Grass in the run Theory

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by sawyerashton, Jan 21, 2013.

  1. sawyerashton

    sawyerashton Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 18, 2012
    South Louisiana
    My Coop
    Please tell me if I'm right, wrong, or a little of both.

    Every day I pick some fresh grass and put in the coop with my 4 - 7 week old Barred Rocks. I was thinking, by putting fresh grass in every day, it will help them from eating all of the vegetation in the run or at least slow it down. They've been on the same 4x12 footprint for 3 weeks now and while they have eaten a good bit, no part of the run is down to the dirt yet.

    Am I right or misguided?

    I'm trying to keep from having to move the coop too often.
     
  2. jeepguy982001

    jeepguy982001 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    nope eventually it'll be gone. But i did learn a trick on here that i haven't tried yet basically you make a square out of 2x4s and put wire mesh and lay it in your chicken pen. That way they can eat the grass, but can't get to the roots to kill it. Not for the whole run just a section or two.
     
  3. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Los Angeles
    x2 They will destroy everything they have regular access to. If you want them to have fresh greens to eat you have a few options.

    1. Make the wire screens as mentioned above so they can't get the base of the plants and just graze the tops.
    http://www.thegardencoop.com/blog/2012/02/07/grazing-frames-backyard-chickens/

    2. Grow your own fodder elsewhere and give them a patch of it daily
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/713334/growing-fodder-for-chickens

    3. movable tractor or divided/rotating run so you can vary where they are in your yard and let vegetation grow back.

    4. I also read about someone on here that had a varied of potted plants and would put a few in the run each day and then swap them out very regularly to let them grow. Not sure how well that works but could be worth a try.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  4. sawyerashton

    sawyerashton Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 18, 2012
    South Louisiana
    My Coop
    That's sort of what I expected that it would eventually be barren. How long will it take them to do this?

    Will I be safe moving once a month? If it does go bare, it's not a big deal.
     
  5. TheReadyBoys

    TheReadyBoys Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My run is just dirt now. I only put the hens in around the middle of October, too. When I have access to fresh grass, I pick some and spread it around. I think they will destroy it eventually.
     
  6. simple solution! just make the run bigger. like your entire yard...lol.Sorry.

    I started with a run about your size too and started to see it go barren. I doubled the size and it worked fine for a year or so. next year i doubled it again. Seems to work good now for my flock. they havent killed anything at all the last two years. here's my run after 4 years of them on it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You could always try rotating them off one piece to another to keep the area green. Let them eat in it for a month or so before they kill the grass and put them into another area and so on. Kind of like a rotational grazing system that we use for beef?
     
  7. manaze88

    manaze88 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 20, 2012
    Berryville, Virginia
    I put the clipped grass from the lawn mowing in the pen with them. Now that it's winter, I bought a bail of hay and I put one pad in every week or two. Helps keep the ground from getting muddy, somewhat. Mine get to free range when we're around, but during the day we keep them in the pen/coop so they don't have to worry about predators. The inside of the pen started out with very little grass, and it won't grow until I move them :)
     
  8. sawyerashton

    sawyerashton Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 18, 2012
    South Louisiana
    My Coop
    Once they get quite a bit bigger I do plan on letting them roam the yard in the afternoons when I get home from work. I'm waiting until they are full grown. It will take me till them to get the dog properly trained not to eat them.

    I'll just move the coop and pen every few weeks. For the remainder of winter though, I'll continue to put fresh cut grass. I live in south Louisiana so the grass is always growing in some part of the yard.
     

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