Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Our Chicken Run

We have slowly been transforming our back yard into our little paradise.  We've spent countless hours in our garden and on our chicken run.  Although, really, I can't take any credit for the chicken run - Jason is the one who has put in all the hard work for that.  I posted early in the summer about how he had created a chicken run that gave the chickens quite a bit more area to roam....

....a lot more sweat has been put in to their run and, to be honest, if I was going to be a chicken, I'd want to be a Hayes Homestead chicken.

We would love to let our girls free range and wander freely, but, unfortunately, that's not an option for us.  Between the neighborhood dogs in our yard and the hawks that circle overhead, our hens would constantly be in danger.  We want our chickens to have freedom, but not have to be concerned for their safety.  They deserve a good life just as much as anyone else!  Jason had a vision, put it together, and it's awesome!

The way he has set it up is in 'zones'.  This gives us the ability to close off areas so that we can grow fresh grass for them to graze and dig up.  First, he started by putting a fence up in their original run, off of their coop.  The door we use to get in and out of the coop is on the south side of the coop.  The chicken door is on the east.  So, he put up a fence that cuts the run in half running north and south so that we can still get in and out of the coop easily, but we can block off a chunk of the run in order to grow new grass.  The gate easily latches to the side of the coop if we want them to have full access.  This also comes in handy when cleaning the coop.  I'm able to completely lock them out of the coop so I can do my job without them at my feet looking for treats :)


 Next, he fenced off a small part of our garden that we weren't utilizing this summer, but was way overgrown.  We use this area when we need to give their first extended run (with the big pine tree) a rest.  When this area is open, the gate that lets them in also shuts off the entrance to the pine tree.

Once the garden was near finished for the year, Jason decided to extend the garden area a bit by adding more fencing.  This gave the chickens the opportunity to graze on some leftover crops and dig for all kinds of bugs that had been living in the garden throughout the summer.

I know this is a bit hard to visualize via pictures!  Here is a video Jason took over the summer to share with a few of his coworkers in Maryland (it was taken before the second zone was made in the garden):

Jason still has plans to create yet another 'zone' around our fruit trees.  Although the fencing may be up this fall, we'll probably wait until the trees are a bit more mature and offer more adequate protection from hawks before we let the chickens loose in there.

His more current project is moving/restructuring our compost pile.  He's using big logs/tree stumps that have just been sitting around our fire pit.  He's also moved it out of the garden to an area that lines part of the chicken run.  This will give the chickens loads of awesome bugs to eat.  More on the compost in another post!

And there you have it!  We give our chickens lots of safe space to roam and live and they give us delicious eggs.  Fair trade I'd say :)

~ Sara :)

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