Growing frames - chickens just pull whole pieces out

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by OScarlet, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. OScarlet

    OScarlet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does that mean I need to keep resowing it constantly? If so that is going to be a giant pain. At first they nibbled off the top little bit, now they have learned to grab and pull and a four inch piece comes out. I can't dig it deeper because there is wire below. Oh it is wheat that is in there right now, I put other stuff but it isn't growing as fast.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2014
  2. MoonShadows

    MoonShadows The Jam Man

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    Sounds like your top wire fencing may need to be raised and/or the openings are too large. How high above the soil is the wire fencing and what size did you use? Ideally, from what I have read and done, you want the top wire fencing to be no larger than 1/2 x 1/2 inch and to have it at least 3 1/2 inches above the soil.
     
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  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    When wheat sprouts it's pretty easy to just pull up. I use wheat straw for mulch in my garden and it often has some seeds that sprout. If you get it before the roots set up, it comes out pretty easily. I suspect you have a decent quality of soil in there and it's not baked hard enough to hold what roots there are.

    What I suggest is to either protect it from the chickens until it gets well established or depend on the other stuff. Smaller holes and/or raising it could help too like Moonshadows suggested.
     
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  4. OScarlet

    OScarlet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thanks for the help

    It is just over 4" from the soil which is covered with 1/2x1/2" hardware cloth. I'm worried if I go any smaller then the blades will bend over and not stick through, plus I planted some sunflower and clover and I'm not sure if that will come through any way.

    I think you might be right about the soil, I mixed a bunch of compost and potting soil in so it is pretty fluffy. hmm, we have clay soil, perhaps I could dissolve some soil with water and water it on to help make a more solid skin.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Hmmm interesting...... I wonder.... when you sowed the seeds did you bury the seeds and tamp down the soil?
    Maybe water less so roots really have to grow before leaves start?
    Just some thoughts.

    I plan on trying this come spring so am interested if you can find a solution.
     
  6. OScarlet

    OScarlet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I did not tamp down, I raked soil over it.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Aart, how about building a cover so they can't get to it until it has time to get established, then remove the cover. Maybe a wire-covered frame a foot high that fits over the bed?
     
  8. CourtsCacklers

    CourtsCacklers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We built little boxes 17"x17" with grazing frames over them-- I used our soil from under our compost but did not add any potting soil so it is more like a topsoil. The wire is only like an inch above the greens. I have not had a problem with them pulling out. I would think that 4" would be plenty high. You want it low enough that the greens are small enough to grow through but high enough the chickens cannot get out the roots. I have a grass/clover mix that grows through very small holes just fine (we used reclaimed corn crib wire)....I think you are on the right track-- this spring I want to do frames out in the run as well for the times that my girls cannot free-range (which will be few and far between but will still happen!) I am curious to follow what you discover. I would think that if they are pulling it out then the primary reasons for this would be that the roots are not established enough or the soil is too wet, or the soil is too loose! Just my thoughts-- I will be following your thread-- please let us know what you learn. Here is a picture of the boxes we built.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Maybe tamping would help. ....also thinking that maybe sowing more sparsely might allow roots to grab soil better...again just some thoughts.


    Is that 1/4" mesh? Grass..like lawn grass? Might be 'weaker' than wheat.
    As I recall you let the chooks graze for only about an hour because of low temps in the coop?


    That's an idea I'll keep in mind.
     
  10. CourtsCacklers

    CourtsCacklers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes-- they only graze for an hour or so but the tops are bare before that hour is up anyway (they eat it cleann!)-- they aren't pulling the whole root out. It is working well. DH measured it-- yes it is 1/4" This is what I have been growing:

    http://www.groworganic.com/omega-3-chicken-forage-blend-irrigated.html
     

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