Grass or no grass???

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jenni22776rn, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. jenni22776rn

    jenni22776rn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just finished with our chickens coop and run...the one that they were in before was a quick made run after a fox attack. I am shocked at how fast the green grass and lawn was turned into a brown patch. Their new coop and run has nice green grass but not for long. I was wondering if others have their chickens on grass..do they need grass? We can not move them this year and we have a medium sized flock...10 right now. Free ranging is out after a fox tried to grab our Russell the Roo a few months ago. They have a area for dustbathing and they still have some green grass..but I noticed that it is getting smaller and smaller. We are planning on trying the electric fencing next year around our back yard for "free ranging" but until then are they ok in a run with no grass? Should I try to relocate them?
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    As you can see..they have fresh green grass right now..but that I am afraid will only last another few weeks...uggg!
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    This is the old run,,they were only in the run for 3 months..and there is not one piece of grass left..is this how most runs look?
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2011
  2. Wyogirl

    Wyogirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's what mine looks like LOL. Your coop is very cute!
    Ayda
     
  3. dichotomymom

    dichotomymom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any grass you put them on (if for an extended period) will be dead and gone in no time.
     
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Yeah...it'll be gone in a few months. Some folks (including myself) can keep grass in a run only if the run is HUGE for the amount of chickens in it, or if the chickens freerange a LOT. That's why a lot of people end up going with sand - but that would be difficult with your type of run. Other than the potential of getting all muddy if/when you have a rainy season, it'll be fine. Just toss them some green stuff as often as possible...cut grass, veggies, etc.
     
  5. BigIslandChicks

    BigIslandChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yup, im pretty sure unless you move them all the time, [​IMG] then thats how most runs look! lolX2 my poor chooks - there run is not even up yet and theres only about 2 shreds of grass in the area right now! all sand! which i love most of the time - and i didnt need to put in a sand floor in the new coop because it was already there [​IMG] so good but bad - i wish they could have more grass all the time, too! but our yard right now is not much better - torched and somewhat like the desert and the beach [​IMG]

    your coop is super cute and im sure your girls will be fine with or without the grass - and if you plan on free ranging in the future then dats good. also i have seen my midwife had a coop with a separate run on each side - and when there was nothing left on one side she would switch them out to the other side and let the previous sides grass grow back for a few months - well i see your in maine with a limited growing season and im in hawaii with an all year growing season and mostly stuff grows like weeds around here - so it worked out for her - one side was all dirt with the chickens in it and one side was all green! i even thought it would be a good idea to have your garden in the other side and after you pick all your fruits before the frost(or whatever- after the plants are pau (done -Hawaiian)) let the chickens in to devour all the green left - mine love broccoli leaves!

    Aloha [​IMG]
     
  6. fmizula

    fmizula Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i have a preditor problem where i live as well (rural vermont) and i allow my chickens out to free range when me and my watchful dog have an eye over them and if i need to leave i put them back inside. with a little scratch corn it is fairly easy to convince a chicken of anything with that stuff!! i have only lost one very tincy weency silkie girl to something over 2 years time. she was however one of my favorites. after that attack my DH put a 4 ft garden style fence up along where we figured the preditor came from and nothing has happened yet (knock on wood)
     
  7. MIKE555444

    MIKE555444 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm thinking about trying some sort of rotating pasture that might let one grasses area recover before they destroy it completely. My cup is already full for this year.... so it will have to be future project.
     
  8. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Hi Jenni-

    Your new coop is sooo cute! Love the butterfly accent! Unfortunately, that's pretty typical with the grass dieing. My chicken runs also had grass at one time, but all the grass died, so my husband went and got a load of sand and that works great. Just plain dirt would get really stinky, and the sand is so nice. You can scoop the poo, rake it out and it stays pretty fresh. And when it gets wet, it dries easily if you just rake it around a bit to loosen it up.

    My chickens get lots of exposure to grass, because I free range them during the day. I also have two turkeys. There's grass around the house, probably an acre, and then the rest of the property is wooded, which provides cover from hawks and shade. They love it.

    Once the grass is gone in your new run, add the sand. You will love it. And then I throw in the grass clippings when I mow. They think that's a real treat.

    Take care,
    Sharon
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes, they will wipe out anything green unless they have access to a huge area. You probably can't afford to totally predator protect the space you would need to keep an area green. I sure can't.

    Do they NEED green stuff. Not really. The feed contains everything they NEED, but I think the eggs are better and they have more fun eating the green stuff and scratching around for creepy crawlies. But I understand the predator risk very well.

    There are a few things you can do without letting them free range. You can throw grass clippings and such in the run. A warning with this. Don't throw real long grass clippings in there. When they eat living grass, they clip off small bits. With cut grass they cannot clip off small bits. The long strands can (not each and every time but it CAN) get wadded up in their crop and cause an impacted crop, which is serious. Usually grass clippings from a mulching mower are fine. You may need to run over the grass a couple of times to chop it up with another type of mower. Or cut your grass before it gets that tall.

    Give them extra produce from your garden. Anything from damaged tomatoes to cabbage leaves. Or give them your kitchen scraps. They will love them.

    Some people build a garden for their chickens. Build a frame in the run and cover it with chicken wire or hardware cloth. Have the wire a few inches above the ground. That way, the grass can grow and they can only clip off what they can reach. I'd suggest long and slender instead of square so the wire does not sag as much.
     
  10. monkeemakr

    monkeemakr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Another dead grasser here. But your coop is to die for! I pretend I'm just old fashioned with my ramshackle coop, but in reality, I no skill, ingenuity, or perceptive genius to build such a delight.
     

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