Mowing your lawn with a chicken tractor

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by vermontgal, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. vermontgal

    vermontgal Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm trying to figure out mowing a lawn with a chicken tractor.

    If the idea is to rotate over the entire lawn every 10-14 days, how often do you move the tractor... Any tips on how to do this? I don't *have* a lawn, but I might be starting to mow some neighbor's lawns with my chicken tractor. [​IMG] No one involved will be expecting a "Chemlawn" type of look. [​IMG]
  2. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Chicken Obsessed

    Oct 16, 2008
    If your neighbors are good with it,
    do depends on how many chickens you have in he tractor. at first, you should watch carefully..
    You might have to move it daily..
    after awhile you will get the feel for it .. you can expect that a few tough weeds might take a week..
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I am certain that it will vary a LOT with type of lawn and what your growing conditions and soil are like.

    That said, with 2 or 3 chickens in a 4x7 (footprint) tractor on my lawn, which is rather weedy but on reasonable topsoil and grows decently, I had to move them daily to keep things from getting unduly 'chewed down', and even then, you get some bare spots where they made dusting holes or found really yummy things growing.

    You won't get a chem-lawn look -- what you will get is a POO lawn look (the poo washes away or mummifies or whatever fairly well within a week or ten days, at least here it does, but that means you will have 7-10 days' worth of tractor spaces that *are* pooey...). And you will have a graduated series of rectangles marching across/around your lawn, ranging from most chewed up and bare (right behind where tractor is today) to less chewed up to even less and even less and eventually to 'getting too long and needing a lawnmower'.

    I was never able to substitute the chicken tractor for a lawnmower, btw.

    I would really NOT say that the chicken tractor improved the appearance of my lawn, overall. The chickens enjoy it, and all that, and I'm not saying it doesn't have any benefits, but substituting for a lawnmower ain't one of the IME [​IMG]

    Good luck,

  4. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    [​IMG] LOL I would SO try this, until you brought up the dug out dust bathing holes and having to weed anyhow... but hey! it sounded good at the time.... I bet the chickens would love it anyhow. The neighbors, not so much.
  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    Quote:You will have to try it and let us know and post some pics. I know in the summer my grass grows fast and I would have to have a lot more chickens than I have right now. I will be adding 50 more chicks shortly. I still have to mow and my coops and runs are moveable.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2009
  6. MichiganWoods

    MichiganWoods DD (Artistic Digital Diva)

    Oct 6, 2008
    West Michigan
    I'm sure a lot of people would find that a big benefit if all the kinks got worked out. Particularly for folks who live in the suburbs and want a few chickens.

    See for me, I'm OK with poop all over the place. I get out there with my hose and power sprayer head and wash down any place that we walk on. For me, the benefit actually is a bare yard. I literally can't use a lawn mower. When I do, I end up with nasty painful blisters on the backs of my heels. Every time. Doesn't matter what kind of shoe I wear, socks or no. Even blister blocks don't help. Plus there is the weed issue around our house. 4 years we've lived here and every summer our yard gets so overgrown with weeds (I never bothered to plant grass since I can't mow it), you can't see anything except where the asphalt driveway is. Some of our weed species grow to 6'+. The only section I want to worry about taking care of this year is where I am planting our fruit and veggie garden. The chickens are free to chow down on the rest of it! And we're even OK with the "aroma". There's a dairy farm not but a few miles from here and we smell the cow pies throughout the year. It's sort of lessened the blow for the smell of our chickens.
  7. farmerjill

    farmerjill Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 18, 2009
    I think it *might* be possible, but it would be a big hassle. If you included a large dishpan filled with loose, dry soil and put it in the sun, they might use that instead of digging their holes for dustbathing. I've had some success with this method, though it has to be a heavy pan, or else they'll tip it and make a huge mess.

    Obviously, the larger the run, the less visible their destruction would be. But they won't do the job evenly, and like Pat said, they'll leave large rectangular "footprints" all over the yard. Your biggest problem would be, I think, that chickens just like to scratch up the soil. Though actually, if you covered the floor of the tractor with largish fencing wire, that might prevent the scratching and force them to graze more. But I've always thought a wire bottom on a tractor might hurt their feet because they'd try to scratch anyhow. So I guess I'd recommend against a wire bottom, unless you hear from other folks that their chickens tolerate that just fine.

    You might be better off telling your neighbors they could use your tractor to start flower or veggie beds, and then you could just park it for a while. They'll do a great job at that! (I've got nine hens in my tractor right now, working their way across all 30 beds in my garden, fifteen feet a day. I probably won't even need to use the rototiller before planting, just rake it a little bit).
    vikingchickens likes this.

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