1. BradyMSU

    BradyMSU Out Of The Brooder

    37
    2
    24
    Apr 10, 2008
    Marshall, Michigan
    I just got my first chicks and have a few questions about the run. First, what is the best groundcover? It is being built over a portion of my former vegetable garden. Would lawn seed or one of the wildflower mixes work best? It's a 10' x 10' fenced in square. Also, do chickens use the run during the winter or do they remain in their coop? My coop is 8' x 10' and 7' high and connected to the run. If they use the run in the winter, should I cover the top of it with an angled tarp to keep snow out or will the chickens run around in the snow? I live in Michigan.
     
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    3,788
    12
    221
    May 24, 2007
    Colorado
    Welcome to BYC!! Congrats on your first chicks... what breed did you get?

    As far as ground cover goes... anything planted will be stalked, attacked, killed, eaten or scratched up very quickly so most people don't put their coop/run where they don't want a patch of dirt/mud a few weeks down the road.

    Some people do put down shavings or straw or pea gravel but I think most people just leave it plain old dirt. If you have a drainage issue then you might want to consider pea gravel or such. My run is just dirt, it started out grass but.... that didn't last long.

    Oh - I think they'll love being over your old garden area as I would assume they will find some real treasures buried from your garden plants.

    Yes, chickens will want to be outside in all but the most inclement weather. Mine only don't come out in very windy snow storms or rain storms. Unless it's a horrid day outside (lots of wind and snow/rain) I open up the pop hole every day and let the girls decide if they want to venture out.

    Covering your run is completely up to you. Some people do and some don't. It's often a cost factor. I think, if you have the option that maybe you could cover half of it and let the chickens chose which half to be under on any given day. I live in Colorado with tons of snow at times and I don't have a cover on my coop. As stated above ... my girls go out in the snow unless it's really deep. I do want to add a partial cover over the doorway to their pop hole to keep the snow/rain from blowing inside the hen house this year.

    Sounds like a great set up you have ... we'd love to see pictures... hint, hint, hint.[​IMG]
     
  3. BradyMSU

    BradyMSU Out Of The Brooder

    37
    2
    24
    Apr 10, 2008
    Marshall, Michigan
    Most of my chicks are barred Rocks because I had heard good things about the breed. I got a couple Arucanas because I like the color of the chicks and the photos I've seen of the adult hens. I have tried to find buffed Orpingtons for sale in southern Michigan but have not been lucky so far. They're the breed I would really like to have.
     
  4. Daycare Mom

    Daycare Mom Chickens, Cuddly and Delicious

    Apr 9, 2008
    Conklin, Michigan
    Hi, from another Michigander! I am just north of Grand Rapids. I am new also to the chicken craze and had some of the same questions. I bought my buff orpingtons from the local feed store and also from family farm and home. They also have them at TSC if you have one of them close. Who knows with all the chicks I have brought home I may end up with a few to rehome [​IMG] Let me know if you need some extras:D
     
  5. BradyMSU

    BradyMSU Out Of The Brooder

    37
    2
    24
    Apr 10, 2008
    Marshall, Michigan
    None of the six TSC's within a reasonable drive have the buff Orpingtons. GR is a bit of a long ways to drive for a half dozen chicks. I'm jealous. I haven't understood the allure of bantams yet. Why would anyone want a half size chicken?
     
  6. A Carolina Chick

    A Carolina Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    270
    0
    139
    Apr 16, 2008
    NC
    I'm with you. Or better yet a half sized egg. It takes twice as much work to get the same results in the frying pan.[​IMG]
     
  7. Daycare Mom

    Daycare Mom Chickens, Cuddly and Delicious

    Apr 9, 2008
    Conklin, Michigan
    I thought I was the only one that thought that, I really didn't understand why, maybe its a space thing, they do take less space.[​IMG] Maybe you could try Craigslist, I have found tons of stuff on there. If you REALLY want some buffs you could buy the fertilized eggs on ebay put them in an incubator![​IMG] Good Luck!!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by