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Avoiding sour ground

PUBLISHED: 17:58 25 April 2014 | UPDATED: 21:06 29 April 2014

I have three hens which are in an ark attached to a pen which is 7’ 7”. The hens are let out every day and are in the pen/ark at night and the odd afternoon or day.  I have limited room and can move the pen into three different areas in my vegetable garden. Do you know how long it takes for the ground to become ‘sour’ and what is best to do with the area when they aren’t on it?

I was very interested in the correspondence regarding red mite – I blast the hen hut with a high pressure hose from all angles twice in the same day with a gap of three hours to allow for the shy ones to come out. This works well combined with the powder in the cracks.
Elaine Skeffington,
via email

If your ark is moved every few days, the ground won’t get too damaged, and it will have time to recover before the hens are back on it again, as rainfall will wash the droppings into the soil. If you find in the winter that the grass doesn’t grow sufficiently fast to keep the area green, you may have to have a permanent winter run with wood chippings on the floor and confine them to this instead, except when you let them out when you’re in the garden.
Your red mite treatment is obviously successful, and is good as long as you have the time and the observation to know when to do it. VR

Victoria Roberts BVSC MRCVS
Email the Vet's forum at:

Disclaimer: The information and advice in this column is given in good faith. However, as the animals in question have not been examined by the author, no liability in respect of diagnosis or application of any treatments is accepted either by the author or by Country Smallholding



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