Turning a pasture into a run.... need advice!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by huckleberryfarm, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. huckleberryfarm

    huckleberryfarm Chickenista

    Jan 7, 2010
    Greenwood, SC
    I'm in a quandry and need some good BYC expert advice. I have almost 100 chickens and they are in 3 separate coops with a big covered run. They don't free range around the farm due to our dog who thinks they are very fun to chase and kill. I've been feeling bad about not letting them out to play, especially with the lack of rain and grass now in their run. Then it dawned on me! I have a large 10-acre fenced pasture right behind their run. In fact, I used the existing pasture fence as the back of the run. My initial thought was to fence off about 3 acres and open up a part of their run so they could go into the pasture. It would not be covered but I was hoping that if something showed up, they would run into their covered run or coop. Then my husband estimated the cost to do the fencing and it's a lot. We have two donkeys and sheep in there. Could they all just mingle together? That would be the cheapest but maybe not the best idea.

    Anyone have an idea or something they've done before where I could fence off or block off a chunk of the pasture for them without spending thousands of dollars? I just know they would love having all that land to peck and scratch in. [​IMG]
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I'd be very tempted to put them in with the donkeys and sheep. I know people sometimes mix their chickens with other livestock, which in turn help protect the chickens. Or can the dog go in with the sheep and donkeys?
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    They'll be fine with the donkey and sheeps.

    The only thing is to put something smaller-mesh on the fenceline so that chickens cannot squeeze out into the yard and get et by dogs. (I am assuming the donkey/sheeps already have a really truly dogproof fence).

    1-2" chickenwire would be quite adequate, or whatever else you can get that is cheap. It doesn't need to be *strong*, unless you have problems with dogs pawing at it, in which case IMO the solution is probably at least partly a coupla wires of electric fencing added to what's there already.

    They'll still be vulnerable to hawks and you may lose one or two a year but most places hawks aren't *real* bad.

    Good luck, have fun,

  4. huckleberryfarm

    huckleberryfarm Chickenista

    Jan 7, 2010
    Greenwood, SC
    Thanks! Any time we see a hawk, we also see the same two little birds chasing it off. Guess they don't like hawks. My husband just admitted he added a zero onto the cost of the fencing so it might be manageable. The dogs leave the fence alone but my husband pointed out that the pasture has a pond that the sheep and donkeys don't cross but the dogs do. [​IMG] So I guess I'll have to do the fence. I'd probably prefer that anyway!
  5. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    We have a 3 acre pasture that gets shared with Goats, Yaks, Geese, and Chickens. . . . They all get along just fine. [​IMG]

    Also, when worrying about predator issues - It's always good to have an animal that will look out for predators and warn them. Plus, things like shrubs and trees around help too. That way, they can run for cover.

    Another good thing is to still have an open run for them to get into before they hit the coop. Our place is set up that the coop opens up out to the pasture, but surrounding its doors is a run that only chickens can fit through the openings of, and the top is covered with poultry netting. This way, if a predator comes over, the chickens can run for safety into the run, and not be in danger. The predator, if on land, would have to get past our bull Yak and our Geese first. If by air, it would have to break through the poultry netting.
  6. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    .....and with a pond you can get some ducks, too......

    Oh, wait, that wasn't advice turning a pasture into a run, was it? Sorry.

    If there's a whole lot of pasture space, you might consider making "sanctuaries" in it, something like a lean-to with a sawhorse and some hardware wire fencing around one end and the other side, so the chickens can run into the open end and hide inside for shelter.

    Dunno if that makes sense, but it's what I plan on doing for some open pasture in which my birds are starting to forage away from the trees.

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