So do they turn the dirt or pack it down?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AccidentalFarm, Apr 23, 2007.

  1. AccidentalFarm

    AccidentalFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've read so many posts about how chickens 'fluff up' the ground with all their scratching, but I've only ever seen hard packed, bare ground in chicken yards. So which is it? Does their scratching really help fluff up the dirt, or no? Mine are not old enough to be out in their yard yet and I am currently trying to decide whether I will need to section off areas of their yard (roughly 800 sq. ft. for 15 or so birds) for a period of time to help it recover and re-grow. I really hope to avoid having hard packed dirt in their yard.
     
  2. SandraChick

    SandraChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Honestly....BOTH!

    They kept my flower beds all fluffed up cuz there were lots of worms and bugs......

    However, where it started to get packed, they no longer scratch it up...so then it just packed harder. If I catch it soon enough, sprinkle of scratch or other small treat fixed it quick. If not soon enough, I turned the dirt a little, and then that got it going again.

    I think it depends a lot on how many chickens per unit of space too. Too many chickens, and more hard pack as they're not ALWAYS scratching.

    Sandra
     
  3. JudyMcKinn

    JudyMcKinn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our chicken yard has always become hard packed, and NOTHING will grow there. I think it is probably the stuff in the poo that changes the dirt. We had a chicken yard that we took down and put it back into yard, and it took 2 or 3 years before grass would grow there again. Maybe if we had tilled it up and limed it, it would have grown sooner.
     
  4. countrygirl4513

    countrygirl4513 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 14, 2007
    Portland TN
    packed down like sardines in a can!! i sometimes take in my tiller and work the ground, but the peeps can't stand that thing. but after done the chicks go nuts over their revitalized yard. soon dusting occurs and they are in chicken heaven.
    i've often thought it would be prudent to have 2 yards. i'm thinking of adding on to mine and maybe the new one will give the old one a chance to heal. block off the old one and then swap back and forth.
     
  5. SandraChick

    SandraChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    I forgot to say that my chickens free range, and that makes a big difference

    If they had a chicken yard....it would most certainly be hard packed.

    My chickens come running when they hear the rototiller! Have to becareful not to run them over!

    Sandra
     
  6. AccidentalFarm

    AccidentalFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I suspected 'hard-packed' would be the predominant answer. Now to decide whether to section off portions of the yard, or build a second yard, or put my thinking cap on and try and come up with a contraption to protect part of the yard while still letting the chickens have the space.

    How about something along the lines of a tractor, but one to keep the chickens off the ground it's setting on..? Maybe something really low to the ground that they could still walk on and poo through and the sun and rain could still get through, but high enough that they'd find it a nice place to roost while in the yard and not be able to peck at the grass growing beneath.....

    Hmmmmm.
     
  7. JudyMcKinn

    JudyMcKinn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Guess you could make up a square or rectangle frame about 6 " or a ft. high, and put chicken wire over the top to keep them out. When the grass got nice you could take off the frame and let them have it, while planting another patch under the frame in a new location. I have thought of doing that, but haven't gotten it done yet, so don't know if it would work.
     
  8. beckt

    beckt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 11, 2007
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    Judy, that sounds like it could work. I have been trying to think of a way to get grass in my banty pen again & just might give that idea a whirl. Thanks for helping me out there. LOL
     
  9. Critter Crazy

    Critter Crazy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 19, 2007
    Binghamton, NY
    my chickens free range, so they are always turning the earth. The only time they had packed the earth was when we had to pen them up so we could go on a short vacation. that piece of earth is still hard as a rock.
     
  10. JudyMcKinn

    JudyMcKinn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Beckt, if you try that before I get it done, let us know if it works. LOL
     

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