Chicken friendly ground cover options for the backyard

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by m1marin, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. m1marin

    m1marin Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 2, 2016
    San Leandro
    Hi everyone. Wasn't sure where to post this so I thought of coop & run...

    We let our 3 girls free range in the backyard which is about 50' x 50'. However because of the California drought we stopped watering the grass. The few green blades that were left quickly got scratched up and devoured. Now we're down to bare dirt, and with all the rains we're getting it has turned into a big old patch of mud. Over time as the mud compacts and dries out I'm worried about drainage. We got to thinking and wondering about what ground cover options might be compatible with chickens. We'd love to hear what others have done or recommend.

    Thanks :)
     
  2. bramblefir

    bramblefir Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With a yard that size they will perpetually destroy anything you attempt to grow. I would first recommend building a run for the girls so they'll be less damaging on your yard. You can still let them out to free range, but you can limit it help keep your lawn in better condition.

    For groundcover you might look at an eco-lawn mix which has lower water requirements than a regular grass lawn. You can also check out this list here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/plants-chickens-dont-eat. For the run, you can bed it heavily in bark, sand, or straw and build a raised bed with a wire cover to grow grass in that they can eat when it gets above the wire.
     
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  3. Leigti

    Leigti Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There is forage seed mix is made specifically for chickens. And pasture mixes. They take a lot less water. Not exactly a lawn but it works.
     
  4. yellowherb

    yellowherb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was growing DEER forage in old coffee cans last year to give to my aviary birds as snacks. The chickens were getting on my potting table and devouring the plants.

    I bought the bags of seed at tractor supply in the deer food section, it's all on clearance right now in FL. I managed to get a 10lb bag of seed for like 8.99. Plenty for all year long :) This has oats, radish, clover, rye and other various seeds. Some you may not want in your yard.

    Another option is oats, whole oats like used for horse feed. The chickens may eat the oats you scatter but if they miss them it will grow into a pretty thick grass.
     
  5. Goosegrrl

    Goosegrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 16, 2015
    Central FL
    Thanks for the reminder that I need to pick up a sack of seed... and glad it's finally on sale!
     
  6. m1marin

    m1marin Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 2, 2016
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    Thanks for all the great suggestions everyone :)
     

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