Is grass good for chickens? Absolutely, yes, grass is great for chickens.
Chickens that have the freedom to roam as free range chicks and graze on grass are healthier and produce better eggs.
Eating grass is one of the main reasons for this, here are some of the reasons why grass is good for your chickens:
- It's Packed With Good Nutritional Content
- You'll Spend Less on Feed
- Foraging Is Good for Chickens
- Eggs From Free Range Grass Fed Chickens Taste Better
- Why Do Chickens Eat the Top of Grass?
- Should You Feed Your Chickens Lawn Clippings?
- Is Grass Seed Harmful to Chickens?
- In Summary - Is Grass Good for Chickens?
It's Packed With Good Nutritional Content
It’s no coincidence that a lot of animals such as sheep, pigs, and cows eat a lot of grass. It’s packed with loads of good nutrition animals need as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
The exact content of grass depends on the type of grass and how well-nourished it is. As a general rule, however, grass is rich in elements like calcium, selenium, and iron. As well as a wide range of minerals and vitamins.
You'll Spend Less on Feed
Anytime you can save a few pennies while still providing top-notch nutrition for your chickens, it’s a bonus.
Grass is able to provide around a quarter of a chicken’s daily nutritional requirements. So, not only does eating grass do them a world of good, the more they eat, the less feed they’ll need.
Basically, free range chickens are supplementing their diet with the kinds of food wild chickens would be feeding on naturally. So, it makes sense that it’s so good for them.
Grass is rich in vitamins such as E and C, contains iron, and is high in protein (source). All the good stuff that’s also found in feed, yet it’s readily available and keeps on growing all around us.
And best of all, it’s free for the most part!
Foraging Is Good for Chickens
Chickens love to forage, so letting them loose in a chicken run or area that has grass is going to make them happier and healthier.
They’ll also find some other tasty treats that are good for them while foraging. Such as worms, grasshoppers, flies, spiders, and all kinds of other six or eight-legged creepy crawlies.
And as we all know, a happy chicken is a healthy chicken and vice versa. One of the issues with battery hens is that they’re not able to do what chickens want to do naturally do - roam free and forage.
As a backyard chicken keeper, obviously, I’m firmly against keeping chickens in cages. There’s enough evidence to prove that it’s cruel and bad for their health, and the quality of their eggs too.
Eggs From Free Range Grass Fed Chickens Taste Better
If you keep chickens, you want the eggs they lay to be the best they can, right?
Chickens that are able to roam and graze on grass produce better tasting, bigger eggs. That’s just a fact.
I’ve tasted eggs from a supermarket that came from caged chickens and free range eggs. I know there’s a huge difference. You can even see it by looking at the eggs. Free range eggs have tougher shells, the yolks are a darker yellow and two types of white.
Related content - How to get chickens lay bigger eggs
Why Do Chickens Eat the Top of Grass?
If you observe your chickens helping themselves to grass you’ll notice they tend to peck at the top of the grass and don’t eat all the way down to the base.
I’ve read that this is because chickens know they will damage the grass and potentially limit how much grows back if they uproot the grass. Pretty clever, but it makes perfect sense from an evolutionary perspective.
The good thing about this is that you don’t need to worry about chickens doing much damage to your lawn. Depending on how large your flock is and how much they’re eating, you’ll need to do some lawn care - but not much.
Should You Feed Your Chickens Lawn Clippings?
I know what you’re thinking, you can solve two problems at once by throwing your lawn clippings to your chooks after mowing the lawn. Unfortunately, you shouldn’t do this.
As I mentioned above, chickens love nibbling and pecking the top off of the blades of grass. They don’t want large pieces thrown into their coop or feeding box.
If you want to bring the grass to them then take some time to trim the tops off the grass in finely cut small pieces. Give them a little at a time, if they eat it all up then give them a little more the next time.
Is Grass Seed Harmful to Chickens?
If you have embraced the free range lifestyle and are enjoying seeing your chicks roam around eating your grass, the next question is whether or not you can plant more seed to replenish your lawn.
The good news is that grass seed isn’t harmful to chickens. At least, not in small amounts. Anything they shouldn’t strictly be eating can become problematic in large amounts, so I wouldn’t let them stick the head in the bag.
That leads me onto the bad news. Chickens will eat grass seed and destroy grass as it’s growing if you let them roam on the parts of your lawn you’re trying to grow.
Until the grass is fully grown and able to survive being pecked at and trimmed by hungry chickens it needs to be protected. You can try and spread a 1-inch layer of mulch over the seeds, which I’ve heard works.
Or, if you want to er on the side of caution and know the grass will grow, restrict the access your chickies have.
In Summary - Is Grass Good for Chickens?
Grass is good for chickens, yes.
Chooks that are allowed to forage and graze on grass are generally healthier, happier, and produce better eggs.
There are some things to be aware of, however. You do need to make sure that the grass they’re eating is good quality, free from pesticides, and well looked after.
Grass shouldn’t make up more than a quarter of their total diet. It’s a supplement to their diet, not a staple. Make sure they’re getting plenty of quality formulated feed, as well as some variation from fruits and veggies too.