Will tthe chickens destroy the grass rather than dig in the forest and paddock? (pictures)


7 Years
Oct 8, 2012
Tan Lan, North Wales, UK
My Coop
My Coop
I have finished the coop and I am now expecting to pic up my rescue chicken in a few weeks time.

I have over an acre or land including some forest, a paddock and some grass in a small orchard where their coop is. They will have access to the whole place, but will they just churn up the grass in the orchard or will they roam around and dig in the forest and the paddock first. I like what grass I have and hope to keep it.

Here is the coop, you can see the forest behind it.

Here you can see the area right at the back of the coop to the left of the forest, it is really rough ground with brambles and twigs and sticks, and there is a bramble hedge running along the left side where rabbits come through from the neighbours horse paddocks. Note there is grass in my orchard.

Here you can see some more of the forest at the back and the back end of our rough paddock area. There is more paddock where I am stood with the camera and behind me, its quite large and they will be able to free range the whole lot.

We are planning on having only six chickens, so what do you think, will they just stay in the orchard area and destroy my grass or will they be off, roaming around and clearing all the bugs?

Chickens can become accustomed to a certain area, then, in time, begin to expand their range of exploration. All birds are a bit different and each flock acts a bit different and takes on differing characteristics in terms of roaming. Some birds and small flocks get so far ranging as to travel up to 1/4 mile and are little trespassers and trouble makers on other's property. You just never know how it is going to go.

Beautiful photos. Lovely.
Mine have torn up the area's around the trees. They've eaten most of the ground vegetation and put lovely dust bath holes. However, where they have the ability to roam, there destruction is.. well not there. It is only in the areas that they are confined to really... SO, if you do not have a run, and are going to completely free range, I think you'll find they are not so destructive to the grass.
1/4 Mile, wow! It is only 300 yrds to my neighbours house and their is a busy road to the front of the house. So they might get run over or end up crapping all over my neighbours patio then, oh dear. I can only hope that they stay close. We have pheasants that pass through, a whole family of them, every day. I wonder if they will get along with a small gang of freeranging chickens.
We have a similar setup.....grassy areas, woods, lawn. I agree with "Fred's Hens"...they will stick close to safety (your run) at first and eventually as they feel safe will widen their area. I was terrified we wouldn't be able to let our girls free range since we have many predators and the close proximity to the woods offers these same predators cover, but we've not had a lot of problems. We only let our girls out during the day though. You plan to put them in each evening don't you? Night predators start coming out at dusk or a little before dusk. Our biggest trouble maker is racoons. I've seen them around the coop/run before dark. Oh, back to your original question about tearing up the grass. With chickens come some damage, but with an area as large as yours, I don't think it'll be too bad. A little here....a little there. They're worth it! My girls roam all the various areas, but never stray too far. We have a few spots that have become favorite dust baths, but none are in areas that matter. Good luck with your new chickens. Your place is gorgeous! Your chickens will love it!!!
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sallihennipenni, thanks. Yes I plan to let them out all day but bring them in for the night. I plan to start letting them out after a week or two, but only in the afternoon at first and try to get them in for the evening by feeding them at dusk in their coop. After a little while I will let them out in the morning for the whole day, but only when we are there, which is most of the time. We have foxes, birds of prey that nest not to far away, stoats that chase rabbits through the garden now and then, badgers that don't come out until the middle of the night, and a few wild moggies. Im really worried about all the critters out there.

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