Are hens good for the lawn?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 4littlehens, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. 4littlehens

    4littlehens Hatching

    Oct 5, 2008
    I have 4 beautiful hens, all about 6 months old:). They have recently started scratching in the grass. Now I have about 30 little patches of dirt throughout my lawn. Is this typical? Will I ever be able to have a beautiful lawn and free range chickens?
  2. Mycookoonest

    Mycookoonest Songster

    May 29, 2008
    Hudson Valley NY
    How much area are they free ranging in?

    Mine have 25X25 or more foot space to run around in and they have all but ruined that space for the grass... I'm sure if they had the run of the yard they would be a little better.

    The holes they are making is just where they want to take a dirt bath. I noticed they love to lay out in these spots especially when the sun it out.

    Also are you throwing scratch out? If you throw scratch in the lawn they will scratch it trying to get the littles tidbit. What else is left for a chicken to do?
  3. OHChick

    OHChick Songster

    May 8, 2007
    mine dig holes everywhere and make huge dust piles. thankfully mine are not near the house or my yard would be destroyed. i had no idea when i bought them that they would dig like they do. on the plus side they found a nice pocked knife that was buried in my barn floor. had probably been there about 30 yrs. [​IMG]
  4. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

    May 11, 2008
    Howell Michigan
    If you like a lawn that looks like a lunar landscape I guess that they are good for the lawn.
  5. bills

    bills Songster

    Jan 4, 2008
    vancouver island
    Good one Opa![​IMG]

    At six months you already have patches in your lawn. Imagine what it will look like in a year from now. :eek:

    I think that if you want them to free range, and have a nice yard, you'd better restrict them to one area that you are willing to sacrifice. Simply build a fenced off area for them, next to their coop preferably.
  6. dbsnova

    dbsnova Hatching

    Sep 30, 2008
    Hi All

    I have 3 chickens in my backyard and they do scratch a lot but there is enough room that they don't do it in one place. Maybe 75x75. They do get into my compost and scater it around. I have to rake it up once a week. I have noticed that If they have plenty to eat they don't scratch much. I leave corn for them out all the time.


  7. ChickenLuva

    ChickenLuva In the Brooder

    Sep 14, 2008
    MA/NH border
    I have 4 hens that roam my yard. They haven't done damage to the lawn, but we have a lot of areas right near the tree line where they will dig for bugs and such. I also dump my grass clippings there to encourage them to dig there, they seem to enjoy that. They have also taken to a particular patch of mulch that I have, where they dig their dusting bath-tubs under a shrub. I have found that it is much easier for me to lure them to the same spot every day by hanging a bird feeder in the area. They LOVE bird seed so they spend lots of time under the feeder scratching at all the seed the chipmunks and squirrels have managed to drop below the feeder. Dropping a handful there on a regular basis will likely do the same.
  8. 4littlehens

    4littlehens Hatching

    Oct 5, 2008
    Thanks for all of the replies. The girls free range in about a 1/4 acre of lawn and flowerbeds. I will try putting corn and seed in the beds. However, experience tells me that they will scratch exactly where I don't want them to [​IMG].

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