Planting grass seed in the new run...

VictoriaTemple

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Aug 27, 2018
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I have never planted grass seed before, and I have no existing lawn, just a thick shaggy carpet of seasonal weeds that, thankfully, my feather babies find very appetizing. I bought Scott's Turfbuilder Dense Shade Mix (fescue of various heights) back in spring, but due to illness and bad weather could not plant it. I want to plant it in the new chicken yard (which is fairly bare from construction damage) while waiting for the fence to be installed. How long should I wait for it to establish a root system before introducing the chickens to their new salad bar? Like I said, it's all fescue, which I understand is an aggressive rooter. The soil is Ultisol (dense red clay). Thank you!
 

so lucky

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Jan 31, 2011
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Depending on how many chickens will be on it, and how big an area you have, there probably is a slim chance your grass will survive the chickens, even if you give the grass a head start. Of course, 4 chickens in a 20 by 50 run wouldn't be too hard on grass, but in average situations--say 10 chickens in a 12 by 12 run, even well established grass won't survive more than a couple weeks.
It's just one of those facts that we all have to accept. Then we look for some thing to put in the run as mulch.
 

DobieLover

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I have never planted grass seed before, and I have no existing lawn, just a thick shaggy carpet of seasonal weeds that, thankfully, my feather babies find very appetizing. I bought Scott's Turfbuilder Dense Shade Mix (fescue of various heights) back in spring, but due to illness and bad weather could not plant it. I want to plant it in the new chicken yard (which is fairly bare from construction damage) while waiting for the fence to be installed. How long should I wait for it to establish a root system before introducing the chickens to their new salad bar? Like I said, it's all fescue, which I understand is an aggressive rooter. The soil is Ultisol (dense red clay). Thank you!
How large is this run? How many chickens do you have?
If it is a run/pen with less than 300-400 sq ft per bird, don't bother seeding it. They will have it a desolate waste land in less than a month. Just put down a thick layer of wood chips for run litter.
 

VictoriaTemple

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Aug 27, 2018
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Southern Chester County, PA
17 chickens, 700 square feet. I don't expect a lawn, I bought the grass to be early spring fodder until the weeds grow up. I can plant it in the front yard and hand pick if necessary, but I don't have a lawn mower. All I really need to survive are enough tufts to keep spreading roots.
 

Alaskan

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All you need is a growing frame.

They work great... think a square of wood with wire over the top. The chickens can eat the grass that pops up past the wire, but can't scratch up the roots.
 

VictoriaTemple

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Aug 27, 2018
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Rather than grass, how about a food plot/ forage or seed mix as offered by Pheasants Forever? Mixed plants are best!
Mary
Never heard of that, thanks! I already bought the fescue, so I will have to use what I have and hope for the best, at least this year.

All you need is a growing frame.

They work great... think a square of wood with wire over the top. The chickens can eat the grass that pops up past the wire, but can't scratch up the roots.

Great idea!!! I have some poultry netting I can use to make one. Thanks!
 

123RedBeard

Crowing
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Oct 20, 2014
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Do you have the choice of rotation? Say give them a day a week on the new plot?

It will take a few months atleast to get established, and not the months that have snow either! ;)
 

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