Monday, July 25, 2011

Chicken Coop Problem

When we first built our chicken coop, we envisioned the chickens grazing on a fresh patch of grass every day.  For the first few months last summer, the chickens really did eat fresh grass every day because we moved the coop every day.

But this year is different....

The coop is a two person job when it comes to moving it. Eric and I have varied work schedules and don't always see eachother every day...which means the coops stays in the same place for a few days at a time. Our varied work schedules is fine with us, but not fine for the chickens.  The seven of them can plow through a grass patch in a day.  The second day the chickens start to kill the grass.  And the third day there is nothing but dirt. So slowly our wonderful backyard lawn is shrinking. 

We thought about just leaving the chicken coop in the same spot and opening the coop door when we are home (our fence allows us to do so now). The chickens need to be supervised when they free range because of the garden. But this idea isn't working right now too. Sometimes the chickens can't free range for a few days. The chicken poop stays in the dirt under the coop and the smell is aweful on a windy day.

Do you have any ideas? How can we let our chickens graze, but let our yard stay green?


  1. Chickens can destroy grass pretty quick- as you have found out. Can you protect the garden in order to let them out more or all day?

  2. I think fencing the garden is the next thing on the list. We still will only let the chickens out when we are home though. According to our city permit, we said that the chickens will stay in their coop. But it is so hard to keep them cooped when they love walking around the yard. Most of our neighbors like the chickens, but we don't want to cause any problems.

  3. How many chickens do you have? I know how much damage my nine girls can do, they just love to dig, don't they? Our chicken run is 100' x 75' and even with that much room, it's down to dirt.

    I know this is more work, but have you looked into chicken 'tractors'? We want to build one ourselves, just haven't had the time. Some people make them very elaborate, with the coop built right in, like a mobile home. We don't need that much construction, basically just a light wire enclosure on wheels with a source of shade and a place for water and some feed that can be moved about the yard easily. I saw one using old bicycle tires, chicken wire and 2x4's and it was a gem. We just haven't gotten around to building it yet.

    I live in the country, but even now, the girls have been in their big pen since June 1. I usually let them free-range from early spring til I plant the garden and then again around the middle of August til the snow flies. The only problem with letting them free-range has been stray dogs who have killed several of them over the years which is why we were seriously considering building the chicken tractor. And it would solve my problem of the hens going after the vegetables and the flowerbeds, too.

    I love to see them loose and running about the yard, though, they are so industrious!