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Thoughts for a new run rotation?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MIKE555444, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. MIKE555444

    MIKE555444 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have pondered over this for years and now that I’m making a new run for the new coop and its decision time. I’d like to offer some natural grass for them while providing a safe environment(we have a few dogs and neighbors has dogs). First thought was making it big enough to rotate pastures. This still seems like a good idea but with lots of work re-sowing all year.

    Right now I’m thinking more along the lines of a “winter pasture” that has gravel/sand to keep them from living on bare dirt/mud and then a “summer pasture” that is grass along with several “salad bars”. I really like the salad bar idea someone posted. You build a frame up off the ground with wire over the top as the grass grows up through the top they can eat it but not all the way down to the roots so the grass continues to grow and supply a small amount of grass all summer. Of course this can be sowed with anything from lettuce to spinach or whatever.

    My thought is that they would go back into the winter pasture in late summer while I try to re-sow some grass for next spring.

    Any thoughts, suggestions, or ideas?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2011
  2. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    NJ
    My chicken salad bar turned into poop bar. They must enjoy the airy feel under their feet. They will nap, groom and mingle atop the salad bar. It is common sight to see 8 or 9 birds on the 2x4 space. It is more popular than the perches. By lingering there, their poop pretty much killed all plant life in it.
     
  3. weeders n feeders

    weeders n feeders Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like a good plan if you have the space. You might want to consider more than just two spaces. Mine have 4 main areas:
    1) coop and wire covered run that has a salad bar in it. Small area but mainly for night time and hawk security and feed,treats and snacks.
    2) blueberry patch adjacent to run. In the heat of summer and during blueberry season this is a favorite hang out. Plenty of shade and lots of blueberries. To the point that I am surprised I don't get blue eggs sometimes. They also took care of the weed problem I had there.
    3) my garden depending on the season and size of the plants and insect population. That is if I get a pest bug problem they get to go there even if I have vegis I don't want them into. I figure the few vegis they get are just paypemt for pest control.
    4) my yard - not real secure hawks may be a problem and I have to keep an eye on my dog - she's good but not perfect.
    All areas are adjacent to each other so it just a matter of opening or closing a gate.
    I would suggest some plantings that will encourage bugs. I have also found one of their favorite things is when I move a pile of brush or weeds. Leave a pile for a few weeks then finally get around to throwing it out and underneath they find all kinds of good bugs.
    Oh and mine also have access to the compost pile.
    They will scratch up stuff pretty fast but I've found if they have plenty and you let it establish itself well before they have access to it then is will last a little while and some things are really durable. Meaning they haven't destroyed my lawn, and many of the garden plants they take a few leaves and some vegis but don't necessarily destroy the whole plant. The key is to have lots of variety and lots of it and don't leave them in anyone place for very long. Right now mine have access to all areas except a small portion of the garden. They'll roam to all but only spend a few hours in each before they decide to go somewhere else.
     
  4. Terri O

    Terri O Chillin' With My Peeps

    THere were some pictures on another thread where the poster put a few tires on top of each other and surrounded it with chicken wire. THis became a planter and any leaves hanging outside were fair game for the birds. I am going to try it next year for mine. The yard they are in has NO vegetation ATM because they eat everything! I wish they would go out into the pasture and eat some of the weeds there....
     
  5. tsiecz

    tsiecz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just planted an area in my garden about a week ago with a fall green manure cover crop. The seed mix is perenial rye, winterpeas, clover, vetch and a few other greens from www.johnnyseeds.com The area is app. 35' x 35' and plan on doing a rotation on that with my 8 hens. I will also move them around the yard with the chicken tractor (12' x5') I will keep posting to let you know how that wis working once thing get growing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2011
  6. MIKE555444

    MIKE555444 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:If you only have 8 hens I bet your 35 x 35 will last a long time
     

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