Grass

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by megamony, Jan 30, 2016.

  1. megamony

    megamony New Egg

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    My chickies have eaten ALL the grass and now i have to regrow them, will the chickens be sad if i keep them in a run? I'll let em free range when it grows back. Do you guys and girls think it's a good idea or a better way to improve it?
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Sounds like you're setting yourself up for a vicious cycle. You'll regrow the grass, let the chickens out, they'll eat it down, you'll lock them up, regrow the grass, let them out, they'll eat it down.... How big is the area that they free range on? How many birds do you have? You may need to enlarge their area, reduce your flock, or just keep them penned if you're looking to keep a nice lawn.
     
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  3. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How many chickens and how big of an area are you talking about? Personally, I wouldn't waste my time trying to get grass to grow. It's a battle you'll never win. Work on drainage so it's not a mud pit and just let it be bare ground.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2016
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  4. megamony

    megamony New Egg

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  5. megamony

    megamony New Egg

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    Jan 30, 2016
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    Haha i guess i'll have to fight back ;P
     
  6. alexkrass

    alexkrass New Egg

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    i had the same issue with mine! they ate all their grass in their run and now its just barren so what ive been doing is i only let them out of the run on Saturdays. Saturdays are the the only day were i am home all day and can watch over them. now my run is fairly large and i only have 6 chickens so it really insnt confined. so i just put some toys out there for them. i made perches and i hung some bells and wind chimes for them to play with. as well as my cat she likes to sit by the run and play with the hens. i also added some pots filled with weeds and they eat the weeds and then they dust bathe in the pots. [​IMG]best of luck- Alex
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    No matter the size of your run, you can have it be a healthy environment for your flock, instead of it turning into a stinky, barren moon-scape. As they strip the vegetation, and eventually, they will. (I've had my flock of 16 - 25 in a 1600 s.f. electronet run, and they did strip the area around the coop, while the grass remained in about 2/3 of it.) I recently built a 500 s.f. permanent run which can be covered, due to hawk predation. Because it was new construction, after land was cleared, there was very little vegetation. My immediate goal was to cover every sq. inch of that run with 6" of organic matter. I've used shavings/poo shoveled straight out of the coop, lawn clippings, and added many bags of leaves, garden debris, wood chips, and a few bales of hay. Job is far from finished. But, when flock is confined to the run, they have a nice layer of detritus to rummage through for the many bugs and worms that will be attracted. This layer will also be heavy in the microbes and fungus that contribute to a healthy gut flora in the flock, as well as decrease the risk of internal parasites. The poop will mix into this mixture as the whole layer gradually (and you'd be surprised how quickly it actually does happen!) melts into the ground, creating a healthy compost and humus laden soil. If my flock were confined to this run every day, I'd build a couple of growing frames, covered with wire and seed them to a mixture of chicken friendly forage crops. Add some multi height boredom busters, as well as a chicken swing, and your flock will be so busy they won't have time to get bored.
     
  8. cambriagardener

    cambriagardener Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow, looks like you got a lot of ideas and none of them include growing a lawn just so your hens can eat it..
    Because we have a small flock and a nice size run, we keep a bale of alfalfa in the coop. Every week or so I tear off a little off to expose the green leaves. They love to pick at it. Keeps them busy and happy! The hens garden with me when I'm out. But we have put chicken wire around the vegetable beds so they we have something to harvest! [​IMG]
     
  9. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    If you want to grow grass that your chickens can eat and scratch in and not kill it all off by destroying the roots, you need to know the difference between sod type grasses and bunch grasses. The former is a European variety that is great for covering large areas and growing into a solid carpet because the roosts are very shallow and grow horizontally. This type of grass is easily destroyed by animals' feet disturbing that root system.

    There is another type of grass, native to North America, that has deep roots and grows in clumps rather than a carpet. The roots, once established, are nearly impossible to uproot and destroy. These are called "bunch grasses". They come in lots of different varieties and the seed can be bought at most feed stores. Ask for "dry-land pasture mixes" or "bunch grass seed".

    You will still need to fence off the newly planted areas for at least a year until the roots get established. But after that, your chickens will have all the grass they want to eat and scratch in without quickly denuding the area. While bunch grasses don't make for the type of lawn most people prefer in their yards, these grasses do provide excellent erosion control and a very durable browse for all species of animals.
     
  10. modernsettlers

    modernsettlers Out Of The Brooder

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    Have you considered building a "grazing frame" to protect some grass for your chickens? It's a small frame topped with wire. Grass can grow up through it, but chickens can't reach the roots to completely destroy them. There's There's a great post with some pictures here - https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/627048/grazing-frame-plans-to-protect-grass-for-chickens

    I haven't built one yet, so i cant say they work first-hand, but it looks like a great idea.
     

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