Lawn vs. Straw. Help needed, ASAP please!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Cleotastic, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. Cleotastic

    Cleotastic Just Hatched

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    Jul 23, 2016
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    Hi there.

    I'm new to chickens, and currently have none - until 4pm this afternoon! :D

    My question is this: I've just predator-proofed my run, and I laid new turf over the wire mesh floor four days ago. I plan to have a deep straw-yard system, and have all the straw ready to lay. But should I keep them on the new lawn to begin with, to give the turf a chance to establish itself? I'm fine about them destroying it, eventually, but I didn't like the idea of laying loads of straw so that it dies straightaway through lack of light before worm/bug/bacteria activity really commences. :/

    I love the idea of having as much (beneficial) life in the litter as possible, so am I best to have the girls 'christening' the grass for a while, before laying the straw-yard?

    The web, and BYC has been invaluable for research, but there are still so many holes in my knowledge, I'm afraid.

    Many thanks for any help in advance.

    Cleo
    xxxxx
     
  2. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you put a bale of straw in there for the chickens to scratch at and tear up it will entertain them and take them quite a while to tear it all apart. Remember to turn the bale once a month to expose bugs that will congregate under there ... chickens love it. We left the wire on our bale of straw and replace it fall and spring and with all the scratching and jumping on it they do, they have never had a problem with the wire. We do remove the wire after they have the straw mostly torn up and thrown around.

    If it is not bundled, but just loose straw, I think I would just let the grass grow for now. How many chickens are you getting?
     
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  3. Cleotastic

    Cleotastic Just Hatched

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    Suffolk, UK
    What a brilliant idea! I never considered letting them do the dismantling of the straw themselves!

    I have three. A Pied Suffolk, a French Grey, and a Heritage Skyline. They seem lovely.

    I think you're completely spot on. The bale goes in the run tomorrow morning!

    Thank you so very much for your help.

    Cleo.
    xxxx
     
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  4. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Grass in the run will not survive. The chicken will eat them up. Not sure about wire mesh under the run ground. Will they catch the claws when chickens scratch? Usually, the mesh is on the outside perimeter or buried vertically into the ground.
     
  5. Cleotastic

    Cleotastic Just Hatched

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    Jul 23, 2016
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    You're quite correct. My OP did mention that I knew the grass was going to be destroyed. I just wondered if I should leave it open to the sunlight to allow a lawn ecosystem to establish.

    The mesh is about 5" below ground level, attached to the sides of the base, which is made of oak sleepers, buried 7" down, with a further 4" of concrete beneath.

    Cleo.
    xxxxx
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    When you say 'laid new turf'...do you mean commercially acquired turf grass sheets/rolls...what we call 'sod' over here?
    That stuff can have fertilizers, fungicides, and pesticides in it....so might not be a good choice....just read something where someones chickens died from that.
     
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  7. Cleotastic

    Cleotastic Just Hatched

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    Jul 23, 2016
    Suffolk, UK
    Hi there.

    Thanks for responding. It is indeed sod.

    (We use the word 'sod' in a very different way, in the uk!)

    I did what I could, chemical-wise, and bought natural-looking turf from a local farm. As I'm due to be rescuing ex-batts destined for a pet food plant within a week or so, I didn't have time to sow a lawn from seed and use organic fertiliser, sadly.

    I'm trying not to obsess about chemicals, in truth. When they start free-ranging in my garden, I can't panic about everything they might come into with.

    The turf has now been watered twice daily for a fortnight, and is covered by a little topsoil, bokashi bran, and a thick layer of straw (an attempt at starting deep litter). I'm hoping anything chemical has been significantly diluted or washed away by now.

    Cleo.
    xxxxx
     
  8. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There is a concrete pad? Wouldn't that be enough?
     
  9. Cleotastic

    Cleotastic Just Hatched

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    Jul 23, 2016
    Suffolk, UK
    My rational brain says, 'yes'.

    But I've always been a bit of a 'belt and braces' kind of girl. Better safe than sorry, I suppose!

    xxxxx
     

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