Please help me understand...chickens and grass

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by crzychkn, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. crzychkn

    crzychkn Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok, so I have read a lot of posts and information here and around the web. I am confused. I see some folks, albeit it seems a smaller number, have success with having chickens free ranging and yet they manage to have thick and wonderful grass. Others, the larger number, have a barren yard as chickens have scratched it all up. Enter my yard. Half my yard is green as can be and quite lovely-very well established grass. The other half is a mud/dirt pit with just a smattering of weeds they don't like. Why? The half that is barren was not a thick or establised grass, so I guess that is why they scratched what was there into oblivion. So what i am wondering based on this-if chickens have enough space and 'alternate entertainment', in the form of yummy gardens for them to scratch etc, if i had a nice thick established grass, is there any way i might be able to have grass? I may be delusional, but trekking thru ankle deep mud to feed horses and clean coops, especially in the cold wind and rain, well, it is making me dream of grass. Sigh. I have been researching alternative ground covers/lawn options, but am baffled as to what to do. Then i stare over at the half of my yard that is green and lovely and lush and just shake my head. I so need some guidance, advice, suggestions, pretty please! Thank you!
     
  2. dan26552

    dan26552 Flock Master

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    How many chickens do you have?
     
  3. crzychkn

    crzychkn Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh yeah, we did have some stepping stone pavers going out to the coop and the fenceline so we could feed horses, however my girls learned at a young age that very yummy things live under big stones, LoL, so they dig, dig, dig at the stones and they shift and sink and are rendered useless! I think it is quite amusing despite being almost ankle deep in mud! I just refuse to believe that i can't find some solution that benefits them and us! Once the weather is finished sending us freezes I already have garden beds prepped and we have 'practice' gardens now that they love and a couple they leave alone (we just cover when it freezes). We built them roosting perches in the 'practice' gardens, and even an area with a big stone for them. We are going to copy this in the big gardens as it is working very well. That is why i just HAVE to believe i can find a solution to the mud, be it established grass grown incrementally in box/screened protectors or something else. So, do i have you more experienced folks just rolling with laughter at how naive i must seem? :p
     
  4. crzychkn

    crzychkn Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh yeah, we have 9 regular sized hens, 3 silkies and 9 silkie chicks, but not all chicks will remain, some will be going to live with friends! The 'chicken' yard is about 100 feet across and half is about 50 feet deep and the other half goes around the house so it is about 100 feet deep there, kinda an L shaped yard, but we have a TON more yard we could add in for them-like an acre or so. I haven't yet due to the cost. I have allotted funds to making their yard more entertaining, meaning gardens, and hopefully some grass, and updating their coop.
     
  5. JanetMarie

    JanetMarie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Seems to me that you already know what to do!
     
  6. dan26552

    dan26552 Flock Master

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    X2 might try rational grazing
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
  7. crzychkn

    crzychkn Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok, hold on, LoL, I am reading this and feeling a tiny smattering of a hope ember! Am I possibly misunderstanding? LoL Could it really be possible, I mean truly, that between the multiple gardens, and oh yeah, we have 'designated' dig zones, where every few days either myself or a kiddo takes a shovel (and boy howdy do these girls recognize that shovel as a precursor to major yummies!) and we dig, and uncover worms and grubs and all sorts of goodies, and when we aren't there digging then the girls continue on their own, plus they love the dirt bathing in these areas, plus they have several containers of sand and various other types of dirt containers spread around for bathing and scratching amusement, plus the 'practice' gardens, plus various types of roosting/napping areas/options, and several trees they enjoy 'climbing'...in other words they have a wide array of amusements, sooooooooo, do I dare fan that ember of hope that I may be able to grow some lovely grass on which to walk on this half of the yard and not have to sink into mud, and be able to keep it? Do you think I can manage it without increasing their yard size? Could it just be a matter of them having enough other endeavors to leave my grass alone? I am afraid I will spend the time on cultivating beautiful grass and despite everything else we try to provide still have it destroyed. Although they would have a decidedly grand time on it until it is gone! LoL I guess I am just wondering of those that have success keeping lush grass with chickens, is it that they indeed have other endeavors that occupy them? I spend most of my time outside on various yard projects of one type or another, so I suppose if it fails, the grass I mean, well, no harm no foul, I'd be out there doing something anyway! I just so badly want an end to the massive amounts of mud! Our poor boot scraper gets buried in mud daily! Just as soon as the ground dries out we have another front move thru and it's mud again! LoL and my patio, LoL, I know there is concrete somewhere under the mud we track on it, sure would love to see it again! :p oh please all you great and experienced chicken lovers/keepers, please tell me it MAY just be possible! :) I suppose I will keep a journal and a photo record of my grass attempt, because I think I just decided to go for it! Thank you for helping me! I sometimes need not just advice/suggestions, but to just be able to talk it out with other chicken people! You have all taught me so much in this, my first year, as a chicken person, and I cannot thank you all enough for the font of information I find here! :) i am sorry if I seem like some crazy naive goof, but I chose the username for a reason! ;)
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    You might want to fence them OUT of the area where you want to grow grass. It will take a couple of months to get a good stand of grass going. but, by doing so, you might be able to get 3 areas covered in good sod by next fall. Be sure you choose a seed mix designed for "high traffic".
     
  9. dan26552

    dan26552 Flock Master

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    X2!
     
  10. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Agreed, rotate their "run" to allow time for new growth to establish.
     

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