Chickens are quirky eaters and will try to eat anything that can fit in their beaks. They also have the habit to dig and scratch the ground when looking for food, this habit is particularly not good for plants and grasses.
Generally, if chickens are living in a confined place with little room for their daily activities and are being kept on the same patch of land, they will destroy the grass growing in that place. They do this by eating the tender shoots of grass and by digging the ground.
Growing and caring for grass can be a very challenging task when you have chickens around your lawn. In this article, I will explain to you all the necessary information on how to prevent chickens from destroying your grass and why chickens do this.
On most occasions, chickens will decimate lawns that have grass growing on them. The grass is very appealing for chickens in a lot of ways like food and other reasons that are mentioned above.
Lawns that have extremely dry ground or wet ground are ideal targets for chickens. Grass grows gradually on the dry ground and it cannot cope with the destructive ability of chickens and will be destroyed within no time. On the wet ground, chickens will get rid of the grass to turn it into a mud bathing spot.
By following certain strategies and tips, you may be able to save your soft grass from these critters. These are mentioned further in the article, so read on.
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Chickens are omnivores and can eat both vegetation and tiny animals and insects. Apart from eating the grass, there are several other ways how chickens demolish the grass. These are listed below;
Chickens need a lot of minerals and vitamins for the proper functioning of their body. Most of these nutrients come from eating green vegetation, including grass.
Chickens will usually peck the new shoots of grass, which are nutritious and easy to digest. When new shoots are gone, growth of the grass will eventually stop, and it will begin to disappear from that area.
Chickens routinely dig and scratch the ground while searching for tid bids to eat. This digging and scratching results in loose soil and the roots of the grass become directly exposed to sunlight and air.
This causes the roots to dry off, and they become non-functional, ultimately killing the grass.
Chickens have thick plumage and to keep it free from parasites chickens need dust baths. They will do this by rolling and tossing their body in dust.
If all the ground is covered in the grass they won’t have this necessity so that is why chickens constantly scratch the ground at a particular spot so no grass grows there and they have a place for dust baths. That is how grassless patches appear on lawns.
Insects also hide in the grass, while looking for insects chickens will continuously run over the grass and if the grass is very short and fragile it will get ruined.
Here are some tips and strategies that will help you save your grass from chickens and protect your lawn from the wrath of the chickens. These are listed below;
Grow a tough variety of grass that grows quickly and can bear the weight of the chickens when they walk or run on it. It should have firm and deep roots so they can hold their place when chickens dig the ground.
You can easily grow wheat and barley sprouts at your home with little effort and money. These also grow very quickly and are very nutritious for chickens. Providing these sprouts a few times a week will keep your chickens fed and divert their mind from your lawn. This will give time to your grass to make a recovery.
It is essential that you provide your chickens with a place where they can take their dust baths. This will not keep them healthy but also save your lawn from being scratched and destroyed. Choose a spot near their coop and pile a lot of dust there so they can keep themselves busy and keep adding new dust regularly.
The trend of chicken tractors is on the rise in recent times among chicken owners. A chicken tractor is fundamentally a chicken coop that has wheels for easy mobility. You can easily change the place of the chicken tractor on your lawn daily, so a new patch of grass is exposed to chickens every day and the previous patch has time to retrieve.
You can get a chicken tractor for yourself at an affordable price through amazon.com.
You can put an electric fence around the lawn with mild shocking ability. Make sure it does not stun or kill the chickens. If done properly electric fencing will help keep chickens off your lawn and it is one of the best methods of saving your grass from these hungry creatures.
Keeping your grass long will help maintain its stability and rigidity. It will also reduce the exposure of the new shoots. Chickens avoid eating long grass because it is difficult to digest. Short grass makes an easy meal for chickens and they thrive on it.
Divide your lawn into small sections with the help of a fence so you can shift the chickens into a new section after every one or two days depending upon how many sections you have. This will give time for grass to regrow and gain its strength.
If you have 7 sections you can shift them daily. This type of pasture or lawn management is also known as rotational grazing and is widely used for large animals.
Keeping fewer birds is also a good way to protect your lawn from damage. Overcrowding chickens in a small place will increase competition for food sources hence increasing the pressure on grass because more and more chickens will try to eat it and dig it for insects and seeds.
When you have a dog on your lawn chickens will not stray in that area. But make sure your dog is well trained and will only ward off chickens rather than killing them or injuring them.
With proper management and care, you can have beautiful grass even when chickens are around. It all depends upon how you implement strategies to keep your chickens away from the grass.
If you follow the guidelines that are mentioned above you will be able to have nice grass with chickens around.
Chickens can be sometimes beneficial for grass as well. They help to keep in check the pest populations which may otherwise damage the grass. Their droppings can act as a natural fertilizer for the ground.
Chicken poop contains uric acid which can in high amounts cause a burning effect on the grass but it is usually rare. It only occurs when you keep chickens on the same patch of land for a very long time with a little cleaning of the area.
In moderate quantities, chicken droppings make an ideal fertilizer for grass and other plants. Grasses benefit from the availability of nitrogen in the droppings of a chicken.
Evenly dispersing the chicken droppings on a large area will cause no harm to the grass or plants.
If you want to learn more about this, you should read my other article: Is Chicken Poop Good for Grass? (+secret tips to use it)
Chickens don’t need to have grass in their surroundings. They can survive without it if provided with a balanced diet. Chickens require plenty of minerals and vitamins, which they receive from their diet.
If their diet is not balanced, you must allow them to feed on lush green grass or at least provide them with some kind of edible vegetation, so they can get essential nutrients for their bodies.
Feeding on grass provides chickens with vitamins C and E, protein, fiber, and minerals like calcium and iron. These are essential for their immunity and overall health.
Chickens have strong beaks and claws. This enables them to easily rip out the artificial plastic grass from its base. It is not a good idea to raise your chickens on artificial grass because chickens can ingest the plastic grass which can cause a blockage in their digestive tract often leading to death.
Artificial grass is very coarse and will damage the foot pat of chickens. Chickens will show lameness and difficulty in walking. Artificial grass is pretty expensive and difficult to manage for an ordinary person.
Cleaning the chicken droppings from it will also be a big problem and regular exposure to moisture will certainly decrease its life.
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