Grazing frame plans to protect grass for chickens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TheGardenCoop, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. TheGardenCoop

    TheGardenCoop Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 28, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I built these simple frames based on an idea I got from gardening writer Vern Nelson, and I love them. They protect your grass from being torn up, so your chickens can feast on it for months. (Yum!)

    Here's a link to my latest blog post with instructions for making your own grazing frames.

    [​IMG]
     
    2 people like this.
  2. Maev

    Maev Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 22, 2012
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    Wow! That's really neat! I am planning on doing something similar. But I haven't decided exactly how to go about it. This gives a good visual! Thanks for posting!
     
  3. tweetysvoice

    tweetysvoice Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    That's a great idea!! How high are the sides of that, meaning how much height do you give the grass to grow before it goes over the wire? Also curious as to whether the hens eat the grass just showing or will they actually pull it out by the roots?
     
  4. TheGardenCoop

    TheGardenCoop Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 28, 2009
    Portland, OR
    The height is just the height of the two-by-four, so about 3 1/2 inches. When the hens step onto the frames, the mesh bows down a bit in the middle, so once the grass is about 3 inches tall, they can start nibbling on the tips.

    Mostly, they're just nibbling off the tips that poke through, but depending on how vigorously they tear at it and how firmly rooted any given blade of grass is, they will occasionally uproot a blade. Most of those whole blades get eaten right away, while others end up forming a thatch. Towards the end of the post, I talk about that some. You can see a photo of a few frames that have been worked over for a few months. Still plenty of grass there. Hope this helps.
     
  5. tweetysvoice

    tweetysvoice Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    It does! Thanks!! I'm working on creating a run right now and thought that I'd lay down grass seed in there before my chicks are old enough to get in it so they had something to pick at. This gives me a great idea about preserving part of it! Hehe.. I was so exciting seeing the pics that I didn't notice the blog link. my bad. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  6. minichic

    minichic Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Saratoga County, NY
    Thanks for the great idea! I'm definitely doing this when I re-seed my run this spring. The girls got the area down to bare ground by the time fall arrived. Not to mention the foxholes they made as well.
     
  7. TheGardenCoop

    TheGardenCoop Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 28, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Here's a quick clip of our young chickens grazing on their frames for the first time. Here's another. You'll see that some of them like to hang out and graze around the edges. Others just get right on top.

    I didn't mention this in my blog post, but before settling on the idea of these frames, I tried simply laying some hardware cloth directly over the seeded ground. That didn't work. You need those few inches of height to really protect the roots.

    And they still find spaces in their yard to dig their foxholes! They wouldn't have it any other way!
     
  8. user-3219

    user-3219 Out Of The Brooder

    Love your frames!

    I do pretty much the same thing just using upturned bread crates and wheat/ barley/ green manure crop seeds. every couple of weeks I just scatter another couple of handfuls of seed to make sure that they always have something to graze on [​IMG]
     
  9. tweetysvoice

    tweetysvoice Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Yeah, I was thinking about planting wheat berries under mine. I had originally planned on just rotating litter boxes of wheat grass for them to eat on, but I think (at least during the good weather months) just building one of these and planing wheat grass under it! It'll grow fast and is easy to replenish.
     
  10. TheGardenCoop

    TheGardenCoop Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 28, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Nice idea! What are the dimensions of the crates you use? If I'm imagining them right, they give you a few inches of height from the ground?
     

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