We’re here to help! Wild Yards is a completely free website that is 100% dedicated to helping you create a wildlife-friendly, sustainable yard. Read more
Owning chickens comes with a long list of benefits, including plentiful eggs, insect control, and friendly faces to see every day! However, when looking after backyard chickens, some people are a little wary about how they might affect their environments. Do chickens damage lawns, for example?
Yes – chickens can damage lawns – and can do so very quickly. There are multiple reasons for why and how they damage grassy areas, however, reducing your chickens’ chances of damaging your lawn is surprisingly easy.
Are you thinking about keeping backyard chickens for the first time? Here’s what to know about protecting your lawn and any patches of grass they might wander across.
How do chickens damage lawns?
In many ways, chickens can be great for your garden, as they can help to rip up the weeds, reduce the pest population, help to aerate the soil as they peck at the ground, and scratch as they look for food. However, if they reside on the same lawn for too long, they are bound to cause some damage.
Of course, it’s healthy for chickens to want to peck at grass and soil – it’s where they’ll find natural sources of food! Certainly, compared to the long list of foods chickens should never eat, leaving them on your lawn isn’t going to harm them. However, your poor grass is going to take the hit.
By residing on the same patch of grass for long periods, any chickens are bound to eat and scratch at the same verdant spot until there is nothing left. Of course, this can be helped simply by feeding the brood a little more grain, but even then, it’s tricky to stop a curious chicken from wandering back onto the grass!
Therefore, it stands to reason that simply preventing bad behavior is a great start. That said, this is easier said than done – and if you’re keeping free range chickens within your backyard, then you’ll likely want to know how to stop them from spoiling your grass.
How do I prevent my chickens from damaging my lawn?
Make a dedicated area for your chickens
No matter your garden’s size, it is always a good idea to dedicate a closed area for your chickens. Not only will this help to protect them from predators, but it will also help to safeguard your lawn area. What’s more, if you’re worried about your chickens’ roaming tendencies, it’s normally a good idea to curtail them (healthily).
Ensure that the space offers enough room for all of your chickens to roam around in. It is always wise to set up some form of shelter and provide easy access for you to retrieve eggs, give them their grains, water, etc. Occasionally, as a treat, and for regular maintenance, you can let the chickens out on the lawn for a few hours before returning them to their cage.
Move your chickens around
If you are concerned about your hens destroying even a small, single patch of grass, then move the coop around or even give your chickens access to a bigger plot elsewhere. The bigger the land, the longer it will take for them to peck it to dust!
By moving the coop around, you stand a good chance of keeping your lawn and grass at an even level all around. Of course, moving the coop isn’t an easy solution, meaning it’s best to have someone on hand who can help you.
Let your grass grow
As odd as it may seem, it might be best to avoid cutting your grass too regularly. As chicken poop is rich in nitrogen, your grass will be more prone to drying out and dying off altogether. Letting it grow for longer can allow grass to become stronger and will therefore be easier to maintain!
In fact, if you’ve ever considered rewilding your lawn before, you might take this opportunity to start from scratch – and keep your chickens in check, too!
Avoid chemicals and artificial support
If you’re going to do anything to recover your lawn from a chicken attack, the last thing you should do is apply chemicals that could harm your grass or surrounding plants. While there may be some solutions out there that are great for regrowing lawns from scratch, not all are chicken-friendly – and beyond this, they might even harm the insect population, thus damaging the local ecosystem and biodiversity.
If you genuinely care about the world around you, avoid chemicals, period – your animals would thank you if they could!
As you can see, there are plenty of ways of keeping your lawn safe while also maintaining your chicken’s health and happiness. It will take some time and hard work to maintain a lawn around chickens in your backyard – however, it is work worth getting into!
What’s more, by using these simple tricks, your chickens will actually help to maintain your lawn, rather than damage it! Hens are hugely rewarding, but there has to be a careful balance when it comes to protecting your lawn.