Growing grass in the run with the girls there

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by brwneggs, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. brwneggs

    brwneggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 21, 2010
    Northern Indiana
    We put the girls in a new run last year full of grass, and in no time it was gone and down to dirt. Since the snow has gone, its a big mud hole. How can we plant grass seed in there? What method is the best? And what fast growing good seed can you all recommend?
     
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Well, I tried the grass seed method- good luck!

    Now what I do is periodically (every few days) I dig up a square of sod and dump it in the run, filling the hole with chicken poo. Later I take the sod after they eat the grass off it and put back into the hole to really cover it up.

    They LOVE the fresh grass, delivered to them like a pizza on a table.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. gavinandallison

    gavinandallison Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 25, 2010
    Matthews, NC.
    Quote:Spoiled rotten chickens - LOVE IT
     
  4. lleighmay

    lleighmay Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Woodlawn, VA
    You're probably never going to get the grass to grow back unless you remove the chickens from the run entirely until it re-establishes itself. Of course, once you put them back in the grass will be gone again in no time. You can build a box (or boxes) out of landscape timbers (1 layer), fill about halfway with soil, and seed with grass or greens. Staple wire over the top (I use 1/2 inch squares) or you can make a removable wire lid if you want, though this is not necessary. The grass grows up through the wire where they can eat it, but they can't dig it up or pull the grass up easily. Reseed as necessary. Then you can just put down sand in the un-boxed areas so you can walk around in there without it being a swamp. This year I'm planning on extending my run and sectioning it off into about 20x20 sections which I will seed with various things. I'm going to try and do some rotational grazing in the sections, moving the birds from area to area as they eat things down.
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Yes, you have discovered a basic fact of life: Chickens Do That [​IMG]

    If you couldn't keep it grass before (when it was presumably mature well-rooted grass), no way are you going to be able to get grass going again. Well you could build a second run, put the chickens in there for a year while you get grass reestablished in the first one, but you know what, as soon as you put them back in, it will go to bare earth just like it did the first time round.

    Therefore, I would suggest resigning yourself to a grassless run and figuring out what you want to do about it.

    From a mud-control standpoint, I recommend adding something. See my muddy run page (link in .sig below) for discussion of pros and cons of various options; also discussion of how to divert water as much as possible to minimize actual mud.

    From a chicken happiness standpoint, I recommend figuring out what in your garden is toxic and then throwing weedings/clippings of everything *else* into the run every time you do garden stuff. Also kitchen scraps and so forth. It will keep them occupied and you will get many of the nutritional benefits transferred into their eggs.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  6. Pharm Girl

    Pharm Girl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 6, 2011
    I had the same issue. Had to cover everything in sand and bark chips. I am planning on flipping gardening crates upside down and growing grass/lettuce up through them so the birds can only get the tops that come through the crate. Here's the link to that and some other great ideas....

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=450625


    ---don't know why, but I always kill a thread. Sorry!
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2011
  7. brwneggs

    brwneggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 21, 2010
    Northern Indiana
    What kind of kitchen scraps do you "do not" throw out to them? somethings I have heard throw out, I have seen a list where that is a no no.
    Quote:and so forth. It will keep them occupied and you will get many of the nutritional benefits transferred into their eggs.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  8. lorihadams

    lorihadams Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 17, 2008
    virginia
    Could you plant clover?
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    There is a very good list somewhere on this site -- I think maybe in the Learning Center section, or stickied under the Feeding part of the forum? -- with the (relatively small number of) kitchen items that are arguably-unwise to feed to chickens. Honestly the only kitchen stuffs I don't feed 'em is simply stuff they won't *eat*. For my chickens this includes raw cabbage, raw broccoli, big huge chunks of hard stuff I'm too lazy to cut up (e.g. large woody raw carrots), onion skins, and a few other things that are not coming to mind at the moment. In terms of what not to feed, plants (from field or garden or wherever) are a bigger issue, having more overtly-toxic items on the list of possibilities.

    Clover is going to get thrashed out of existance same as grass.

    Pat
     
  10. BarefootMom

    BarefootMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2010
    Half Way, Missouri
    add some straw---lots and lots of layers of straw. We did that in one corner of the pen and the grass came up pretty well under it.

    I like the crate idea.
     

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