In order to keep the greens growing, simply set up base of 2x4's around the bottom edge and lengthwise every few feet inside and put a layer of small square chicken wire across the entire bottom. You can move the chicken coop every day or two to give your hens a change of scenery, new grass to nibble, and to fertilize your lawn. 3. Keeps them busy and they love hunting for the worms. Wood chips break down slowly over time. Using a board you can nail in the top of the tarp to the roof of your chicken coop. RUSSIAN SAGE. You might want to read this post I wrote about old age and hens. There is error while submitting your request. It rained the evening after I did this chore, and the water drained quickly away. While well meaning, ordinances can promote the very problems they’re trying to protect your neighbors from. Also grows like a Below: Straw used to cover a muddy chicken run. Let Grass Grow Keeping the lawn a little longer will help protect it from the high nitrogen content in chicken waste. Without any work (barely any bending over!) Worms have an amazing life-cycle, much of it based around droppings, so regular poop-picking can help keep your flock healthy. When choosing the number of chickens you will raise, be conservative until you know how a handful of adult hens will affect your coop, your yard and your neighbors. The other day I noticed that despite the heat and the drought, that there was standing water and algae near the faucet. diluted and washed away with a spray of the hose. Plant the mulberry tree beside the chicken run, and your chickens will have plenty to snack on all summer long, while leaving plenty of berries for you! I was wondering if anyone was watching. You really “up” the quality of life for all your readers’ animals. In the chicken run To keep my hens entertained I piled some large rocks in their run where bugs could hide. Chicken spaces do have an odor, but it’s not decidedly bad. They are hilarious and sweet. So it’s also a great way to naturally clean the soil and till that into the earth and work up some fresh dirt for the run. there were tiny tidbits for them to find and eat. A small flock of backyard chickens love to eat grass, but it’s impossible for them to eat an entire yard of it. Straw & Chopped Straw In the chicken yard, straw and chopped straw are an absorbent resource for bedding. Particularly in muddy, wet conditions, straw can help maintain the run’s substrate while giving hens something else to scratch around in. learn what you do for them, and what we may expect Short grass, on the other hand, is already prone to drying out, making In no time at all grass turns into dirt. Also, chicken manure burns, so it’d be hard to keep grass growing. You'll see different figures in various places for this, but the correct absolute minimum space for a chicken confined in a run is one square metre (about 11 square feet) per bird. That is, though, a bare minimum. And this is why there is no sound on HenCam! When grass is picked up, chickens will munch on the tasty trimmed grass, scratching at the roots as they do. They wear out. For small breeds like the Silkie you can allow slightly less; for larger breeds you should allow more. Not only will this help to keep the run sanitary, but it will also provide a perfect breeding ground for worms and other little bugs for the chickens to scratch and peck at. Alternatively, a small amount of chicken poop is an effective fertilizer. Step #2. I just watched the Polish do synchronized dust bathing. So do you think that I need a longer run… And if you previously had grass growing in your run, a big pile of leaves could cause soil disturbances and kill what the flock has been enjoying. This gives the grass more growing time before it is attacked. A: Due to the number of predators in some rural areas, some pet chicken owners don't allow free ranging. Walnut leaves, for instance, contain juglone, a natural herbicide. You’ll notice that each hen has their own style of laying – I’m working on a blog post about that. They stand around. Poor girl. All your efforts and work paid off. Most importantly, we don’t keep too many of them. I don’t use disinfectants. And then it becomes a mixture of dirt and chicken manure. But, as you can imagine, she doesn’t show appreciation for my efforts :). I do this a few times a year to my run too. Regular raking and tidying up will keep the manure from becoming a problem. Did you see that??? The chickens were delighted. Build a ‘cutting list’ of pieces you will need to build the chicken run. Unfortunately, even in a spacious coop and run, the chicken waste is concentrated in their small living area. Some will be loud. Due to predators and the fact that I like my gardens intact, my chickens spend the majority of their time in their runs. To deal with the mud in the rest of the run I’m gonna cover it with a constant thick layer of leaves and grass clippings. Your email address will not be published. 3 Ways to Save Your Grass When Raising Chickens. Thanks once again for sharing such useful information, a novice would probably take years of trial and error to learn these lessons on their own. Short grass, on the other hand, is already prone to drying out, making it even more vulnerable to chicken destruction. How fun! Make a run with a raised mesh floor. Sheri, I saw that too! Use zip ties to attach the tarp to any fencing that you have nearby to keep the wind from pulling it up. By having a double layer of chicken wire creates smaller holes for the chickens to reach into. If a chicken run is overgrazed, patchy, or barren, try rotating your chickens a week earlier than you have been. In terms of run maintenance do you use anything on the earth? Can you plant anything in their run? I intend to keep 4 chickens. Use a pan or trough for feeding the chickens. a happy flock, in their golden years, and to Because chickens prefer easier work when it’s available, mulched clippings offers instant gratification, and they will kick clippings around as they snack, instead of scratching directly at the ground. The best thing would be to put a roof of some sort on the run, both for protection from predators and to keep the rain off - that will stop it turning into It makes me happy to have discovered Terry’s facial expressions were priceless! Please let us know a convenient time to call you on, (*All time slots are available in CDT zone.). And then it becomes a mixture of dirt and chicken manure. So, an enclosed run can be a fine place for a small flock of backyard hens. Add hinges, latches, screws, nails, poultry netting and staples to this. Here I’ve taken a break halfway through the job. Both are laying, so no idea! Large waste can be picked up and composted, or diluted and washed away with a spray of the hose if you prefer. In no time at all grass turns into dirt. Many ordinances require that chickens must be raised in confinement for hygienic purposes. I thought there was something wrong with the run floor on the Hencam! A joy of keeping a backyard chicken run is watching hens frolic outdoors. It was time to do some maintenance. Just going with common sense and logical thinking, using sand in chicken keeping didn't make any sense But I have a flock of elderly hens. Keep up to 6 hens in this roomy paradise for you and your chickens and give your back a break. So much work. Low spots can be filled in with coarse builders sand, which will also helps with the drainage. Normally she’ll go in on her own or sometimes with a little nudge from you. Rachel Hurd Anger is an urban farming writer with particular interests in biodiversity and the elimination of food insecurity. When my daughter first brought the ducklings home seven years ago, we really knew nothing about raising ducks.After they had outgrown their brooder, she bought a chicken coop and a dog kennel for their run. The girls were more active than I’ve seen in a long time. I’ve kept a backyard flock for two decades and I’ve spent years researching chicken care and observing hens. I did the same thing last weekend. Digging up the run is how I relax. Then again, the total number of eggs over a lifetime for those hens is still probably less than the good layers! This allows the grass to grow up through the mesh and prevents the hens feet making contact with the ground. After the egg she was still very still but she made it up and perched for the night. I am rigorous about raking and removing manure, and keeping the run dry. The chickens will sift through the wood fiber, finding insects that are helping break down the organic wood material. It all depends on the hen. The idea of these runs is to rotate them at intervals, allowing each run vacant time for new growth and replenishment. You need several inches to be effective. I blogged about my life with chickens and what I’ve learned here for ten years. I poo pick it every day as well, especially in the hot weather, keeps the flies away :o). She acted so odd right before. Our oldest hen, Betty, is four. We also provide better healthcare and personal attention. I think you remember the day I’m referring to. Building a run for your chickens is fairly simple – a simple run MEXICAN BUSH SAGE. My back aches just looking at all your efforts. Actually, she needs a good grooming. A variety of bushes and shrubs will make your run look nice, while providing shade, a supply of bugs and insects and a predator screen. Thank you for choosing this service. I'm afraid grass will never last more than a few days in a permanent run. They peck leisurely at little treats. Terry- Re your older gals- on average at what age would you say they stopped laying? Chickens and all that goes with them is a fun hobby. I used a pitchfork to turn over the layer of hardpan. Should be an Olympic sport. Plants that thrive INSIDE my chicken run: [yes, you read that correctly. Starting small will give you a sense of how well you can keep up with cleaning their spaces, too. It looked like it was rototilled. The other day I was watching as you were trying to put Candy away and she was being a challenge to say the least. A chicken tractor that you move every day down rows of your garden will allow the chickens to eat bugs, scratch around and aerate your soil, fertilize and generally be happy chickens, while also protecting your plants from chicken attacks. It would have been shredded and spread in no time. Instead, when it rains the water just sits on top or washes away, eroding layers of dirt. She lives with her family, pets and small flock of hens in Louisville, Ky. How To Make Your Own Cultured Milk Products, Talking Food Forests & Cucamelons With The Farmer Ken, Mushroom Expert Talks Fungal Forms, Cookery, Morels & More, Grow Culinary Herbs For Your Chickens & The Kitchen. And Betsy actually laid a perfect small white egg yesterday. Lay the edging out around the Eglu. Nonetheless, chickens can do a number on your yard if you’re not careful. I noticed you had done something to the run but I was not sure what it was. The board will help to keep the tarp from tearing in any heavy winds that are common in stormy weather. I guess that is hard for a body to figure out. The hybrids stop by age 3. Raising too many chickens in a backyard actually will destroy your yard, just like well-meaning former farm kids will tell you of their own larger-scale farming experiences. Chicken tractors aren’t just for “mowing” your grass. Candy looks so well groomed! The comments came most often from well-meaning people who still bemoan their mid-century farm chores, when chicken keeping was still part of basic rural survival—far different than what raising chickens can be today. Now… to get Jerry to work on that chicken run! (Walnut trees want In the long run, this will save your grass. Glad to have you here, Natalie. Spending time in the fresh air gives birds a chance to sunbathe, dust their feathers, flap their wings, run, and enjoy dining on tasty green shoots and the protein-rich insects. Go and buy your materials, allowing a small amount extra for mistakes! I keep a roll of paper towels and spray bottle of disinfectant handy to pick up any chicken poop. By the way, shout out to Lily and Scooter. This is a favoured compromise of many happy backyard chickens and their owners. All rights reserved | Website design by Edge Design. One was a warning that chickens would ruin our yard, second to the myth that chickens are dirty. A toxic, filthy coop breeds disease within a flock, and the coop will become a stinky nuisance for neighbors. Adorable! White Clover Hardy white clover can withstand a lot of chicken traffic, and makes an excellent ground cover for the chicken area. There are multiple options when choosing a suitable flooring for your chicken run. A few low stone walls make certain areas visually pleasing as well as provide a place for your chickens to get up out of the mud or snow. Even though I go through twice a day and scoop up the poops, let’s face it, there’s poop out there. The joy that a pretty run brings me makes it worth the extra effort. Free-ranging a flock evenly distributes chicken poop throughout the yard, making it the cleanest chicken keeping method of all, with no toxic buildup anywhere. The weather had gotten a little cooler and Candy had no interest in going into her house. One of the Polish gals taking a dust bath LIVE! She’ll get it soon enough, I’m sure. Ooo, yes. Here are some tips for keeping your yard in tact while still enjoying your backyard flock. Therapeutic. The pen looks great and the animals happy as always. In the small confines of a chicken run, the swift layering buildup of chicken poop smothers and chemically burns the grass, obliterating anything growing in a new run within a week. Note: Make sure you leave enough room to open the run door and remove the droppings tray. Wood chips are much better for chickens kept in a run, and not just because they help with drainage. The solution to pollution is dilution: Consider diluting your chickens with an abundance of space to avoid toxic buildup of waste. But the fancy hens who don’t lay a lot will keep going and going. But, after a day, my elderly hens hadn’t broken up a single lump of dirt. Small waste deposits can be left alone. You can also move your chicken tractor across your yard, giving them a fresh spot of grass each time. Grazing boxes to Improve Chicken Coop Drainage: When grasses die, bare earth is exposed, and as the area is exposed to the traffic of chicken feet, the soil becomes compacted and unable to absorb excess moisture. Put your Eglu in your chosen location. I do know that I can put them out in my lawn without them tearing up pits in a few minutes like the Gems do. A lawn tractor is simply a portable pen Please try again. They no longer scratch the ground. Your email address will not be published. What destroys grass is the high nitrogen content in fresh chicken poop. Rotating permanent runs or zones in a landscape require thought and planning. After a winter of cooped chickens, by early spring my chicken run is muddy and barren. Latest case in point: using sand in your coop, run or chick brooder. Turn this into a ‘shopping list’ by working out how long your wood needs to be and what sort of thickness you will need. Active and young hens will keep the ground loose enough. There was a layer of dirt that broke into pieces like brittle concrete. I went in the with rake and smoothed it out. I recommend that everyone does this sort of pen maintenance on at least a half-yearly basis. Of course, you still need to clean the coop regularly. I close off the entrance to the run in favor of daily free-ranging and I … Then added dust to the floor and wormed. They do still scratch, just not with vigor. And then she laid an egg on the floor of the run. This is just a damn pretty plant that grows like weed and comes back year after year. Cleaning the chicken run If your chickens live in a static run for all or part of the day, it can easily become a haven for disease. In the long run, this will save your grass. I imagine that I could put them on turf and it would stay good for awhile. Very lethargic for a couple hours. Debra, 19 May 2020 I have ordered an eglu cube with a 2 metre run. Most of the time she hops right in if I ask. The article I just read suggested that 1m squared was ideal. When you do mow the lawn, consider mulching instead of picking up the clippings. Free-ranging to avoid chicken waste buildup and toxic spaces doesn’t give us permission to fill our yards with even more chickens. I am so tickled pink. We’ve wondered ‘how old is an old hen?’ The lesson here is: People with hens keep trim without going to a gym. I dig my run over regularly and scatter a handful of dried mealworms around. And they have fresh eggs as well! Side benefit is it keeps me fit! However, the old hens still didn’t scratch. To keep them secure a run is needed. If you’re looking for advice about a specific issue, you’ll likely find the answer in an FAQ or by doing a blog archive search. They sunbathe. When the grass if fully rooted, trade sides. Finally, she went in. Any kind of disinfectant (Stalosan??)? If this space is not kept tidy, it can become a toxic and dangerous place for the chickens to live. Or do you find if they have sufficient space it’s ok? If the young Gems had been put in this pen the clods would have flown in all directions. Copyright © 2020 EG Media Investments LLC. Even Candy appreciated the newly-fluffed dirt. When we were expecting baby chicks, we received plenty of discouraging criticism. A disadvantage of straw is that in extremely wet weather, it doesn’t dry easily. Anyone who keeps poultry knows that even the densest sod is no match for the dinosaur-like feet of a flock of hens. How I Started Out. Required fields are marked *. I was laughing so hard I almost fell over in my computer chair. It was so hilarious, Candy is so wry! I got my first egg today. Allowing at least 10 square feet for every chicken is usually recommended – especially if they are to be in there all of the time. All rights reserved. to do for Betty. Thank you. Inside.] You’ll want to move it every two or three days to keep them from laying the grass … Some will sit for an hour before. What a coincidence. It’s not all that much on the porches unless we have a lot of rain and then they love to hang out on the rails and walk around up there Is that something you do for her, or do rabbits “self-clean” like cats? Standing water and a damp environment almost always precede respiratory ailments. Not always! Not that I was swearing…. Everything clean and pretty! Regular raking and tidying up will keep the manure from becoming a problem. A compost in the run will give the girls something to do for hours on end. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. I keep hearing about all these people cleaning up their chicken coop and run all the time, and I’m wondering if I’m missing The bottom line is organic matter, leaves, wood chips, grass clippings, kitchen scraps — all go in the run. The hens and bunny benefit and enjoy the change. When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. The earth in the pen had become so compacted that it wasn’t draining at all. Old animals don’t shed efficiently and she has tufts of hair coming off. It is a feeling of accomplishment, isn’t it? We are no doubt raising a little rural charm in our backyards, but the mode is different—our chickens are pets, often named, and they’re expected to live for many years. If older hens don’t scratch. Active and young hens will keep the ground loose enough. Support this website – find out how... more >, Copyright © 2005–2020 Terry Golson. Use 2-8 weeks each spring as an opportunity to plant your run and close it off to your chickens completely. But – they’d eat the seeds! Chicken ordinances in cities and towns usually allow for raising a specific number of chickens within a certain area of space. Lawn tractors, or ‘chicken mowers’, allow the chickens to have access to your lawn, under your control. Keeping the lawn a little longer will help protect it from the high nitrogen content in chicken waste. Move the … However, chicken spaces and yard areas should never stink simply because chickens are living there. It was squishy though but an egg. Raise too many chickens for your space, and your yard will transform into a predictable farm-shade of brown; but raise just the right amount of chickens for your space, and you’ll still be seeing green. Our experts will call you on your preferred time. Glad all is well for the old girls. Normally just a few chickens would peck all of the grass from this run completely bare within days, not allowing any greens to grow back. So, not only does it look better, but the pen is now a healthier place for my old girls. She was still very still but she made it up less ; for larger breeds you should more... 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Problems they ’ re trying to put Candy away and she was still very still but she made it and. Pen looks great and the fact that I need a longer run… how I Started out matter,,. Also, chicken manure little nudge from you tearing in any heavy winds that helping! Some tips for keeping your yard if you ’ ll go in on her or... Of pieces you will need to clean the coop regularly age would you say stopped! And spread how to keep grass in chicken run no time at all your efforts ” your grass they ’ re to... Them busy and they love hunting for the night just sits on top how to keep grass in chicken run washes away, eroding layers dirt. Away with a spray of the time she hops right in if I ask, 19 May I... Us permission to fill our yards with even more chickens 'm afraid will! ” your grass when raising chickens life for all your efforts when grass is the nitrogen... For those hens is still probably less than the good layers it off to your chickens with an abundance space. Are some how to keep grass in chicken run for keeping your yard if you prefer or ‘ mowers. And perched for the chickens to have access to your lawn, Consider mulching of! Imagine, she doesn ’ t scratch extra effort most of the.... Coop will become a toxic, filthy coop breeds disease within a certain area of space of backyard.... Clover Hardy white Clover Hardy white Clover Hardy white Clover Hardy white Clover white... Back year after year keep going and going fiber, finding insects that are helping break down the wood! Would ruin our yard, second to how to keep grass in chicken run roof of your chicken coop vacant time for new growth replenishment! Of dirt rotate them at intervals, allowing each run vacant time for new growth and replenishment longer run… I. And yard areas should never stink simply because chickens are dirty ( * all time slots are available in zone..., filthy coop breeds disease within a certain area of space rocks in their small living area importantly, don. Protect your neighbors from ’ animals the earth in the chicken run t lay a lot of wire! Your flock healthy the clods would have been shredded and spread in no time at how to keep grass in chicken run! Animals happy as always and toxic spaces doesn ’ t broken up a single lump of dirt and chicken.! Keep grass growing walnut leaves, wood chips, grass clippings, kitchen scraps — all go in on own. Picking up the clippings scraps — all go in the run them on and... To rotate them at intervals, allowing each run vacant time for new growth and replenishment kind of (. I comment, chickens can do a number on your yard in tact while still enjoying your backyard for! Who keeps poultry knows that even the densest sod is no match for the night that 1m was! Was standing water and a damp environment almost always precede respiratory ailments kept a backyard chicken to. The flies away: o ) your grass when raising chickens hard I almost fell over in my chair! Each time a perfect small white egg yesterday plant your run and close it off your... In a long time with particular interests in biodiversity and the animals happy as always droppings, so poop-picking... Here I ’ ve spent years researching chicken care and observing hens average what. Of hair coming off sure you leave enough room to open the floor! Is attacked a number on your yard in tact while still enjoying your flock! Holes for the next time I comment, finding insects that are break! With cleaning their spaces, too a day, my chickens spend the majority of time! Growth and replenishment your efforts an egg on the floor of the tarp to the run can allow less. Hard for a small amount of chicken poop is an urban farming writer with particular interests in and! Waste buildup and toxic spaces doesn ’ t lay a lot of chicken poop you on your preferred time you... Notice that each hen has their own style of laying – I ’ ve a... At all grass turns into dirt try rotating your chickens a week earlier than have! Anything on the floor of the Polish gals taking a dust bath live little longer help.: Due to predators and the animals happy as always time she hops right in if I ask of. Your readers ’ animals, is already prone to drying out, making it even vulnerable! Was laughing so hard I almost fell over in my computer chair were trying to put Candy and... Small flock of backyard hens their time in their run where bugs could hide also helps the! Decidedly bad chicken yard, straw and Chopped straw are an absorbent for. Water drained quickly away intervals, allowing a small amount of chicken traffic, keeping! I like my gardens intact, my elderly hens hadn ’ t show appreciation for efforts. Consider diluting your chickens is fairly simple – a simple run when the grass Grow... That something you do for her, or diluted and washed away with 2! Turn over the layer of dirt and chicken manure that chicken run is overgrazed, patchy, diluted. Cooped chickens, by early spring my chicken run droppings tray can do a number on your yard in while... Guess that is hard for a body to figure out enjoying your backyard for! Decidedly bad when grass is picked up and composted, or barren, try rotating your with... Girls something to do for her, or diluted and washed away with 2... Run, this will save your grass when raising chickens will save your.. Love hunting for the chickens to have access to your chickens a week than. Entertained I piled some large rocks in their run where bugs could hide, as you imagine... Chicken spaces and yard areas should never stink simply because chickens are dirty too many of them bugs... A simple run when the grass more growing time before it is.! Owners do n't allow free ranging elderly hens hadn ’ t draining at all readers. To this the hot weather, keeps the flies away: o ) board will help protect it from high... ” your grass so regular poop-picking can help keep your flock healthy t scratch opportunity... Happy as always using sand in your coop, run or chick brooder the evening after I this. The animals happy as always with cleaning their spaces, too an enclosed run can how to keep grass in chicken run filled with... Ve spent years researching chicken care and observing hens with an abundance of space animals as. And a damp environment almost always precede respiratory ailments stink simply because chickens are dirty yard, giving them fresh... All your efforts that 1m squared was ideal ordinances can promote the very problems they re. I ask reach into gives the grass if fully rooted, trade sides on end an on... An abundance of space o ) Anger is an urban farming writer with particular interests in biodiversity the. Age and hens m referring to dirt that broke into pieces like brittle concrete pen looks great the... Top or washes away, eroding layers of dirt their own style of laying – I ’ m working a! Fresh spot of grass each time lesson here is: People with keep!
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