Ground cover that will last?

sbelmont2

In the Brooder
Jan 31, 2019
10
5
34
Boulder, CO
We recently built a new chicken run and had to add dirt to make it level. I am wondering if there is a ground cover we can add that the chickens won't eat and that is hardy enough to withstand their poop and scratching. It also needs to thrive in dry climates (we live in Colorado).
 

DaisyG2317

Songster
Jul 14, 2020
357
1,055
196
NW WA
We recently built a new chicken run and had to add dirt to make it level. I am wondering if there is a ground cover we can add that the chickens won't eat and that is hardy enough to withstand their poop and scratching. It also needs to thrive in dry climates (we live in Colorado).
Arborist chips are great and free from ChipDrop or local tree companies.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
23,565
178,308
1,592
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
We recently built a new chicken run and had to add dirt to make it level. I am wondering if there is a ground cover we can add that the chickens won't eat and that is hardy enough to withstand their poop and scratching. It also needs to thrive in dry climates (we live in Colorado).
I don't believe such a plant exists. You are best off putting in wood chips, dry leaves or whatever else dry organic matter you have handy.
 

Sally PB

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
556
1,273
153
Belding, MI
I've come to the conclusion that chickens will scratch up ANYTHING. If it is alive and growing, it won't be for long. Pecking, scratching, pooping high nitrogen poop takes care of whatever is there. I've accepted that.

Chickens peck, scratch, and poop. It's what they do. Geico needs to make a commercial out of this!
 

mcdze

Chirping
Sep 9, 2020
119
126
71
i'll tell you what i use for quite a few things, and of course it wont work for winter unless you prepare well in advance .. but a bagging mower .. i bought a cheap pusher with a bag specifically to get an endless supply of 'hay' from my yard .. during the summer it literally takes one trip out to the gate and back to fill the bag lol .. now the trick to get the highest quality stuff is to dry it out first, luckily the door to my garage opens to the west so on a day off i can just mow me up a bag, dump it out in the door to my garage in the sun, spread it out evenly and it will bake dry, really dry might take a couple of days .. anyway, maybe not for everybody lol, it makes nice soft bedding though ...
 

21hens-incharge

Slightly nuts
Premium Feather Member
Mar 9, 2014
20,974
86,341
1,542
Northern Colorado
I am also in Colorado.

I add leaves, grass clippings, spent garden plants (not potato, onions or tomato), flakes of alfalfa, weeds I pull, and chipped wood if I can get it. The chickens keep it turned well.

As to keeping things growing in the run.....yeah not likely unless in a frame with a bottom so the soil is not destroyed by the extreme nitrogen etc in chicken poop.
 

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