Should I bother with grass?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by stephenmoursund, Feb 17, 2015.

  1. stephenmoursund

    stephenmoursund New Egg

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    Feb 17, 2015
    Hey Folks! First post today happens to coincide with my first egg: very exciting stuff going on in the back yard!

    I've got a small yard with three hens, and I'm debating whether or not to bother laying some turf down: I don't want to waste my money if it's going to be scratched to dust in a couple of months! The total dimensions of the yard are 32' x 28': about 900 sq ft. Take out the landscaping around the edges, a raised bed for vegetables (fenced to keep the ladies out) the coop, and my deck, and the area I'd be laying sod in is only 15'x27': 400 sq feet.

    The bermuda that was in the yard when I bought the house died due to poor shade resistance and the fact that I had a huge brush pile in the middle of it for several months, and I'm considering installing St Augustine back there now that I have my deck built and all the landscaping done. My girls have full access to the yard all day and only get closed up at night to keep them safe from nocturnal predators, so they'd be foraging / scratching all day. They currently content themselves scratching around the base of shrubs and vines planted along the fence and nibbling on the giant cilantro plant growing out of a horse trough planter.

    Is grass a doomed endeavor? I think I know the answer is "yes it's doomed, they'll reduce it to dust in days", but I'd like to hear it from the community =) If so, any recommendations on alternative ground cover? Grazing frames look like they could be a great alternative, with the in-between space filled with mulch to protect against erosion.
     
  2. imachknfrk

    imachknfrk New Egg

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    Feb 7, 2015
    HI! I am a newbie to this site, but have had chickens for decades...Soon I will be installing a new coop and fence in about 1/4 acre for 15 hens. I would think that putting down sod is indeed a lost cause. I have never been able to have both grass and chickens in close proximity. The only possible answer I can see, would be to have your 'ladies' in an enclosed place, (coop) all thru the day, and let them out during the last hour or so of the day to forage, or free range...I have a neighbor who has 5 hens and a roo that uses this method. The hens always go back to the 'house' to roost, so they are easy to lock up.

    Sometimes I really do believe one hen on all day free range could strip an acre of ground in one month - but it's really not all that bad. But chickens do like their grass when it's available. Guineas don't scratch, but they will eat every bug on the place, and they are a lot of fun to watch...

    GOOD LUCK!
    imachknfrk
     
    2 people like this.
  3. KevinLynch

    KevinLynch Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 11, 2015
    Welcome to BYC!
     
  4. imachknfrk

    imachknfrk New Egg

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    Feb 7, 2015
    Thank you!
     
  5. KevinLynch

    KevinLynch Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 11, 2015
    May I ask where you originally bought your chickens ? I am interested in buying ducklings but cannot find them anywhere.
     
  6. stephenmoursund

    stephenmoursund New Egg

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    Feb 17, 2015
    @imachknfrk Thanks for your input! Definitely one of those things I should have realized early on, but I of course has unrealistic visions of picturesque chickens clucking about on my pristine lawn.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2015
  7. stephenmoursund

    stephenmoursund New Egg

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    Feb 17, 2015
    @KevinLynch , I live in Austin, TX and bought my chickens as day old pullet's at Callahan's on 183. I've seen ducklings there before as well. No idea where you're located though!
     
  8. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No. It would probably take your 3 hens a month with unlimited access to turn it into a barren moonscape. If you can reduce access to every other day or 2 it would reduce damage considerably. Chickens do the most damage during the fall, winter and early spring by scratching up the roots while the grass is dormant.
     
  9. Memeschix

    Memeschix Out Of The Brooder

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    My run is about 400 sq. feet and we put down sand a few weeks ago to replace the sod that they ate in two months (10 chickens). They love the sand and I love it too. It is easy to keep clean, I do a 15 minute clean up each day. We have the run fenced in as we have plenty of coyote and one mountain lion on the loose in our area in georgetown, Tx. for protection and to minimize the damage to other plants.
     

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