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Can grass seed be spread in a chicken yard?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by katelk, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This winter my girls have done a number on the yard. I am wondering of it is safe to spread grass seed to ensure they continue having a lush green yard.
    If it is safe, would the chickens eat all the seeds? Would that make a difference since they may poop them back onto the yard ?
    Or would I have to move the chickens until the grass started to take root.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I would move the chickens. They will definitely eat the seed. The troule with this is, most seed for planting is treated with antifunglals or whatever -- products which are not meant to be eaten.
     
  3. granny hatchet

    granny hatchet Tastes like chicken Premium Member

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    grass and chickens dont really go together. i guess it depends on the traffic. they will eat it and pooping it out will not grow because its too fertilized. you will have to keep them off it. if you want a supply of grass for them you need to do a rotation system with the chickens . whenever it starts getting low block that section off from them
     
  4. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was afraid of that. I only have 12 birds with a pretty good sized yard. I have noticed that this past winter while the grass was dry and brown, they scratched it up so much you can pick up clumps of dead grass. I am worried about how much or if the grass will come back in the spring. I have seen chicken yards that have been reduced to just dirt, and I definitely don't want that.
    How can you tell if the birds are doing too much damage to the greenery?
     
  5. granny hatchet

    granny hatchet Tastes like chicken Premium Member

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    when it looks like yours [​IMG]. hahaha, you probably could just run some bird netting from one side to the other and do half at a time. they will always do this so you need to pick a place. they dont need your whole yard. fence them a place and give up on grass there.
     
  6. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ahh! How much space per bird does it take to keep that from happening? I thought our yard was plenty big, but they are like tiny bulldozers!
     
  7. granny hatchet

    granny hatchet Tastes like chicken Premium Member

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    it is recommended that in a run for large fowl they have 10 square ft. per bird not counting the coop that is 3-4 ft. i dont know how many people stick to this rule but there it is. for 12 lg. chickens thats 120 ft. or 10x12 space if im doing my math right
     
  8. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is the space needed per bird for general living though--not the space needed for maintenance actual greenery. With that amount of space there will be no living plants ANYWHERE in the run. Chickens are pretty destructive.

    But, to the OP, there are ways around it. If you can find way to protect the bottom part of the plants and just let the hens munch on the tops you can have continued growth. You might want to look into grazing frames or a living feeder. I would also be interested in knowing what sort of space people are able to pasture birds in and maintain green life. But, I would guess that unless your yard is large enough to be considered a pasture or something close to I am going to assume they will likely eat everything given enough time.

    You could also think about making a tractor or run that can be moved around so that you plant one side/area and let it grow then move the run there while the other side grows and keep switching.

    http://www.thegardencoop.com/blog/2012/02/07/grazing-frames-backyard-chickens/



    Another option is to keep the chickens confined to one part of the yard and grow fodder for them.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/713334/growing-fodder-for-chickens
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014
  9. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    if there are just some small areas that are bad off, you can always make wire frames to cover them. You make a frame of 2x4s, like a picture frame, with wire on one side where the picture would be.

    Toss that on the ground, and then the grass gets to grow a full four inches high before the chickens start to eat it, AND the chickens can't scratch at the roots. You can also put grass seed under the frame.

    Maybe the chickens just need to be kept off of the grass in the dormant season.
     
  10. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lots of good ideas!! I am definitely going to build that frame and give that a try. Also, I never even thought of just keeping the chickens somewhere else during. The winter. I have a small pen where I gave up to dirt a long time ago lol. It is small, but they will be fine just during the winter I'm sure. Thanks for the ideas!
     

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