Anyone tried mesh over grassed lawn to protect it from scratching?

charliebobgordon

In the Brooder
Aug 18, 2019
20
44
34
Suffolk, UK
Hello all. We like to free range our 7 hens. People keep telling us to fence them in but we’re wanting to persevere and try and adapt the garden for the chooks!

Over these past few winter months the lawn has turned to almost mud.

Has anyone tried attaching hardware cloth mesh or grass protection mesh over their lawn to try and discourage the chickens scratching it? I know it’s their natural behaviour but there will be plenty of other areas for the flock to do this.

I’ve read about some success but was interested to know if anyone had more insight?

December:
3B826317-72BF-4146-9D47-256B064924A7.jpeg

February:
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Thank you.
 

charliebobgordon

In the Brooder
Aug 18, 2019
20
44
34
Suffolk, UK
Thanks guys. Although it’s not as if I’m confining them to one mesh area inside a run, they have other parts of the garden where they will be able to scratch?

I’ve seen you can also get special grass protection mesh which is a plastic mesh so that could be a better idea although it is more costly!
 

Mtnboomer

Songster
Mar 17, 2019
583
1,118
172
Southwest Virginia (mountains)
We used to spec out a similar product to that provided in the link. Its a geomesh for grass parking areas to help prevent compaction and protect the roots of the grass. It may be more expensive, but it would offer long term protection.

Its intended to be laid on top of existing grass but in your situation you may need to cover with a thin layer of soil and reseed.
There are several manufacturers each with there own installation techniques.
 

charliebobgordon

In the Brooder
Aug 18, 2019
20
44
34
Suffolk, UK
We used to spec out a similar product to that provided in the link. Its a geomesh for grass parking areas to help prevent compaction and protect the roots of the grass. It may be more expensive, but it would offer long term protection.

Its intended to be laid on top of existing grass but in your situation you may need to cover with a thin layer of soil and reseed.
There are several manufacturers each with there own installation techniques.
Thank you! Have you used it for chooks? Yes, definitely will be reseeding at this rate, doesn’t look like it has much life yet. I may also stop mowing it, maybe that will help it last through Winter!
 

Mtnboomer

Songster
Mar 17, 2019
583
1,118
172
Southwest Virginia (mountains)
I have only seen it used for auxiliary parking areas (on grass lawns) and high pedestrian use areas where people cut across grass areas to prevent "cow paths" from occurring.
Definitely stop mowing what you have and keep the chickens off as much as possible until it recovers or new seedlings are well established.
If your soil is compacted, loosen the top layer (even just a hand rake will help) so that the seedlings roots can take hold. If you are going to free range, i would not treat your yard as a lawn anymore. Instead, consider treating it has a "pasture" for your chickens. Reseed it with a grasses and clover mix. Clover has a strong root system, fixes nitrogen for soil enhancement, and the chickens will love it.

Also beneficial are "edible landscapes." Planting groundcovers, shrubs, small trees that produce edible fruit, flowers, and foliage for both you and your chickens is a great way to make your "yard" (now a garden and orchard) work for you. Google "espalier fruit trees." Its a really cool way to grow fruit trees in small spaces.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
74,687
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SW Michigan
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I say no to mesh....fahgetaboutit.
Metal will hurt their feet, even worse when it starts to degrade.
They will tear up plastic and may ingest it.

Do you want to alleviate the mud/muck, have pretty grass, or stuff for chickens to eat...or?
Almost, if not totally, impossible to keep grass, or any vegetation, growing in a chicken run.

I'd advise wood chippings for the run.
My runs have semi-deep litter(cold composting), never clean anything out, just add smaller dry materials on occasion, add larger wood chippings as needed.
Aged ramial wood chippings are best IMO.




You could use grazing frames if you want some green for the chooks to nibble on while they are confined.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/grazing-frames.73645/

@charliebobgordon Might help us to know...
Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
1582815793850.png
 

charliebobgordon

In the Brooder
Aug 18, 2019
20
44
34
Suffolk, UK
I have only seen it used for auxiliary parking areas (on grass lawns) and high pedestrian use areas where people cut across grass areas to prevent "cow paths" from occurring.
Definitely stop mowing what you have and keep the chickens off as much as possible until it recovers or new seedlings are well established.
If your soil is compacted, loosen the top layer (even just a hand rake will help) so that the seedlings roots can take hold. If you are going to free range, i would not treat your yard as a lawn anymore. Instead, consider treating it has a "pasture" for your chickens. Reseed it with a grasses and clover mix. Clover has a strong root system, fixes nitrogen for soil enhancement, and the chickens will love it.

Also beneficial are "edible landscapes." Planting groundcovers, shrubs, small trees that produce edible fruit, flowers, and foliage for both you and your chickens is a great way to make your "yard" (now a garden and orchard) work for you. Google "espalier fruit trees." Its a really cool way to grow fruit trees in small spaces.
Some really good ideas in here, thanks! I’m planning to reseed and cover with netting and let it properly grow for a couple of months.

Grasses and clover mix sounds like a good idea, would this be more resistant?
 

charliebobgordon

In the Brooder
Aug 18, 2019
20
44
34
Suffolk, UK
I say no to mesh....fahgetaboutit.
Metal will hurt their feet, even worse when it starts to degrade.
They will tear up plastic and may ingest it.

Do you want to alleviate the mud/muck, have pretty grass, or stuff for chickens to eat...or?
Almost, if not totally, impossible to keep grass, or any vegetation, growing in a chicken run.

I'd advise wood chippings for the run.
My runs have semi-deep litter(cold composting), never clean anything out, just add smaller dry materials on occasion, add larger wood chippings as needed.
Aged ramial wood chippings are best IMO.




You could use grazing frames if you want some green for the chooks to nibble on while they are confined.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/grazing-frames.73645/

@charliebobgordon Might help us to know...
Where in this world are you located?
Climate, and time of year, is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
View attachment 2036781
You didn’t read my post as they aren’t confined to a run. I think you missed that they’re free ranging. The mesh would just be on the grass area to help protect it so they wouldn’t be walking on it 24/7. Were eventually going to be down to 5 chickens so it’s not like we have a huge number either.
 
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