Pastured Hens

I like seeing chickens that are free to roam, eating greenery and scratching and pecking to their hearts’ content, but I also like my flower beds.  And my neighbors.

Still, last year when the garden was pretty much done, we ranged our birds and enjoyed watching all their antics.  Our one neighbor is especially fond of watching the chickens too, and as we both have very large, open back yards, she assured me that she wouldn’t mind one bit if they strayed over onto her property.

That went well for several weeks until the chickens, tired of the garden remains and the vast back yards, ranged ever closer to our houses and eventually up onto our neighbor’s deck.  If you’re aware of what chickens do and do frequently, you know why that’s a big uh oh.  Even though our neighbor didn’t mind the chickens coming around, we thought she might start minding pretty soon if that continued.

So, back to the coop went the chickens.  Back to the already-scratched-up, dusty run with not a speck of greenery to peck at.

Then my husband thought of a way to give them access to fresh pasture—a way that did not require sending the kids outside to chase the chickens away from too-close-to-the-neighbor’s-house ten times a day.  And this is how we’ve pastured our chickens ever since.

He took the dog kennel we had used for our younger birds before they were integrated into the flock and made a system of rotating it around the existing run.

He cut openings in the fence and built little latch-lock doors into it so we can simply open whichever door the kennel is aligned with and then close it when we move the kennel to the next spot.

You can see the kennel was just moved.  We let the chickens peck down the grass and weeds quite a bit, but not enough to dig up the roots.  By the time we rotate around to that area next time, more grass and weeds will have grown, so they always have a fresh supply.

It’s a win-win.  Chickens are happy.  Neighbors are happy.  Eggs taste great.  Flower beds are intact.  Perfect!

Linked to Simple Lives Thursday, Fall Farm Friend Friday and Homestead Barn Hop.