Healthy ground cover to plant in run

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by opihiman911, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. opihiman911

    opihiman911 Songster

    Mar 19, 2007
    I am in the process of making a bigger run for my laying hens. Right now it is a 20x25' area that is my old garden and is bare tilled dirt. I would like to put some kind of ground cover in the coop to help control the dust and to give my girls some healthy greenery to eat.
    I would like to sow the whole area to get it started, then after I move the girls in there I plan on sectioning off an area at a time to reseed and allow the gound cover to regrow, keep rotating a section of the coop each month or two so there is always soem fresh greenery for them.
    I was wondering what would be a quick growing ground cover that my girls would like to eat and is healthy for them? My first thought was red/white clover and alfalfa that is used for deer plots.
    It would have to be able to grow in sandy loam, be a perennial plant that is drought tolerant, grow in filtered light with only 3-4 hours of direct sun, take the abuse that chicken can put out and be healthy for them high in protien.
    Any other ideas out there?

    Thank You,
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2008
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Uh. Lotsa luck [​IMG]

    I am pretty sure that no such thing exists, or if it did it would be so rampageously vigorous it would already by banned as a noxious weed and have people hunting it down 24/7 with flamethrowers. In particular it is hard to expect rapid strong plant growth with minimal sunlight and water.

    Also, that is not a very big area even if you only have a few chickens, so it is going to get pretty severely thrashed while the chickens are in there, and while at least for a while it may regrow *some* when theyre rotated out, it will at best just get weaker and weaker through time til you're back to bare dirt. I could see this happening Real Fast, in fact...

    Something like comfrey (if it is both legal and hardy where you are) might sorta work for a while - you would not plant the whole plot in it, just 'some'.

    Really though you may well have to accept a bare run and just pull lots of weeds to chuck to the chickens for them to pick through (my chickens LOVE it when I weed the garden <g>)

    My first thought was red/white clover and alfalfa that is used for deer plots.

    I am not sure how good it would be to plant entirely legumes because they tend to appear on 'potentially toxic plants' lists on account of how sometimes they can accumulate enough nitrates to be dangerous if eaten in quantity. (Having them be part of a more varied diet would be different).

    Good luck,


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