Safe Lawn Care For Chickens

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by Cusas Cluckers, May 10, 2016.

  1. Cusas Cluckers

    Cusas Cluckers New Egg

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    Oct 1, 2015
    CT, USA
    I recently rehomed my dog and my 11 happy hens are exploring the entire yard beyond just their run! I was wondering if there are any safe fertilizers/lawn treatments out there I can lay down to treat my backyard and not harm the hens in the process.

    Thank you for your help!
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    Liquid fertilizer should be ok, especially if you use it and then it gets watered or rained in well. Personally, I'd not use any insecticides (or herbicides). Let the chickens eat all the bugs. It may take them longer but it will be healthier for them, the lawn, and you in the long run. Just an added tid bit along these lines: My MIL LOVES birds. She has lots of feeders out, and loves to see the Robins and Cardinals visit her yard. She was complaining that she hasn't seen any birds on her lawn this year. She finally figured out that it's b/c she's had a lawn service treat her lawn for grubs. The birds are staying far away from her yard, while they are visiting the yards of her surrounding neighbors.
     
  3. Cusas Cluckers

    Cusas Cluckers New Egg

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    Oct 1, 2015
    CT, USA
    Thank you! Do the chickens tear up the whole yard? Or will my grass be fine. I have about a 1 acre back yard. Also, I was planning on taking down the fence to my vegetable garden in hopes that they would scratch up the dirt and eat the weeds. Thoughts? Will they eat the plants before they grow?
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    Your chickens will graze on the grass. They will make some dust bath craters where ever they choose to. Got mulched flower beds? They have their own ideas about landscaping. They'll fling that mulch across the lawn. They'll dig up your flowers. They will prefer to dig your favorite ones, and preferably the ones you spent the most money on, and most recently planted. In the garden, they'll dig weeds and veggies alike. They will munch your veggies to the ground. They will pick holes in every tomato and every squash. The stuff they don't dig, eat or otherwise destroy, they will poop on. For these reasons, lots of poultry keepers:

    Keep the chickens in the run, except for supervised outings.

    Fence in the garden or any flower beds that they don't want the chickens to destroy.

    Only let the chickens into the garden before planting and after harvest.

    I love chickens, and especially love the amendments to the soil, the weed and insect control they provide, the tilling they do, and the entertainment, eggs, and meat they provide.
     
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  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Good post by LG.

    They will create craters to dust bathe. Over time certain areas will become bare, normally areas real close to their coop. With eleven chickens on an acre I would not expect that bare area to amount to much. Your lawn really should be fine overall but don’t be surprised to eventually see a few bare spots near the coop.

    I want to reinforce what LG said about fences. You need to either fence them in where you want them to be or fence them out of places you don’t want them. They like to scratch in bare ground, especially bare loose ground like you might have in a garden. They absolutely love scratching in mulch, there are so many good things to eat in there if they can just find them. They will scatter that mulch everywhere. They love to eat garden plants as they sprout. Once some plants are established they will stop eating them, especially if there are better tasting plants to eat, but they do like to peck a hole or two in ripening fruits like tomatoes or peppers.

    You can always try free ranging, but I suggest as a minimum you have a run handy so you can lock them up while you build fences if you see a need to build fences.

    Good luck!
     

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