Under the deck chicken tractor and possible lawn

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by toddseimer, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. toddseimer

    toddseimer New Egg

    Jan 25, 2012
    So I'm thinking of getting 2-3 hens in the spring and eventually building a coup or a chicken tractor with a small run and putting it under my deck. But I have a few questions and concerns before I begin this adventure.
    1.) If I let chickens roam my fenced in backyard, supervised a few times a week are they going to destroy my lawn? I would like to keep my grass in tact but am wondering if they will immediately go for uprooting it.
    2.) Can I keep their coop or chicken tractor under my deck? There wouldn't be much sun light except during certain parts of the morning and evening but my deck isn't large and they'd be in the outer corner of it.
  2. devora

    devora Chillin' With My Peeps

    Welcome to BYC!

    Answer to #1: Absolutely. Your girls will destroy your lawn. Options are to limit their time there or block it off, I suppose. (If your lawn is huge and you only have a few birds, you might only have some patchy areas. But the bottom line is that chicken live to dig dig dig!)

    Answer to #2: My coop is under my deck and it's great. Cool in the summer, protected in the winter.
  3. toddseimer

    toddseimer New Egg

    Jan 25, 2012
    ha ha ha. I love it. As much as we might try and domesticate chickens, in the end they're animals. Thanks so much for your response. That's good to know that a coop under the deck would work, not sure about giving up my green grass yet. If they had a run do they even need out of their chicken tractor? What if I just let them out once a week for like 20 minutes or so? Would that be enough to keep them happy and maintain some of my yard? I'd love to see some pics of your under the deck coop.
  4. Johnboy78

    Johnboy78 Out Of The Brooder

    May 16, 2011
    Mine occasionally graze the lawn but they prefer not to be out in the open.
    They spend most of their time under bushes scratching through leaf litter and mulch.
    They prefer weeds to grass, they eat hostas, don't touch ferns or parsley, other herbs.
    We let them out when we get up and lock them in again at night.
    It's a fenced yard, about 90' X 120'. Six foot fence.
    Most of them can get to the top or over. Yet they are homebodies.
    I have 8 hens.

    Depends on the size of your yard and how it is landscaped.
    If they dig a deep hole, which they do, so that they can roll in it, (dirt bath)
    chances are it will be under a bush or otherwise offering some
    protection against aerial predators.
  5. devora

    devora Chillin' With My Peeps

    I suppose ya could try letting them out once a week; I free range mine daily. They love (can't emphasize this enough, love) being out so when I don't let them out they are noisy. And since my coop/run is under the deck it makes those morning margaritas a loud endeavor. [​IMG]

    If your run has any green it will soon be gone. You can use a tractor and move it from place to place in your yard thereby sparing your lawn complete destruction.

    Camera's on the blink, sorry 'bout that.
  6. CluckyJay

    CluckyJay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2011
    Crossville, Tennessee
    I doubt they will destroy your lawn in twenty minutes. One thing you can do is add an area of dirts for them to dust bathe in--it might quell their need to totally mess your lawn up.
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Confining them is a place with limited sun, limited space to exercise their natural instincts might be setting them up for rather poor quality of life issues. Chickens need the sun shine, like all living things. You'll also have to consider whether you really want the smell of manure wafting up from under your deck when you may wish to dine, entertain or relax on the deck.

    Just a gentle encouragement to consider an entirely different setup and location which might prove better for both you and the birds. Best regards,
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
  8. Hoofer

    Hoofer Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 29, 2011
    How big is your yard? I don't think 2-3 hens will destroy your grass with limited free ranging. I would say they could be out 4-5 hours and not do much damage. My 6 hens free range in our 100 x100 ft fenced in yard. I still have green grass and plenty of it. I do sprinkle their feed at the base of trees or bushes which encourages them to scratch there (less weed eating for us). They also have some areas of dirt for bathing under the bushes. You can certainly try it and if and when you begin to see damage cut back their free range time.
  9. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2011
    Portland, OR
    Grass - it will get patchy, at least, unless you move them around in a tractor regularly. Even then it still may.

    If you keep them in a tractor under your deck most of the time, then they could get less light (depending on the height of the deck and sun angle) and that might affect their egg productivity. Chickens like shade, they are forest birds, but they do need light to stimulate laying.

    At first I pictured a deck just tall enough to house the tractor, but if you're talking a second story deck, it should be fine regarding light.
  10. devora

    devora Chillin' With My Peeps

    Re: Fred's Hens comment, I had not considered the fact that you're not really going to free range (Sorry, but 20 mins a week ain't free ranging to a bird!). If you don't let them out it's true, your under the deck coop could be a tad unpleasant.

    Mine works b/c the girls are out most of the day on several acres, not in the coop/run.

    Again, I think letting them out only once a week causes more anxiety in the birds than joy. They love to be out and once they know what it's all about they will beg for it. Loudly.

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