Winter Rye and chicken lawnmowers

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by RenoHuskerDu, Feb 2, 2019.

  1. RenoHuskerDu

    RenoHuskerDu Chirping

    Aug 8, 2018
    Central Texas
    I hand spread winter rye over about 200 sqft to cover where I'd worked with an excavator. The AgriLife adviser recommended it to add nitrogen and avoid mud all winter. "Don't let it grow too tall and go to seed" was her advice.

    Imagine my surprise to see that the chickens are keeping it mowed. It's spread well, and our 10 hens are eating it down as it grows. They have plenty of developer/layer feed in two feeders, so it's not that they're overly hungry.

    It sure looks better than the dead brown grass we usually have all winter in Texas. I spread some more further out where I had not disturbed the soil, and it's coming up there too after 2 weeks.

    So if you have free rangers and you want to keep your yard a bit greener in the winter, you might give winter rye a try too. And leave the lawnmower stowed away.

    Note that if you have a watered lawn with a summer grass, rye is noted for competing and causing issues. We do not water our "lawn" - which is just native grasses.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019
    crazychickenlady5 likes this.
  2. crazychickenlady5

    crazychickenlady5 Chirping

    Jun 17, 2018
    Chickens are very useful as lawn mowers :D we always can rely on them to keep the grass down shorter!
  3. NanaK

    NanaK Chirping

    Jan 16, 2014
    North Carolina
    Yes, don't they just love green grass!

    I have grazing frames in my run. In winter I scatter in annual rye grass seed. It germinates at low temps and comes up fast, stays green all winter here. In summer when it gets hot it just dies to the ground. The chickens usually go straight to the frames of grass in the mornings when I let them out. Got the idea here on BYC.

    Doesn't help you now, but in the future if you want to seed an area for them maybe try the annual rye?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: