Run size question

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by FamilyZoo, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. FamilyZoo

    FamilyZoo Out Of The Brooder

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    I would like to have a run that is able to maintain some grass. Does anyone know how many square feet of space per chicken is needed in a run to be able to do this?
     
  2. nurse_turtle

    nurse_turtle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a run area of 15 x 22 ft. 330 sq ft of run space for 7 chickens (3 of which are small). By the end of summer, their run was pretty sparse of greenery. I'm able to let them free range now, but it's already cold and no new grass is growing there yet. More is better when it comes to chicken space.
     
  3. FamilyZoo

    FamilyZoo Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 10, 2008
    Callahan, Florida
    is 50 square feet enough?
     
  4. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you are going to keep them in the run, soon enough there will be no grass. Some have built raised beds in the run in which they have planted grass. The beds are topped with chicken wire so that the chickens can eat the green that come up through the wire but cannot scratch up the roots.
     
  5. California_Redneck

    California_Redneck Out Of The Brooder

    [​IMG]

    A run should allow 10 square feet of space per bird. 5 birds = 50 square feet, etc. As far as the grass goes...if the chickens are in the run, they will eat the grass. The only way to allow it to grow back is to section off an area to allow it to grow, without chickens. That would mean making the run twice the size you need. Another alternative is to build small raised beds in the run, covered in hardware cloth, for the grass to grow in. That way they can eat the grass, but leave the roots intact.
     
  6. FamilyZoo

    FamilyZoo Out Of The Brooder

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    Callahan, Florida
    The run I intended on fencing in for the coop I am in the process of building would give each bird 50 square feet of room for each bird. Most of the area does not currently have any grass, as it is newly cleared. I might now reduce the run to allow for 10-20 square feet for chicken and get some grass growing for free ranging later.
     
  7. Bantam Username

    Bantam Username Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yay Chicks! :

    If you are going to keep them in the run, soon enough there will be no grass. Some have built raised beds in the run in which they have planted grass. The beds are topped with chicken wire so that the chickens can eat the green that come up through the wire but cannot scratch up the roots.

    This is a fabulous idea and never would have occurred to me! I'll be doing this for sure, thanks very much! [​IMG]
     
  8. claudicles

    claudicles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think the reason no one can give you an exact area is that there are so many variables. For instance I live in an area that is drought prone. My chickens would make short work of the grass and dig up the roots if it has been dry for a while but if it is wet they may happily graze away without doing any damage. I suspect the type of grass you have makes a difference too. It is definitely possible to put chickens on grass and keep the grass. For instance I have a tractor which I am using as grow out for 9 pullets at the moment. I move it every day and the grass has been damaged but recovers quickly behind them. If you look around you'll find some commercial production where people use huge tractors on large grazing areas. The advantage of a tractor if you are trying to preserve your grass is that you can move it more or less often according to how your grass is holding up. If you were to plan you 50sq feet run and at times the grass was looking hagard you might be able to supplement with some other sort of green forage to distract them and let the grass recover a bit. Chickens do like to scratch though and grass does not like that. An idea: Can you make two smaller runs and alternate access to let the area they aren't in recover while they decmiate the one they are?
     
  9. swamy

    swamy Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 28, 2011
    I've got roughly 30 Sq feet per bird per enclosure.

    I have 4 enclosures.

    I rotate the birds every 7-10 days, this gives each area 21-30 days of rest for the greenery and poop breakdown.

    I keep a diverse clover/chicory seed mix on hand and overseed bare areas during the rest, otherwise I frost seed three areas and keep them contained in the fourth for winter. When spring hits and rotation starts I seed the winter enclosure so it has 30 days to pop.....bad growing conditions and I'll just rotate them through the three and get 60 days of growth on the winter area.

    Chickens have a hard time keeping up with the growth when conditions are good. I have a well and hose sprinklers so I can irrigate during drought to keep the green coming. End of year all of the areas start to get muddy/browned out so I give them a month or so of free range through all 4 areas. When I frost seed they go into the more protected winter one.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
  10. claudicles

    claudicles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great system swamy. I wish I had planned ahead when I built mine and thought of doing something like that. I won't free range due to predators
     

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