Growing grass in a well used chicken run.

 We like to free range our chickens, but once the gardens are planted they need to be corralled. The 16’x40′ run made of re-purposed dog kennel panels is attached to their coop and covered with a large pheasant net which keeps them safe from various predators.  We extend their run with poultry fencing so they can get to fresh grass and bugs, but there are times they need to be confined to just their run which no longer has grass.  I found an idea online for our well used run.

With tools gathered, I began the process of testing out this idea by attaching hardware cloth to a 4’x4′ frame.grass growing frames 1

The next step was to spread a pasture mix, cover it with straw and set my frame.  I placed this test frame in with the newbies since they are not yet able to join the big girls in the pasture.grass growing frames 2

I chose a location under their ladder roost, figuring the extra fertilizer should help it grow.  It wasn’t long and one of the Rohde Island Reds decided to hop up and do her part . . . lol.grass growing frames 3

Two weeks later we have grass!!grass growing frames 8

Since that was a success, I decided to get my equipment set up . . . grass growing frames 4bthen round up more scrap lumber used from re-roofing our house.grass growing frames 4a

With boards cut for three 4’x5′ framesgrass growing frames 4 and assembledgrass growing frames 5  I’m ready to attach the hardware cloth.

Rod’s experience and tools makes the task go smoothly.grass growing frames 6A pneumatic staple gun and larger wire cutter were easier on my hands than the tools I used for the test frame.

Three frames complete and ready for the run.  This time I will cover the seed with potting soil rather than straw.grass growing frames 7

We uncovered the two week old grass and repositioned the frame next to one of the new larger frames.grass growing frames 12Looks like the fresh grass is a hit!

The other two frames were set in the big girls side of the run and we even passed the inspection of our two older Delawares.grass growing frames 13  Mama approved of the job well done and her sister checked to see that her tomato plant was not harmed 😉

This task was completed late yesterday afternoon, so this morning I checked on the newbies to see how their grass held up . . . Frame grass next day 1well that didn’t take long.  Although they did leave a little green.Frame grass next day 2

We may try leaving the frame in place a bit longer, letting the grass grow through the hardware cloth allowing it to become thicker while the chickens graze on the tall growth.  Another thought is to only leave it uncovered for an hour or so, just long enough for the girls to give the grass a good trimming.  Either way, I like this concept.

This entry was posted in Poultry.

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