If you’re raising backyard chickens, then you know all too well that they can be a big nuisance when it comes to your lawn.
Chickens are foragers, they will eat any and everything they can find and will scratch around destroying plants and grass in the process!
This can be a huge problem, especially if you are trying to keep your lawn looking nice.
In this article, I’m covering some tips on how to stop chickens from destroying your grass!
How to Stop Chickens Destroying Grass – 4 Tips!
I have to give you a disclaimer off the top; it’s not easy to stop chickens from foraging and scratching around damaging grass as it comes naturally to them.
That said, you can certainly take steps to make them less likely to damage your lawn, or at least cause less damage!
Here are some tips to consider:
Fence off the Chicken Run
The easiest way to keep chickens from destroying your grass is by not letting them have access to the areas you want to keep in good condition!
If you don’t already have a separate run area, you should invest in one. Runs provide enough space for chickens to do everything they need while containing them – and their damage.
Provide a Good Diet
A well-balanced diet is important for keeping chickens healthy and it will also help reduce the amount of scratching they do.
Make sure you’re giving them the most age-appropriate feed. Chickens have specific dietary requirements and need a balance of protein and other important minerals.
If they’re not getting their dietary needs met, it can encourage them to scratch around harder looking for insects, seeds, and other things to eat.
Create an Area Designed for Scratching
If you can’t or don’t want to fence off the chicken run, then another option is to give your chickens an area to scratch around in.
I have a friend who has done this, he’s essentially created a large sandpit where he provides scraps for his chickens to eat.
You can use sand, straw, or loose dirt, and you’ll find that chickens enjoy this much more than well-kept grass.
Provide Dust Bathing Areas
One of the main causes of damage is when chickens create dust baths to roll around in.
That’s right, chickens roll around in the dirt to get ‘clean’. They create shallow holes and scratch up loose dirt to run through their feathers.
If you can provide a dust bath in an area you’re happy for them to destroy, this should stop them from digging up holes elsewhere in your yard.
By following these tips, I’m confident you can help reduce the amount of damage your chickens are doing to your lawn.
If you’re allowing your chickens to free-range without boundaries, it’s not going to be a perfect solution – but it will help!
Why Do My Chickens Keep Digging Holes in My Yard?
So, now you know how to stop chickens from destroying grass – but why do they do it in the first place?
There could be a few reasons:
- They’re looking for food. Chickens are natural foragers and will scratch around until they find something to eat.
- They’re trying to create a dust bath. As I mentioned before, chickens love to roll around in the dirt to get clean. If you can provide them with a designated dust bath area, this should help reduce the amount of damage they do elsewhere.
- They’re nesting. Sometimes chickens will start digging holes when they’re getting ready to lay eggs. If this is the case, making sure they have a designated nesting box should take care of the problem.
I could watch chickens going about their day for hours – and often I do – observing chickens provides an insight into what they do with their days.
It really resolves around foraging for food, picking up bits of debris, checking them and throwing them back, and so on.
How Much Space Do Chickens Need?
Chickens need a lot of space to roam around in order to be happy and healthy. It’s really a case of the more space the better.
If you’re keeping them in a coop, they’ll need at least four square feet per bird.
If you’re letting them free-range, they’ll need even more space. As a general rule, you should allow at least ten square feet per chicken.
Giving chickens more space to roam will also help reduce the amount of damage they do to your lawn, at least in concentrated spots.
If you’ve decided to raise backyard chickens and you’ve opened up your yard to them, you have to expect chickens to be chickens.
That means they’re going to scratch around – some damage is unavoidable unless you fence off areas.
That said, there is a lot you can do to limit the damage chickens cause, as I covered above.
What I will end by saying is; the fun and rewards of raising chickens far outweigh the cons and a bit of damage here and there!
Even if it may not feel like it when you’ve just discovered they’ve uprooted your prized flowerbed, dug some holes in the middle of your lawn, and eaten patches of grass!
Image credits – Photo by Dani Millington on Unsplash