Adding grass to run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by cristina, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. cristina

    cristina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 29, 2011
    I've had my girls for 2 months and in 1 month they turned a beautiful baseball-field-like area of grass (their oversized run) into dirt. I wasn't expecting anything less and am happy for them, but now I want them to have stuff to peck at all day! Their run is 100% dirt now. Is this normal? Should and can I plant or grow grass for them? or another alternative -- it doesn't look like a fun place to peck. Am I spoiling them?

    Thanks
     
  2. Chick Norris

    Chick Norris Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 16, 2011
    Chester County, PA
    Make some salad bars. Make rectangles out of landscape timbers and cover them with hardware cloth and then seed the ground underneath. The grass will grow and the birds will be able to snip it off and eat it without destroying the roots. Look up some pics. There are tons in BYC.
     
  3. Barred Babies

    Barred Babies Red Roof Farms

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    Yes it's normal and the only way for you to get anything to grow you'd have to section off part of the run where they don't have access to it!! Good Luck! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  4. WitksChicks

    WitksChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 8, 2009
    Central CT
    Quote:Excellent idea! I'm in between flocks right now, have 8 chicks in a brooder box, and am disinfecting the coop/run, etc from the flock I just gave away to someone who wanted older layers. I will definitely try the salad bars with the new flock.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  5. kesali

    kesali Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 27, 2011
    far northern Wisconsin
    My yard, not counting the house, garage, sheds, is about one acre. I was planning on turning my 14 6-week old pullets loose from the run in two weeks. Does this mean the lawn will eventually be gone because the grass will not be able to keep up with 14 scratching chickens? Oh, my! Salad bars are not really much of a option here. I really don't want the lawn destroyed, so they may have to be happy in the run.
     
  6. Lyon3mchics

    Lyon3mchics Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 17, 2010
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    I would like more information on the salad bar in the run. We have the land but, only let the girls out when someone is out with them. Usually 2 or 3 hours a day. We see fox, coyatoe in the cherry, apple tree even during the day.
     
  7. Barred Babies

    Barred Babies Red Roof Farms

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    Quote:You will get different opinions on this but I can tell you that I had 62 chickens that free ranged from dawn till dusk and never destroyed my yard and I stll had to mow once a week. My backyard that we fenced is for the dogs is prob about an acre give or take!!
     
  8. WalkerH

    WalkerH Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think I may have to do this salad bar option eventually. Mine are soon to get their wings clipped, so no more running around like wild animals...
     
  9. kesali

    kesali Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 27, 2011
    far northern Wisconsin
    Thanks much Barred Babies! If the grass can handle your 62, it should be able to handle my 14! At least I hope it stays at 14, but you know how chicken math goes. Second thought tells me I will not be able to keep them out of the run all day. There are numerous raptors cruising over my yard throughout the day because this is a fairly heavily forested area with lots of lakes. Bald eagles, ospreys, and hawks of all descriptions would enjoy a chicken meal. There is never a day that passes without one or two spending some time circling above my area. The eagles are the most common and could be the most frustrating because they can do anything they want and they always win in court!! I guess I will just let them out for a couple hours in the late afternoon/evening and keep an eye on them. They can't do much lawn damage that way and it does give them time to be chickens.
     
  10. Most chickens WILL eat greens as much as they can. Grass, Plants, Leaves, Anything green is always subject to plucking and eating. 1/3 of a chickens diet will consist of greens of some sort if they are allowed to choose their feed or free range. So it meerly comes down to how much grass/greens are available per chicken. Having 17 full sized chickens and having lived on 1/4 of an acre I can personally attest to the fact that although they eat the manicured lawn and most everything in my garden, the grass still had to be mowed and only a few bald spots showed up on the side of the house where they liked to create their beaulieus. So if they have eaten all your grass in the run area 1) give em lots of greens to eat, 2) make the run larger with grass to eat or 3) let them free range on your grass/yard if you have enough to support the number of hens you have.
     

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