Planting seeds in chickens free range area

dianetedder

In the Brooder
Apr 30, 2016
1
0
20
We had to have our entire 1 acre yard dug up and need to plant something there. It's about 70% dirt. I have 40 hens which roam and eat everything that is not covered with leaves. Does anyone know a way to plant grass seeds and ground cover over the property and keep the chickens from eating it while it's growing? I saw a hunter on YouTube who pounded the seeds in the ground so the dear wouldn't eat it until it was grown.But chickens? Any ideas? We'd like to plant 50% edible ground cover and grass and the rest something that the chicken's won't eat. Running out of time and need help.
Thanks Diane
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
24,585
36,161
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Colorado Rockies
As a matter of fact, I just got through planting some grass seed in my chickens' favorite scratching plot.

I have rock hard clay soil so I took a pick to it first to loosen the soil. That alone will attract every single pair of chicken feet so they got locked in their run. I then spread some of their chicken manure over the soil and then sowed the grass seed. I covered the grass seed with straw.

Now for the magic part that will keep your chickens from digging up the whole thing and eating the grass seed. Plastic deer netting. Most hardware stores carry it or you can order it on the internet. It's not expensive and you can keep reusing it for years and years.

To keep the netting in place I used scrap lumber the lumber yard puts out for folks to pick up for free. It's about the size of 2 x 4s. I stapled the edges of the deer netting to the wood.

When the chickens saw the new planting, they all headed right for it. But they couldn't penetrate the netting. They managed to scratch out a few dirt clods from the very ends, but the planting is safe from chickens.

I plan to leave the deer netting in place until I'm very certain the grass has established deep, sturdy roots. (bunch grass, not shallow rooted sod grass) Meanwhile, the chickens will be able to graze on the grass as it grows without scratching and uprooting the new plants.
 

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