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Growing grass in the pen

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by hopp2it, Apr 1, 2013.

  1. hopp2it

    hopp2it Out Of The Brooder

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    Our chickens have a large area to roam that is fenced in so they don't get into my gardens on a regular basis. The grass there is nearly non-existent now. Would it be futile to split the pen with a temporary fence to try to grow grass on half the pen at a time?
     
  2. angelbrenn

    angelbrenn Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm trying that approach I planted winter rye and it's came up the chickens just love it
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  3. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I saw a pic on here once of a lady's pen that she subdivided into I think it was 3 sections and she rotated her flock among the sections to get grass/forage to grow. Great idea. Sorry but I can't recall where her post was nor give her credit. I tried to grow alfalfa in and around my duck pen last year, but I gave up... Be sure you post Pics along the way, I'd love to see how to make it work here. But again, I have ducks.
     
  4. fowlsessed

    fowlsessed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It could work, but if the area is too small you will have to constantly be planting. So you move them to section 1, while planting section 2, then move them to section 2 when the grass is ready, and plant section 1 again. That might work. If the pen is large enough or you have few enough birds then you may be able to rotate between three or four pens every so often and keep everything growing pretty well. Choose what you plant wisely, tough & invasive is what you want. Try weeds, too, Dandelion, and the such.
    I think the rotational grazing is the best way to keep chickens if it is at all possible.
     
  5. hopp2it

    hopp2it Out Of The Brooder

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    What kind of grass would work best do you think? Kentucky Bluegrass? Fescue? The area is generally sunny in the summer but gets mostly morning shade.
     
  6. c2chicks

    c2chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The top pic is "last year" I had the pen separated into mini pens, about 100-150 sq ft each. There is also about 150 sq feet of "common space". The system was a wonderful way to ensure that they always had fresh grass, but I felt like I was wasting a lot of space. This year I put in some grazing frames and covered the ground with part large bark and part sand. Now they have ALL the room to run around and soon (I hope ;) the grass will start growing thru the frames. It'll be a lot more maintenance free. In the fall, I'll plant winter wheat in the frames--that' keep 'em happy thru the winter. (the little house is not their coop, just a clubhouse!
     
  7. hopp2it

    hopp2it Out Of The Brooder

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    I am trying a "grass frame" at the moment. Actually it's a "grass ladder" as my husband had an old wooden ladder that wasn't good for climbing anymore so I covered one side with plastic chicken wire with the small holes on it and planted some seed. Hopefully it will start growing soon. The chickens are rather interested in the whole thing as it is. I can't wait to see how happy they'll be with the grass!
     
  8. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How is the grass ladder working out?
     
  9. hopp2it

    hopp2it Out Of The Brooder

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    It's growing well! It isn't nearly as much grass (just not as much area as I had thought it first looked like :) ) but it gives me hope to try it on a larger scale soon. The grass is just at the top of the plastic chicken wire I have over the ladder and the chickens look at it with drool on their beaks. I think we're going to try to cover half the pen with the wire and seed it.
     
  10. austinclarksf

    austinclarksf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a little wooden frame with chicken wire over it, with some scrap rebar keeping the wire taught so my fat girls can't team up and get to the ground level to pull out the germinating seedlings. For awhile they were able to get to the dirt through the wire if 2-3 stood on one spot, but the rebar put a stop to it. As long as I keep it wet, and keep the girls from getting to the soil, the grass grows as fast as the chickens can graze it!
     

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