'pasture' for chickens

canesisters

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I've recently expanded my chicken's yard with the idea of cutting it into 2 'paddocks'. I want to be able to grow something for them to eat in one side while they're in the other - and then switch them back and forth.
Can anyone suggest a few things that will grow fast, has seeds readily available for purchase, and won't cost me a small fortune? It would be re-seeded all summer as needed and watering isn't a problem.
 

Phaedra

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I am planning to do the same and collect first the vegetable seeds I am not interested in growing again.
In my opinion, marigolds, calendula, or green manure kind of seeds (clover, alfalfa, mustard...etc) can be quite suitable.

I also bought some field beans for this purpose.
 

Crealcritter

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Anything that you don't want to eat also. I read somewhere sure go right ahead and put the chickens in the vegatable garden. It even had a video of chickens eating bugs off the vegetable plants. So I tried it and peppers, tomatoes and green beans, squash and a lot of others had peck holes. Live and learn!

Jesus is Lord and Christ 🙏❤️🇺🇸
 

canesisters

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Debbie are you thinking about ..

. a permanent pasture or ..

. annual?
This is the pen surrounding their coop, so it will be a 'permanent pasture'. Although, chickens being who they are, I expect they will have it down to bare soil by spring each year. Since they don't free range, this is my 'solution' to them not getting nearly enough bugs, greens & such.
 

canesisters

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Anything that you don't want to eat also. I read somewhere sure go right ahead and put the chickens in the vegatable garden. It even had a video of chickens eating bugs off the vegetable plants. So I tried it and peppers, tomatoes and green beans, squash and a lot of others had peck holes. Live and learn!

Jesus is Lord and Christ 🙏❤️🇺🇸
Lessons learned 🤣
I have a problem with slugs & almost got a few ducks JUST so they could patrol my garden. I had been told that they would leave the veggies alone... then someone pointed out that their little flappy feet will stomp nearly everything and are perfect for turning mulch into mud... lesson learned by someone else's pain that time.
thumbsup.gif
 

seedcorn

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Part of the problem isn’t that the chickens eating all, but the NH3 from manure build up. Need a heavy nitrogen feeder.

So you have 2 problems to address, manual eating by the birds and the manure build up.
 

digitS'

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When a small backyard flock free-ranged in my yard, they didn't do a lot of damage to my bluegrass and white clover lawn.

I didn't appreciate them destroying the hosta and they scratched up the flower beds. (One may have poisoned herself on the rhubarb - died the same day as the first attack on those plants :oops:.)

Moving a small pen around the backyard didn't work. Within a couple of hours they would damage part of the lawn within that confined space. I think that chickens will always dig holes to dust bathe but will have favorite spots.

Pasture grasses are likely to have much stronger roots than lawngrass.

Steve
 

canesisters

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Part of the problem isn’t that the chickens eating all, but the NH3 from manure build up. Need a heavy nitrogen feeder.

So you have 2 problems to address, manual eating by the birds and the manure build up.
Humm... I hadn't considered the nitrogen. Half of the 'new' pen is the old pen that they have been in for years. I assumed it would be 'rich soil' because lemon balm and some other weed grow prolifically in there, only because they don't like them & won't eat them. I have to actually take the mower in there every now and then. Perhaps it isn't too bad yet???? Chickweed will also grow well in there if I leave a roll of chicken wire sitting somewhere that accidently protects a spot. They LOVE that, of course but it's delicate and they can completely clear a small patch no time.
I tried fencing 2 areas off one summer and growing corn in 1 and squash in the other. The corn never sprouted - but I assumed that was because the crows found it (?). I can't remember if I ever got any squash out of the other.. I remember the plants grew well & they loved it when I removed the fencing & let them in.
 

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