Laying down grass layer for bantams?

DaniellaDear

In the Brooder
Jul 20, 2016
8
5
32
Hawaii
When I had my first flock, I lived in a predator free environment with lots of grass where they could free graze. But now that I live in the desert and I'm getting my second flock (all bantams), I'm wondering if i should attempt to grow a layer of grass/clover for them in the run? The ground is very rocky so I'll have only a thin layer to work with, but is there a particular ground cover thats nutritious or at the very least safe for the mini chickens? And how would I fertilize it, assuming miracle grow and other commercial fertilizers are out if the question. Are there any plants i could plant in there (like tomatoes) that are hardy that the bantams would enjoy?
 

cavemanrich

Addict
7 Years
Apr 6, 2014
16,831
56,967
1,267
Melrose Park Illinois
Do not plant tomatoes. The fruit is eatable, but the foliage is TOXIC. Also potatoes are Toxic Foliage, as a few other plants in the NIGHTSHADE FAMILY.
Any type of grass is just fine. Many lawn weeds like dandelion, are also fine for chickens to nibble on.
Many peeps that have difficulty growing grass in their runs, for various reasons do resort to growing some in small planter boxes. They cover top with a frame made of hardware cloth. Chickens snack on the leaf blades, without destroying the root. You can keep good potting soil in that portion of growing area, and fertilize with miracle grow with no hesitation. I use Miracle Grow on my garden flowers, and veggies, and chickens are safe when ingest such greens. They eat my dill, and sorrel. here is a pix to give you ideas.
1590906418608.png

WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, :highfive:
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,503
20,780
907
Southeast Louisiana
Those are called grazing frames. Tall enough and with wire mesh small enough so the chickens can't get to the roots.

Native plants that they will eat are always a good choice. Chickens will not always eat all kinds of grasses, they at least prefer certain ones to others. Typically crops grown for hay are a good choice. That could be a grass, might be clover, lespedeza, something like that and a mix is often good You want things that will grow through the wire mesh. They'd love kale but the leaves aren't going to grow through the mesh so probably not a good idea.

I'd probably mix in some compost with the soil under that frame to enhance tilth or texture. I would not worry about fertilizing it. The chickens will walk on the top and poop. They should fertilize it for you.
 

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