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#65167 - 01/21/05 10:11 AM How much free range space to keep some grass

I have started out since September with 3 chickens in an ark and attached covered run. My local Barnyard Animal Club is trying to encourage me to expand a bit and get my small orchard (800 sq metres) fixed up and let the birds run around there. With my current fencing situation I myself can crawl underneath or through in some parts never mind Mr Fox and Mr Pine Marten and the cost and effort of re-fencing all of it is an issue. So I'd like to know for about 6 hens how much land they need so that meadow plants still can grow and there'd be at least some green. I was thinking of new high fencing for a 10 m square patch and cut that into 2 triangles so one side can rest while the other is in use. I know it all depends on wetness and time of year etc but a general guide would be good if anyone has an opinion.

#65168 - 01/21/05 11:42 AM Re: How much free range space to keep some grass
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8501
Loc: Montana
With Mr. Fox, Mr. Pine Marten AND Mr. Buzzard, you will be safer to keep your birds in the Ark, except when you might--late afternoon (so they will return to their Ark for feed and roosting) allow them free range while you are in the garden and orchard. They will enjoy it. You will keep them safe. Turn your back on free range birds--and eventually, just when you are least expecting, a predator will have chicken dinner! However, 3-6 hens will not completely ruin vegatation in 800 sq meters, but will make some bare patches. Keeping birds in when it is wet, saves much wear and tear on grass and meadow plants. Good luck, CJR

#65169 - 01/22/05 04:44 AM Re: How much free range space to keep some grass

That 'don't bother with the fence' idea is most appealing..... And the other tips about the weather and time of day to let them out sound good too. Thanks a lot. The Ark and run are really not as movable as I had hoped but I have learned how to haul them around now. Tho we're staying in one place on mulch until the grass starts to grow again in March. Looking forward to the summer !


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