We have had chickens for over a year now. The chicken yard is completely bare of anything green.
While I was mowing today, I pulled part of the fence over some grass they hadn't been able to reach. In minutes, all the birds were busy pecking at the fresh grass.
I was thinking - farmers let their chickens run loose probably so they can feed cheaply without denuding anything. They will go back in the coop at dusk reliably - so why don't I let them loose?
While I was wondering this, a big hawk swooped down on the chicken yard, leveling out about a foot over the deer net I have strung up over the yard.
The chickens are staying in the yard, until I can figure out how to keep dive-bombing hawks from getting free chicken dinners. A hawk-chasing drone, maybe?