suggestions for planting ground cover in chicken run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by crysmom, Sep 28, 2007.

  1. crysmom

    crysmom Songster

    Sep 24, 2007
    I have a large area (20x30) in the back of my yard where we will place our permanent chicken coop and run in the spring. Right now its just flat level rich soil (the composter and stick pile were there) so I need to plant some ground cover. What is the best thing to plant that will be enjoyable for the chickens, and hopefully live through their constant picking [​IMG] any suggestions? my husband says just to plant grass because its easy and cheap
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Uh... you can plant sand! It would increase drainage... I don't think there's anything the chickens won't dig up and tear through...
  3. poppycat

    poppycat Songster

    Jan 26, 2007
    Grass would be fine for them but they will eat it all eventually and then you'll be back to bare dirt.
  4. DrakeMaiden

    DrakeMaiden Overrun with Drakes

    Jun 8, 2007
    Kitsap County, WA
    If you constructed short frames and then covered the area with chicken wire, whatever you choose to grow might have a better chance. We do that with catnip for our cats -- the plant core survives and they just can eat whatever happens to poke up.

    My ducks love clover, I think better than grass. Not sure if chickens also love clover. Clover will also add nitrogen to your soil, although you probably don't need any more with the chickens around. LOL.
  5. crysmom

    crysmom Songster

    Sep 24, 2007
    Quote:[​IMG] lol I"m sure it will be mostly torn up but since I have all winter to obsess over how the coop will look in the summer I feel like I need to pick a grass to grow

    we don't get very much rain at all here (although lots of snow) so it will very very rarely be muddy even if its dirt in there.

    I have a portable chicken tractor so I'm hoping during the hot summer months having the chickens around the yard instead of stuck in their pen will help alleviate the dirt pen

    although I realize I may end up with sand in the pen after all
  6. crysmom

    crysmom Songster

    Sep 24, 2007
    Quote:I think i'll suggest the frames to my husband

    so to understand right you lay chicken wire over the ground? or buried under the ground? this helps the roots live. maybe this is something to do in part of the pen so the chickens still have lots of scratching room ?
  7. I have "Wooly Thyme" planted.

    It works well smells good when they plow through it and the little pieces/branches that break off re-root themselves. I do help with some water about twice a week.
  8. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    Today a customer at work told me something he used to do when he had chickens. He had 2 runs set up for them. He would lime and rest one while they were in the other. After he cleaned and raked the empty side, he would seed it and let it grow in for them. Here is what he did for seed.....he went to the farmer supply store and asked for the floor sweepings from the seed/grain storeage. He would spread it over the area so it would all be stuff they liked growing up for eating and for cover too. I also have a friend that said when she cleans her cockatiel cage, she empties all the seed from the bottom into the unused runs to grow up for when there are birds in them. I am going to try that one. I hope that made sense......sometimes when you type, you wonder if it will be read the way you were thinking it [​IMG]
  9. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    Apr 6, 2007
    Lurky I like the cockatiel food idea. I empyy my conures dish into one area
    out back every day. They chippers love the left over seeds. We get some
    pretty strange looking plants growing from the seeds. I wonder what they
    put in there.

    Since we have been l;etting our chickens range for an hour or two daily they have
    devoured all the sprouts and weeds that grew from the seed.

    Next year I'm gonna try the dual run thing and plant everything I can find.

    One word of caution. Most grass seeds have herbacides and fungicides on and
    in them. Use only organic seed if planting grass.
  10. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    Yeah, we are going to do the dual run thing too. I hope to start letting mine out more. I let the silkies out everyday, but the Standards kinda freak me out. I'm afraid they will get into trouble. Like fly over the fence into our dog coop....or over the fence into the neighbors yard (another dog). So i hope to clip the wings someday. Waiting to find something sharp enough to do a good job. But i like the idea of giving them a fresh coop/run with new growth to explore. Lets see how we do with that in the spring [​IMG]

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