Chickens are domesticated birds that can’t fly. Chickens come in different breeds, colors, sizes, and patterns. Chickens have a larger population than any other bird and bring about lots of benefits and advantages to humans. Aside from the meat and eggs they lay, they can also be kept as humans’ pets.
To prevent chickens from destroying your lawn or garden, provide them with accessible dust baths, avoid keeping a large flock in a small space, and plant beneficial leafy greens for them such as barley, brassica, or wheat sprouts.
There are also ways to keep your chickens happy, like providing them with a movable and large run, providing designated dust baths, making them your garden or lawn assistants once in a while, and fencing off the parts of your yard which you don’t want your chickens to destroy.
In this article, we will discuss whether or not chickens can kill your yard grass and how to stop them from destroying your lawn or garden. We will also tell you how to make your chickens happy and keep the balance between them and your lawn.
Will Chickens Kill Your Yard Grass?
Chickens have a diverse diet and are omnivores. They eat grubs, herbs, leaves, small seeds, insects, and even small mammals, like mice. If you have chickens in your yard, there’s a big chance that they will scratch your lawn to get insects, seeds, and larvae.
Chickens are expert foragers who find food for their provision. Will chickens kill your grass? At times, they can kill your yard grass if there’s little place for them and if they are kept in the same place all the time. Although, some other times, chickens’ damages to your yard grass can be managed.
If you have little space in your backyard for your chickens, you’ll soon start noticing bare or brown patches on the ground. It is one of the major concerns of backyard flock keepers, aside from chicken poop on the porch.
Chickens are most likely to kill your backyard grass, especially if you are settled in a dry or wet place. Here some indications of a problematic ground if you plan on keeping chickens:
- Barren or droughty ground prevents grass from growing back well.
- The moist or soaked ground can turn into a mud bath with chickens.
- Nothing grows in a compacted and not well-drained soil, especially if you have clay ground.
- One of the most common practices says that the ground where chickens roam around must be rested for a maximum of nine months. Grounds that can’t be rested are hard to pass if you plan on keeping chickens.
Chickens are insatiable eaters and diggers. If you have a garden in your backyard, there’s a 100% chance that they will destroy it unless you take early precautions. Also, lawn fertilizers, chemical treatments, and miracle growth are not for chickens. You should avoid using these if you plan on letting your chickens roam around your backyard.
Chickens tend to fly off if they are in a new place, frightened, or think they lost their way. If you want to keep your chickens in your yard and not bother your neighbors, you need to know how to keep your backyard chickens from escaping.
How to Prevent Chickens from Destroying Your Yard?
Chickens bring about surprising benefits to your lawn or garden but with little management. They are voracious eaters and feed on larvae, insects, pests, and eggs that damage your grass and plants. They also produce organic and nutrient-rich fertilizer.
Unfortunately, chickens can be a little annoying, especially if they find a soft area on your lawn. They’ll start digging holes, taking dust baths, and turn your backyard into a crater-filled moonscape. Here is how to keep your chicken from destroying your lawn or garden:
- Use a strong variety of yard grass.
- Grow wheat sprouts or barley when you tend to keep the chickens off the grass for days.
- To prevent chickens from making their dust bath, provide them with a large one that is enough and placed in an accessible area.
- Use a chicken tractor.
- Keep your grass a little longer to make it resilient to chickens. Shorter grass dries out quickly.
- Avoid keeping a large flock in a small space.
- Keep your flocks in two days a week allowing your grass to rest.
- Use an electric fence to divide your yard or use some other alternatives.
Keep in mind not to use artificial grass for chickens as it will frustrate them and push them to peck on the plastic tips and ingest them. Also, chicken poop is impossible to wash on a real lawn. Chickens need real vegetation in their diet.
Ideas to Keep Your Chicken Happy
Despite the damages that your chickens have done in your backyard, they can be naturally good companions. Small flocks can be a source of renewable supply of fresh compost that is super beneficial and can nurture your vegetable garden.
Garden waste can also contribute as a special treat to your chickens and birds if you have one. Coexistence and planning in keeping chickens in your yard can go a long way and will be worth the effort. Here are seven ideas to keep your chickens happy.
1. Number of Chickens
In some parts of the world, there are laws and rules about how many chickens you can keep in your yard. Thus, take initiative to find out if there are existing rules in your location regarding raising and keeping chickens.
Do not keep more chickens if you have little space to accommodate large numbers of flocks. If you’re a first-timer, plan and estimate how many chickens you can keep in your space. Overcrowding and overpopulated chicken farms can lead to health and behavioral problems.
Chickens will also scratch your lawn, leaving it brown and bare, and eat plants around them. In the end, you’ll have more chicken waste and it will be hard to compost.
Here’s how to avoid overcrowding:
- Start small and add more if you still have space.
- If you are settled in a small urban area, keep three or four chickens.
- If you have acres of land, start with half a dozen or more.
2. Provide a Designated Bathtub
If your chickens are digging excessively in your lawn or garden, try putting a litter box or something similar and fill it with coarse sand. This will help the scratch and itch of your chicken for a dust bath.
3. Build a Large Run
Give your chickens a free-range space to explore. Most prefabricated coops have small attached runs but don’t offer much space for chickens to explore and free-range.
If you want to build your coop, plan how big your run should be. Most chicken keepers build a run that is large and tall enough for them to walk around and offers chickens a large area to explore and different platforms.
If you don’t plan on letting your chickens out for a run, make sure you give them the recommended 8 to 10 square feet per chicken. Large branches, stumps for perching, swings, or hanging cabbages are some of the enrichments you can add to your backyard. They will keep your chickens healthy, happy, and entertained.
You can also build or buy a movable run for your chickens. Movable chicken run is a structure made of chicken wire that allows your chickens some freedom while protecting them from predators. With movable runs, you can decide and rotate where you want your chickens to forage.
Movable runs give your chickens access to new areas to peak and forage. They also enable the forage area to recover and rotate again your movable run in a new area.
4. Fence Off an Area of Your Yard and Garden
If you have a large space to divide your backyard, you can put up a fence in a specific area dedicated to your chickens. It is possible if you have a house with an unused side yard or have a vegetable garden in your front yard.
Choose a space with trees and shrubs and ensure that chickens have access to their coop. A larger space means less damage to grass and vegetation since they are constantly moving.
If your chickens are digging excessively in your backyard, the best alternative is to use straw or wood chips on the ground. With these, you can protect the microbe environment in your yard.
To avoid damages caused by your chickens to your garden, you can install a fence around it. It is the best approach to keep your flock away from the garden. This method also allows chickens to freely roam around your yard.
Fencing comes in a lot of styles and options, but generally, with chickens in your yard, fencing shouldn’t have any gaps. It should also be high enough to keep the animals from flying over. Large and heavy chickens are agile and can fly over 3-to-4-foot fences. You could either clip your chickens’ wings or build a higher fence over which they can’t jump.
5. Lawn Tractors
Lawn tractors, also known as chicken mowers, allow chickens access to your lawn with your control. With this, many chicken owners and their flocks are happy. A lawn tractor is a portable pen with wire at the bottom preventing your flocks from digging in your yard’s grass. It also provides chickens a fresh supply of grass.
To use it, simply move the lawn tractor around every other day or so to obtain fresh grass.
6. Chicken as Your Garden Clean Up Team
As previously discussed, chickens in your garden can be a good thing too. Keeping them there is surprisingly beneficial. They are great garden assistants while your beds are dormant, during late fall to early spring.
Chickens will help till the ground, so let them out to free-range over your beds. They will also help in breaking down plants that go dormant for the year and eliminate insects, pests, larvae, and eggs in the soil.
Let your chicken do the work of clean up your garden at the end of the season. Don’t forget to reward them with leafy greens or Brassica, which you can leave in the bolt.
7. Other Ways to Protect Your Plants
A flower and vegetable garden is hard to maintain and keep up with if you have chickens around. To maintain the balance between your chickens and beloved plants, you must protect your plants by applying the following steps:
- Place a small translucent cover over the seedlings and growing plants to keep them safe.
- Put up a 4-foot barrier made of chicken wire around your plants.
- When chickens are out, use a cold frame structure with shade cloth or bird netting if you have raised beds in your backyard. Just make sure to keep your flowers accessible for pollination.
- To prevent chickens from scratching and digging the roots, put large rocks around the base of the plants.
- Keep planters up on tables, stumps, or other surfaces out of your chickens’ reach.
If your lawn or garden contains no brown patches, your chickens and lawn have worked together harmoniously. As chickens aerate your soil, they also peck and eat leaves, bugs, weeds, insects, and grass clippings. Choosing the perfect type of lawn is one of the most important factors to consider, depending on your location.
Chickens are raised for a variety of reasons. For the most part, they are raised for their meat and eggs while some are raised as pets. If you are interested in keeping a few of these birds in your backyard, one of the first questions that may have popped in your mind is do backyard chickens involve a lot of work? Read our article to find out.
Chickens are great animals, but they have a tendency to be mischievous and wreak havoc on your backyard. Your grass yard and chickens can get along as long as both are managed organically with some planning. Providing your chickens with everything that they need is one of the best things that you can do to prevent them from ruining your yard.
If you’re planning to raise chickens in your backyard, take time to prepare for their arrival. Make sure that they have access to food and water as well as an area where they can roam freely. With mismanagement and no control, chickens can destroy your lawn and garden, especially if you have numerous chickens and put them in a small space and on unhealthy ground.
As we have discussed in this article, there are numerous ways to keep your chickens happy and stop them from ruining your yard and garden. As long as you take care of them properly and provide their needs, you can save your yard and garden from these creatures.