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Keeping Lawn Edges with Chooks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SeafordGirls, Sep 1, 2014.

  1. SeafordGirls

    SeafordGirls New Egg

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    Hi All
    I have had my girls for over a year now and I love to have them free ranging all day. However, the lawn area is getting smaller and smaller every month, due to the girls scratching the edges and covering the grass in mulch & dirt. I have racked my brain to think about how to prevent this & finally had the idea of putting hay bales end to end around the edge, as the girls would not be able to flick the dirt & mulch over the bales. I could then slowly move the bales back a little at a time until my lawn area was close to original size. (They would still have a very large non grass area to do as they please). My only concern with this idea is that obviously the bales would get wet & eventually mouldy & the girls would also climb and sit on them. I can't imagine they would try and eat the hay from the bales as they get a lot of very good, very fresh food and grain every day. Does anybody think this would be a problem? I love my girls and don't want to do the wrong thing by them? Any feedback would be most appreciated.
     
  2. fleedo

    fleedo Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 23, 2012
    if youbuild them a large run they will not need to free range and will not destroy your grass
     
  3. SeafordGirls

    SeafordGirls New Egg

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    Thanks Fleedo - they do have a lovely big house and a huge run, but as they are ex battery hens and previously spent every second of 18 months crammed into tiny cages, I like to give them as much freedom as possible! If its at the expense of my lawn, so be it. I just want to know if anybody thinks that hay bales sitting out long term would be a danger to the girls (mould wise). Thanks!
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    No. Hay bales sitting out long term would not be a problem for the girls. It would be an expensive undertaking. How big is your yard? Is it fenced in? If so, would it give the girls the extra height to be able to fly over the fence? I recommend that if you do, you buy bales that are tied with plastic twine instead of a natural product. The natural twine won't rot. You can place the bales so that the twine runs parallel to the ground instead of touching the ground. Now, here's a plus that you probably hadn't thought of. Do a google search on "hay bale gardening" You could do it with all or some of those hay bales for an instant splash of color, or some garden veggies. Of course the girls would get up and help themselves. An other option which would be less expensive and perhaps more to your liking would be to buy a roll of deer fencing. It's light weight plastic, and comes in a 100' x 7' roll. You can cut the entire roll in half easily with a pair of scissors. Then you'll have 200' to work with. Some light weight fiberglass stakes woven through the fencing every 10' or so with the fencing clipped to the top of the stake with clothes pins will keep the girls out of your borders. Then, you could pull the mulch back to the edges, put down new grass seed to re-claim your lawn size, and you'll be good to go. The girls will be confused by the deer netting, after smacking their faces on it a few times, they'll give up. Now, you could buy about 8 bales of hay, and make them a play box filled with mulch and compostables, to give them that digging and flinging experience without trashing your lawn.
     
  5. SeafordGirls

    SeafordGirls New Egg

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    Thank you Lazy Gardener for your reply and both of your suggestions. I LOVE the hay bale gardening idea. I have just googled it and it looks fabulous. I am definitely going to give that a try - even though the girls would probably eat most of it - I am happy to share with them and it will definitely look better than plain hay bales sitting there! My garden is large & the bales will be a long way from the fence so the girls won't get the idea of trying to get launch themselves over the fence! I am in Melbourne Australia with spring just started so I had better get cracking! Hopefully in a few months I will have more veggies & more lawn - it's a win/win solution - thank you so much once again Lazy Gardener!
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    By the way, you have to "prepare the hay bales" before planting them. The idea is to get a good nitrogen load into the middle of the bale, keep it wet, and check the temp. It will get very hot in the middle as the nitrogen load gets the composting bacteria going. (will get up to 140 degrees F or higher, so you have to wait for that process to get underway and the hay to cool down before you plant it. Plan on at least 2 weeks. Those hay bales also demand a lot of water. I put plastic under and around my bales to help hold the moisture, kept a hose handy, and had to water almost every day. That's the only down side to the process: the watering.
     
  7. SeafordGirls

    SeafordGirls New Egg

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    I have large water tanks close by so watering shouldn't be too much of a problem. I am really looking forward to this new project!
    Thanks again for sharing this great idea!
     

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