas will stay green & can be trimmed.

    The meshes are easy to build. Basically a wooden frame with a 1/4 inch wire mesh on top. Sun, rain, & poop goes down - grass grows up.
  8. Smilin Teri

    Smilin Teri Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 30, 2014
    Where ever you put them-IN A CAGE --NO matter what the size THEY WILL scratch it BARE !!! But you can do plots with screen over them-
  9. AkChris

    AkChris Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2014
    SE Alaska
    Another option is to create a paddock system or have a very large run that is subdivided into two or more areas. Let the chickens roam in one area, then rotate them to the next, letting the 1st area have a week or two to recover and regrow before letting the chickens back in.
  10. Smilin Teri

    Smilin Teri Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 30, 2014
    AkChris that IS A GREAT IDEA !!!! (If I only had the room) I so wish we didn't live in the city

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