1. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Portland, Oregon
    I wasn't sure which section this would work best in, but since it's related to the area where the chickens run, I chose this category.

    My chickens have succeeded in almost entirely stripping their section of the yard of the grass it had. I knew this was liable to happen and the other side of my yard is completely ruined because of the dogs. So I was wondering if anyone has any tips for what I should put down? I posted something similar on the Easy Garden forum about the dogs' side of the yard before I realized that the chickens' side was just as bad. The question is a bit different because I want a fast-growing grass that will be nutritious for them (if any grasses are better than others). Do you guys have any advice?
     
  2. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 29, 2007
    Ohio
    I've heard proso grows quick and it's very nutritous. I've never tried it though.

    Any type of grass you use will have to be rotated though as the chickens will eventually devour anything you put in, in a matter of weeks or even days.
     
  3. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    They'll eat anything that sprouts....if they don't eat the seed first.
     
  4. jforsness

    jforsness Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 28, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Clover [​IMG]
     
  5. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    As for the dogs you might want to make an area, say 10' x 10', dig down a few inches to remove a bit of topsoil, and then put down several inches of bark chips...the kind that are about 1-2 inches long and 1" thick. I have a dog run with this and I ony have to hose it down every few months (we pick up the poop daily).
     
  6. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    You need about 400 sq. ft. of lawn per hen to keep them in nice healthy grass. Short of that I would convert the run to mulch, wood chip or sand. Lawns are for people that have lawn mowers instead of animals!
     
  7. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 1, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    I never thought I liked lawn until I learned that the grass was good for the chickens and that mulch is expensive! So I need 400 square feet for three chickens if I want anything to live on it? Let me do some calculating.
     
  8. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 1, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    As near as I can figure it, the ladies have about 350 square feet, minus the area their coop takes up. Not enough...dang.
     
  9. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    Wisconsin
    If it's too muddy or smelly, I would put down sand. Other than that, there are things you can do to protect grass growing in portions of the run. Basically, the protected portions will be like little salad bars to eat at, rather than a grass lawn to walk on.

    You can use 2x4s to make a frame and put hardware cloth over the top of it. Other materials could be used, too. The chickens can eat the grass that grows through the top, but not eat it down to the ground and dig up the roots. It also protects the planting, until it gets going. You might even be able to find some shallow plastic gridded crates you can flip over and use.

    You can plant grass in the plastic flats you get at the garden centers. They can be rotated in and out of the run. You can also rotate pots of chard or other plants in and out, also.

    Sometimes people plant a bush in their run, but put some wire fencing, like the type with 2x4 openings, around it. The chickens can nibble on some of it, but not all of it and the roots can't be dug up.

    As large as your run is, for the number of chickens you have, you could also just fence in a small section at one end for the chickens, for a little chicken garden. You could just let them in it for a little while every day. You could plant a combination of lawn grasses, wheat or oats for grass, clover, alfalfa, chard, leaf lettuce, beets, kale and anything else you wanted to. There's a pretty long list of things they like to eat. [​IMG]
     
  10. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 1, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    I was kind of envisioning building a chicken wire box about two feet by one foot, planting grass underneath it, and then moving the box around once the grass has a chance to build a root structure. My grass wasn't really well established before because my husband tried to kill it when we first moved in. Maybe if I do the chicken salad bar and the grass box they wouldn't totally destroy the grass' roots every year? They have plenty of other places to scratch and dig, like the compost bin and the garden beds over winter.

    I also have a greenhouse. Maybe I could plant sod in there as a regular crop and transfer it outside when the roots are thick and start another square of it?

    I also like the potted plant idea.
     

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