Living with Chickens and Lawn

So as a lawn mowing guy, how do I live with chickens and have a lawn? Really good question and it depends on the time of the year and whether you can water or not.
Chickens love to scratch, it’s their natural instincts at work and without much in the way of brains they can be very persistent.
So how do the seasons affect us with chickens? It depends on some factors such as the type of grass that you have and the level of care you give the lawn throughout the year. Some grasses such as Kikuyu go dormant in winter, couch grasses tend to lovely when looked after but get thin quickly if not cared for and chickens can make giant holes very quickly in any bare patch. So tough grasses are the Buffalo types like Sir Walter, the runners are very thick and chickens can’t peck through them like they can with Couch Grasses, when watered and fertilised Buffalo grasses can hold their own even in winter. If you have Kikuyu it goes dormant and can look really ragged in winter after the chickens have pecked it, on the bright side Kikuyu will pick up as soon as the weather warms up and it gets some water.
You are going to need to water and fertilise regularly to keep grass alive with chickens, every 3 months if you have a slow release fertiliser and keep the water up because with the increased growth rate provided by the fertiliser you need a corresponding increase in watering. If you are worried about the chickens eating the fertiliser just lock them away for a couple of days although I’ve never seen my chickens try to eat it.
The seasons affect your grasses growth rate of course and this means that any time the growth rate slows down you need to on the look out for any patches that are getting a bit bare, these are the places the chickens are going to scratch at and then dig a hole. If your chickens manage to dig a hole you need to fill it in straight away and cover it with chicken wire or metal mesh to stop them attacking it again and again and again. I have even used milk crates to stop them digging and allow the grass to grow over it again.
What other things do you need to consider? I would say that you need to make sure there is an area with bare earth for them to dig and have the dust bath they need to keep parasites down. Never ever sprinkle chicken food on ground, this is guaranteed to get them to scratch the whole area looking for that 1 seed that dropped out of sight, yes I made that mistake and had to use the milk crate until they stopped obsessing over that spot.
Like I said I love our chickens but they are not all that bright which makes them obsessive and hard to stop when they do the wrong thing.
Enjoy your lawns and your chickens.
See Ya.

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