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Tips for making the grass grow in our run?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by sixlittlechicks09, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. sixlittlechicks09

    sixlittlechicks09 Songster

    Jul 8, 2010
    Hi everyone!
    Well, anyone who lives in PA knows it's been CRAZY hot up here the past few days, but thankfully the heat wave has finally ended. The only problem now is the chicken run has no grass! The chickens love to peck and eat at bugs and grass but there's nothing but dry hard ground now, and my girls are pretty bummed out about it. [​IMG] Our chicken coop isn't movable, but does anyone have any ideas how to get some grass to grow for them? They're run is about 40' long by 10' wide, I was thinking about maybe fencing the far end of it off? Any suggestions? Thanks so much! My dearies are getting sick of just scratch grain and mash! [​IMG] I'm sure they'd appreciate it!
  2. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009
    Until the grass gets established, there is no way to get grass in there: and eventually they will tear it all up anyway.

    [​IMG] BUUUUT, you can try planting some grass and laying hardware cloth over it and fencing it off. THere is a lovely lady here who has two deep "boxes" or troughs...she plants the grass & one covers it wiht hardware cloth until it is growing wild. Then she covers box #2 and plants grass in that one. While the chickens are destroying one trough, the other gets established. She lets them tear out the grass and then use the box to dust bathe until the next one is ready.

    I do something similar with radishes.
  3. crj

    crj Songster

    Dec 17, 2009
    Rocky Point, NC
    You could plant some grass seed and keep the chickens out of that section till the grass grows. You can also buy some sod. I bought several pieces for my chickens and ducks and it's working out great.
  4. jen5680

    jen5680 Southside Silkie Shack

    Jun 18, 2009
    SW Ohio
    I saw a post somewere on here and they took 2X4 and ran chicken wire over it and put it in different areas of the run. This alowwed the grass to grow in certain spots and the chickens could still eat it but not be able to kill it and then it can grow back. I thought it was a great idea!
  5. Tater n Beans

    Tater n Beans In the Brooder

    Jun 28, 2010
    Extreme South Texas
    One way would be to either create a temporary run that they can use while you sow the entire run or split the run down the middle and let them have a side till the other comes back then switch otherwise they will eat all of your seed.
  6. MaggieRae

    MaggieRae Songster

    Apr 12, 2009
    North Texas

    Step 1: Remove chickens.
    Step 2: Seed or sod. Allow to grow/set.

    Step 3: Replace chickens.

    Step 4: Wait 20 minutes.
    Step 5: Pull your hair out as your chickens destroy your hard work like this: [​IMG]
    Step 5: Repeat.

  7. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

    Jul 17, 2009
    Quote:Had this happen when the chickens escaped from their run for ~20 minutes. Bye-bye flowers.
  8. crossedwires

    crossedwires Chirping

    Jan 19, 2010
    the only way i know of making grass stay in a chicken pen is to take the chickens out! sorry but its a bit like trying to keep ice in a hot oven ................ :d
  9. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Quote:That's a good sized run. If there aren't very many birds on it, maybe cross fencing would work for you.

    The problem with chickens on plants isn't just that they eat and scratch them out of the ground. The plants can only handle so much chicken manure.

    Robert Plamondon correctly points out that an acre of pasture grass can only tolerate about 4 tons of manure each year. That is the yearly output of 80 chickens.

    Over time, excess chicken manure will kill the plants and the more chickens or the less pasture, the quicker that will occur.

  10. crossedwires

    crossedwires Chirping

    Jan 19, 2010
    i just read that robert whatever his name is link and man it made my blood boil!! i am one of the european chicken farmers he talks about! and he is talking utter rubish and in the most generalised way.

    so a few facts about european farms and chcikens per acre. for a start most farms use a ratio less than 400 hens per acre even tho this is the permitted level. mainly we use less as a way to manage parasite burden, secondly he states the reason we have nice green grass is because we keep the hens indoors all the time, erm so he means instead of using the land in a productive manner we pay instead alot of money in fuel and time in just keeping the grass cut??? and have an increased feed bill??? NO NO NO NO. uterly and totaly wrong.
    how we do it and keep nice grass is simple we use a ancient and mystical methos caled ROTATION!! now this is obviously not something he has ever come across so i will break the EU farmers code and divulge its secrets... we always have land in rest, normaly if i have heavy numbers per acre (300+) they will be on that acre for no more than 5 weeks then move them on, the acre is then turned over to 2-3 goats who clear up any stringy weeds or brambles or reed grass. the acre is then left for 3 weeks and turned over to ducks (normaly <200) then they are moved on and the acre is left for approx 8 weeks where upon sheep are grazed for a couple of weeks, then its a week off for the acre and chickens are added again, we do this to the acre for 3 years when it is then handed over to some weaners who totaly wreak havoc upon it and turn it into a swampy mess (idealy) we let that settle for a bit then hoe it with the tractor, at this point its normal practice to leave it for a year to 18 months in wich time we take a bedding haycrop off it every 6 months to "clean" any parasite load.

    manure isnt a problem in a properly managed system, also the calculations dont take into account the reality of manure decomposting in the acre or things like flys laying eggs in it and the magots living off it, all of wich greatly reduce the real world amount of manure the acre would actualy have.
    sorry to rant but i take offence at people posting in a knowledgeable way about something they are clearly guessing at. and i am not the exception of the UK farms, our own farm has fantastic pasture and our land is worth above average on the market, my family has farmed this land for well over 350 years exactly the same way as ive outlined.

    rant over [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010

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