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Plant help!!!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by rjchicks, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. rjchicks

    rjchicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 9, 2011
    I have 4 chickens in a 20' by 20' foot run. I used to have grass in there but they ate every last strand of grass out of the ground. Letting them free range is not an option because the neighbors have a large boxer dog and he is know for eating all local animals. I need a plant or a few plants that I can plant in the run with the chickens so they can get natural nutrition and attract bugs for them too to eat. I cant plant grass again because they will just eat that all away. I also live in Pennsylvania and it gets pretty cold here in the winter so it also needs to be cold hardy. I need a bush or small tree if you can please help me out. It can't grow above about 5 feet and cant be poisonous to them. If you need any more information just ask. Thanks
     
  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    Wow that's a tall order to fill. I can't off the top of my head think of anything that can survive 4 chickens in a 20x20 run seven days a week. Other than already established bushes and trees. There is one thing you can try. Make screen floor panels. Put the screen in top of a frame so the birds can't get all of the plant or scratch it out. I'd make a couple of them say 2'x4' or 8' easy to move about. you can plant them according to the season. Say oats. peas, in the spring wheat and rye in the fall/winter summer you could plant just about anything. If you use a 1"x3" or so garden wire things like spinach kale chard,broad leafs can be used. Just make sure the chickens weight doesn;t push the wire to the ground.
    Having just read that boy that sounds like a lot of work.
     
  3. Dusty Chicken

    Dusty Chicken Out Of The Brooder

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    May 3, 2010
    San Juan Is, WA
    I agree with Den in Penn...........

    I grow Catnip for my cats & they will destroy it no time flat with out some protection for the plants. I have taken small sections of welded wire fence & shaped it to cover my plants. This way the plants grow through the wire, cats can eat the plant down to the wire & the plant lives to come back again without getting killed in the process.

    This spring I am planning on doing the same thing with an old raised bed in the chicken run. I am planning to plant a variety of things in the bed, depending on the season, & then cover the bed with welded wire fencing. The chickens should be able to walk on the wire, eat the plants shoots down to the wire & not trample / eat the plants to death. This will give the plants an opportunity to send up new shoots to start the cycle over again.

    Good Luck!
     
  4. laughingclown

    laughingclown Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 5, 2011
    Linden, Michigan
    Plants will not survive in the run. You could plant some clover somewhere in your yard and just pick it for them. Just got my chickens last spring and found clover in my yard. Gave it to them and the LOVE it.
     
  5. nwfl

    nwfl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 4, 2011
    Northwest Florida
    my grand mother had a good plan for a grass rotation curcuit for a small coop in her yard. she had two runs and two pop hole doors on the house. each yard was about 25x25. in winter they butchered most of the birds and reseeded one run at a time. but honestly if you cant have two seperate runs you are out of luck. i havent had grass for years since chickens came into my life.
     
  6. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 2, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    Along the lines of one reply, check out the "Grazing frame plans" thread in the Coop Design forum. It includes pictures and instructions for building simple wire covered frames. Last year someone posted a spectacular "chicken garden" using the same method. Also, someone else mentions using inverted commercial bread trays over grass to provide sustainable greenery.
     
  7. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    On top of that I would add as an alternative idea would be to go buy window planter boxes. They come 12” deep 12” Depth and are 24” –36” and 48” wide maybe but I have not seen them or you could build a redwood box any size you wanted. I guess it would be cool to have 8’ 2X8 redwood boxes.

    Fill them in with sod soil and sand mix and cut sod strips to fit in them planter top high and go get ½” or ¾” chicken cloth and shape a wagon train kind of shape over them and then wire each side so the girls can not get their beaks to the soil and let the grass grow through the chicken wire now the chickens will peck on it but you do not have to worry about them killing the grass to the roots they will eat to the screen. All you do is keep it watered. I would have a few of these out in the yard and around the yard and they will grow back and you take a wheel barrel or hand dolly a fresh one in when the other one needs a break. Best of Luck to you.
     
  8. Chesca

    Chesca Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 30, 2012
    Wichita
    I'm growing an extra tomato plant and some corn for my chicks! I figure I'll grow them outside of the pen, no sense trying to plant anything inside.
     
  9. hemet dennis

    hemet dennis Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would divide the run in to 4 squares ( 10 x 10 each ) and move them around.


    [​IMG]
     
  10. tweetysvoice

    tweetysvoice Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 30, 2011
    Lawrence, KS
    My Coop
    I will be doing this in my run with wheatgrass, and regular grass/clover mix: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/627048/grazing-frame-plans-to-protect-grass-for-chickens

    I also have a great friend that plants three cat litter boxes full of wheat grass, then rotates them in and out of the pen every 3 days. One box is what they are currently eating on, one is newly growing wheat grass, and one is the one ready to go out to the pen. When they've cleaned out one, just replant it and rotate boxes. Wheat berries are easy to find and really cheap as well.
     

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