Free ranging chickens and a desire for a nice lawn...

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by seanb, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. seanb

    seanb Chillin' With My Peeps

    122
    18
    101
    May 24, 2011
    Central PA
    My wife and I are trying to arrive at a compromise. We allow our flock to free range when we're home so I understand Weed-N-Feed is out. I actually stopped using it a few years ago before we even had chickens, out of concern for it ending up running off to my favorite waterways and poisoning some of my favorite game fish.

    My question is, is anyone out there having any luck with products or methods that aren't harmful to your chickens (or at least placing undesirable chemicals in your eggs) but still take care of dandilions and broadleaf weeds?

    Is there a solution out there to have a nice lawn without poisoning your flock? Or do any solutions need to be organic and chemical free?

    Do chickens like dandilions? That would be nice...
     
  2. jomoncon

    jomoncon Chillin' With My Peeps

    659
    24
    141
    Sep 24, 2010
    New Orleans, LA
    Look into corn gluten. It's a fertilizer & weed suppressor, not a weed killer. It prevents seeds from sprouting, but does not kill existing weeds. It's safe.
     
  3. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    7,950
    271
    321
    Aug 20, 2010
    Colmesneil,TX
    It is probably different where you are due to the different types of grass we have in our lawns, but here, the most effective way to rid yourself of those weeds is weekly mowing. It stops the seed cycle and eventually you just don't see any.
     
  4. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    7,544
    172
    316
    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Oh my, YES they do! They are a wonderful source of early spring greens for them and contain all kinds of desirable nutrients too. I haven't had a dandelion in my backyard since I've had chickens and last spring I went around my front yard every evening, picking what I could find and carrying it back to the girls. I would hold the stems in one hand and in no time they had picked the leaves clean. I even went to a vacant house that had lots of dandelions growing and started picking those, figuring since the house was in foreclosure no one was spraying poisins around. Unfortunately that house is now occupied so this spring I'll have to find another source of dandelions. It is a nice way to get the yolks orange before other plants start greening up.
     
  5. karlamaria

    karlamaria Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,333
    51
    226
    Jan 30, 2011
    Western montana
    We have decided to enjoy the yard more this year, the hens destroyed half of it a d we want a. Ie yard to sit I. So we have decided to pen them and make sure the pen is nice a d large for our 5 girls. Mow the lawn every day on differe t sides of the house ,front side 1 side2 back side, etc. This way our girls will get fresh grass every day and we will toss it into there pen along with seeds, scratch and let them enjoy picking through it all to entertain them. Mowing theclawn this way will ensure every day the grass is fresh, and with out chemicals and such it will be very healthy. Looking into organic fertilizer, but we for sure want a lawn we can enjoy and can let our pets out in back with us. They love to munch the poo so we have had to take them out the front and watch them,what a pain! but we got new fencing last fall all around the back yard, and the dogs can now stay in the back yard and be cool under the tree's and hedges if we keep the girls in there pen. My plans are to double the pen size , so they will have one giant pen to play in, and since my boys catch them grass hoppers all summer and fall they hardly have to catch bugs :lol: my kids gut load them pretty good each day lol. Also we et them meal worms so free ranging is going to be done in the pen, unless we decide to let them out to play once in a while. and pick the poo up like last year. We sprayed for dandelions for years, but when we got our chickens we stopped, since the neighbor passed away years ago the house has been vacant, so there dandelions blew into our yard, we have lots but when we mow you can not tell. But when I found the girls loved them we cut them for them .
     
  6. jomoncon

    jomoncon Chillin' With My Peeps

    659
    24
    141
    Sep 24, 2010
    New Orleans, LA
    When you look into "organic" fertilizer, just be sure it's safe for the chickens. Organic does not necessarily & automatically mean safe to mean.
     
  7. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

    1,314
    39
    171
    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    Fortunately for us, our chickens seem to prefer to weeds in the grass over the grass itself. So when they free range, they weed for us (and lay down some fertilizer, too)! [​IMG] For stuff that they won't eat and does become unsightly or a hazard (e.g. thistles), I spot spray (treating ONLY the thing I want gone) with Round-Up if tearing it up by the roots doesn't work first. Whenever we do that, we keep the chickens out of that area for the next 2-3 days.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by