Should I rake the leaves or leave them for my birds?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Parrotchick, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. Parrotchick

    Parrotchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    274
    0
    119
    Nov 13, 2009
    Boonsboro MD
    I let my chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys "free range" around 1/4 acre fenced area of my yard. The area is kind of messy now with part of the yard by my house in the midst of a year long DIY landscaping project of patio/pond/walkway building, ie lots of dirt/mud. In the middle of the yard is feathers and smushed down grass/straw/dirt from duck activity and grass that didn't grow back after being trampled by a loader. It's all looking kind of extra ratty now that it's winter. I could at least make the area look tidier if use a mower/mulcher and rake the leaves but the birds seem to like to root around in them and lounge in them.

    Do they really especially love the leaves for foraging/scratching about? Or they just do it because it's what's available? They don't spend an inordinate amount of time in the leaves under the trees-I think mostly they wait around the patio for me to come out the door with treats. And there's plenty of good spots for them to dust bathe under the pine trees.

    Here's a photo of the middle of the area, with straw over grass seeds that didn't take (I'd have blamed the ducks but the seeds were very old). The photo is kind of bright, so you can't see the white feathers that contribute to the messy look. (The Pekin feathers tend to look like pieces of litter)
    [​IMG]
     
  2. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mine are in a fully enclosed run... between MY dogs, the neighbor's (climbing and breaking through the fence) dogs, the coons, possums, skunks and random killers... yeah, secure run.

    So, I just rake all the leaves back to the run and toss in a batch now and then... they go NUTSO... break them down super fast... and I don't have to send 20 trash bags with nothing but leaves (which ordinarily would break down fast) to the dump... works all around.

    But if they freerange... guess that depends on whether you want the leaves all over your yard or not. Ours pile up something awful, so I'd still rake... but if you didn't mind them I don't see why you couldn't let them hunt them out on their own.
     
  3. bigdogmom130

    bigdogmom130 Chillin' With My Peeps

    167
    1
    121
    Apr 23, 2009
    Glen Burnie
    I keep my leaves in my yard for my chickens. I keep them in a secure run, but when I let them out - they go straight to the leaves! They scratch and peck and have a good time in them. I also rake mine into the run as well. They love it. I don't mind all of the leaves in my yard. I'd raher my chickens be happy foraging around in them! [​IMG]
     
  4. 33yardbirds

    33yardbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    909
    4
    121
    Jun 15, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    I won't clean up until March and the chickens are constantly at the leaves. They are even kicking the leaves at the wood edges into the yard and foraging further into back woods.
     
  5. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    23,342
    1,217
    448
    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Chickens love a pile of leaves, like little kids lol. Mine just finished molting and my backyard was looking terrible. I hitched up my lawn sweeper to my lawn tractor and swept the yard of all the debris including feathers. I dumped it all back in the woods while they were foraging elsewhere.
     
  6. Where The Wild Things Are

    Where The Wild Things Are Chillin' With My Peeps

    143
    1
    91
    Nov 2, 2010
    Utah
    I raked up 4 bags of leaves while it was warm and dry. I continually add them to the bedding in the coop and the duck hut. I also put a few in the nesting boxes. They seem to like it, I think I probably feels more natural for them...but who knows, they're not talkin'
     
  7. There a chick...

    There a chick... Chillin' With My Peeps

    200
    0
    89
    Oct 7, 2010
    West Michigan
    Quote:Mine go crazy for leaf piles too! We clean up the majority of the front and back yard, but I don't bother to rake the leaves by the veggie garden. Throughout the fall and spring I will rake some of these up and put them in the chicken pen. Yesterday I gave them 3 wheelbarrows full, and one of the chickens jumped on top of the pile and started digging through them. Guess she thought she was queen of the leaf pile!
     
  8. LaurelRidgeDreams

    LaurelRidgeDreams Chillin' With My Peeps

    595
    4
    129
    Jan 23, 2010
    Mountains of NC
    Is is okay to put a pile of leaves in the run for the chickens to scratch through/play in?
     
  9. sben451

    sben451 Chillin' With My Peeps

    356
    1
    129
    Aug 26, 2008
    Anniston, AL
    Yes. They love to scratch and play in leaves.
     
  10. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Oh, yeah, as long as they aren't poison oak leaves or sumpin' like that! They love leaves, and they eat the bugs and scratch around in the leaves with real abandon!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by