Grass ideas??

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by JanetS, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. JanetS

    JanetS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Because of a bobcat attack I can no longer let my chickens free range. We have expanded their run and they have plenty of room now but they miss digging and eating the grass in our backyard. I was thinking of buying a couple of pieces of sod to put in their run but I'm worried about the fertilizer and pesticides they use on them. Any ideas???
     
  2. PaleoDan

    PaleoDan Out Of The Brooder

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    This might not be exactly what you were looking for but I saw an article where they took 1x3 wood and made a frame (any size that fits in your coop will do). They then nailed 1/4 inch hardware cloth to the frame and laid it on the ground in the coop so that the mess was on top leaving a 3 inch gap between it and the ground. They then planted grains (like winter wheat or rye) under the mesh covered frames. The grass grows up through the 1/4 inch mess and out the top. This lets the chickens graze on the tender grass tops but not kill the whole plant down to the roots and they said it keeps growing. I have not tried it yet myself but plan to this spring.
     
  3. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    My Coop
    This is my fourth winter of putting sod down in the run. During most of the year the run is covered with grapevines, blocking all sunlight from hitting the ground. But after the first frost (generally in Nov.) the leaves drop and I trim the vines back in preparation for the sod. I first take the sod and roll it out in another place in the yard. I thoroughly soak it a couple times with water and allow it to drain between soakings. After it dries I roll it up and put it back down inside the run and soak it thoroughly again. I don't know how much of the fertilizer and pesticides are washed off, but I have to believe it's better than not doing it. I do know that what remains in the sod is much less deadly than the coyotes that have taken to visiting my yard.

    The grass generally lasts until the vines completely cover the run in May-June. I keep one patch covered with wire to prevent them from scratching up the roots and it lasts the longest. It might not be worth it for those with lots of birds, but it works well for my small flock.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. PaleoDan

    PaleoDan Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 24, 2013
    Yardville, NJ
    [​IMG]
    Here is a picture of it
     
  5. jasmer

    jasmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, I've already gotten two fantastic ideas from the others who answered this but I thought I would add another little something.

    You can get winter forage to grow in these boxes as well, like rye grass or other winter grasses. If you can keep the snow off it, a cold-hardy winter grass should provide a little bit of fresh greens during the cooler months. Depending on how cold it gets, it could still just stop growing or even die, though.
     
  6. JanetS

    JanetS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 22, 2012
    Thank you. I like these ideas.
     
  7. HooDoo Mtn Farm

    HooDoo Mtn Farm Out Of The Brooder

    Have you considered sprouts?
    I've posted this elsewhere . . .

    I bought a bucket for each day of the week from the Dollar store.
    Day 1 is a soaker, no holes in bottom, with a pint of whatever seed (currently lentil culls; 100 lb bag for $10!).
    Days 2-6 have holes in bottoms, nested into one another.
    I cut 4-inch-long sections of 4" dia white plastic pipe, and set one in the bottom of each bucket as spacers, so these buckets stack about 20" high.
    Day 6 bucket is at the top of the stack, & is where I run my fresh rinse water into, 2x a day (filtering down thru the stack, all set in the bathtub).
    Day 7 bucket has no holes & is in a lighted area, "greening up".

    The gals get Day 7 bucket every day; day 6 goes into #7, Day one soaker bucket gets dumped into #6, which then gets rotated to the #1 (bottom) position in the stack.

    That 1 pint turns into a gallon & a half of sprouts for my 2 dozen chickens.

    Next on the agenda is fermenting a separate batch of seed grains, when my 100 Delaware chicks come in May
     
  8. JanetS

    JanetS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 22, 2012
    I like your idea of sprouts. What kind of seeds? And where do you buy them? Thanks.
     
  9. HooDoo Mtn Farm

    HooDoo Mtn Farm Out Of The Brooder

    Any kind, cheapest source..
    Where do you live? I'll help brainstorm . . .
     
  10. stone_family3

    stone_family3 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My girls don't get free range of the yard much anymore and so when we cut the grass we rake up the clippings and I toss them into the run, the girls eat them up fast.
     

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