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Chickens and lawns. .need some advice!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by skatcatla, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. skatcatla

    skatcatla Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 26, 2007
    So..what's the scoop on chickens and grass? I'm planning to have just 2-3 chickens and keep the coop and attached run on a nice dirt/straw area, but I'd like to be able to let them out a couple of times a day (in the morning and in the evening) to roam around the yard and eat grass and bugs).

    Will this be beneficial for the yard in small amounts? I don't want them to completely destroy my nice, relatively new grass...so how much time is too much time in the yard? Also, I have vegetables in raised beds...do I need to fence those off? They are not small plants...
     
  2. Yonaton

    Yonaton Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Has the grass set good solid roots? It's not that the eating it will hurt it any (it won't), it's the scratching they do. If the grass hasn't established good, deep roots, it'll come up easy as they scratch. Of course, if it's a big yard and you only have three, they'll spread the scratching around and probably won't tear up anything in just one place. Best just to watch 'em and see what they do for a day or two.

    Yes, fence off the garden! They'll eat all the bugs, but when the bugs are gone, the veggies are next, heh.
     
  3. ZuniBee

    ZuniBee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I built my pen on well established grass. While building the pen I let the chicks play in the back yard an hour a day. After a few days I had to stop because I could see the patches of missing grass.

    Long story short, I put the chicks in the new pen and after a week the grass is GONE. They ate the grass, the roots, and scratched the rest! Mine love grass!
     
  4. skatcatla

    skatcatla Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the responses! I had a feeling they'd be tough on the grass. It's pretty well-established and of course the dog is hard on it too.

    I'll have to make sure I keep an eye on them and not let them have too much access for too long. Thanks also for confirming my concerns about the veggies!
     
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Let's put it this way. We never will have to cut our grass again, although we didnt have much of a lawn, area-wise, to start with, living in the woods on a mountain. They are very efficient grass-cutters.
     
  6. sillygoose4ever

    sillygoose4ever Out Of The Brooder

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    Our lawn stays nice and green because of the extra nutrients the chickens put on it. It also can get a little messy! Good Luck skatcatla!
     
  7. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If I could get away without having to cut my grass, that would be a HUGE blessing!

    My chicks were outside all day today in a makeshift pen. They like to eat the grass, which shouldn't be a problem. However, they also like to lie in the dirt ... which means they have to scratch up a bunch of grass to make a little dirt-bowl. Within about 2 hours they had made 3 of them.

    I know some people give them sand (especially mixed with diatomaceus-however-you-spell-it-earth) which is what I hope to do, and that might cut down on the purposeful scratching to reach dirt. I guess they will probably scratch anyway though.

    trish
     
  8. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Our back lawn is probably 2000 square feet and our 10 chickens are fine on it. They don't scrach in the grass (it's pretty thick) but they eat the blades.
     
  9. skatcatla

    skatcatla Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok..so it really sounds like this behavior can vary widely.

    The coop and attached run will be kept on a thick dirt/mulch area with lots of shade, so they can scratch away to their hearts content there. I was just thinking I'd let them roam around the yard for brief periods, maybe 30 minutes in the morning while I get ready for work and another 30 minutes in the evening.

    But I don't know how destructive just two hens would be..if in 30 minutes they would denude my yard or what! My yard is not that large, the grass area is maybe 45 x 25.
     
  10. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You could always watch them and see how they do.

    With my chicks, I have noticed that the dirt itself in a thin patch causes them to scratch. They don't try where the grass is thick. I don't know for sure, but I would think that if your grass is healthy, and if they already have a place to dig and scratch, they would do most if not all of their scratching there?

    It's worth a try. I'm sure they can't totally denude the yard in 30 minutes at any rate. You need at least 3 chickens for that. (I'm just kidding!)

    Good luck with it! I'm sure they'd enjoy it anyway.

    trish <--- NOT a chicken expert! [​IMG]
     

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