Chickens are a common domestic fowl raised for their eggs as well as their meat. There are currently more chickens in the world than any other type of bird, most in commercial farms and laying houses. Small farms also keep chickens for personal use and many people keep chickens as pets, often showing them in county fairs or other farming competitions. Chickens scratch in the dirt looking for seeds and insects. This makes it difficult to grow grass in a chicken coop, but it can be done.
The key to growing grass in a chicken coop is to keep the chickens off the soil until the grass seeds have had time to germinate and sprout. Since the favorite past-time of a chicken is scratching around in the dirt, this can be difficult. If the birds are allowed on the newly planted ground, they will not only scratch up the grass seed, they will eat the seeds as well.
One way to avoid this is to plant the grass in sections, keeping the chickens penned up in the area not currently planted. If you chicken coop is not already separated into more than one area, you can accomplish this by stretching chicken wire across the middle of the pen.
After the grass has been planted and watered, allow plenty of time for the seeds to germinate, sprout and grow an inch or two before you let the chickens back on the ground. Depending on the type of grass you planted, the time required can range from three to four weeks. Using fertilizer or mulch can speed up the germination and growth process. Read the labels on any fertilizer first to make sure it won't be harmful to your chickens if ingested.
Another option for planting grass in your chicken coop is to use sod. Sod is fully grown grass that has been professionally cultivated and cut into sections with the underlying soil and roots still attached. Once sod has been cut, it must be laid down within 24 hours. Most sod suppliers will ship it directly to your home.
To plant the sod, first remove all chickens from the coop and prepare the ground. Remove all weeds and till the dirt to a depth of 6 inches. This is also the time to add any mulch or fertilizer. Level the ground and remove any rocks. Lay each square of sod side by side against each other without overlapping. Water the sod daily and keep the chickens off the new grass for at least 5 days. After that you can turn the birds loose and let them scratch to their hearts' content.
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