Chickens can have ‘egg-ceptional’ benefits for certain aspects of your lawn and garden; chickens love to eat beetle larvae and lots of other pesky pests that can damage your plants, and at the same time produce a nutrient-rich, free organic-fertiliser. You may be a part of the growing trend of backyard chicken owners. Unfortunately, your adorable little egg producers have a tendency to find soft spots in your lawn, dig holes, and take dust baths, potentially making your backyard lawn look like a crater-filled ‘moonscape’. There are a few options you can look at when it comes to ‘chicken-proofing’ your lawn and garden areas:
Let’s face it; every now and then there comes a failed backyard experiment – the rabbits, guinea pigs – even the Bali-inspired water-feature. If you aren’t keen on that line there are a number of pet adoption agencies that will take the offending beasts off your hands – or else if you setting-up for your backyard chicken project, there are a number of battery-hen rehoming services available to help you get started – search online for contacts in each state. If you’ve resigned yourself to a backyard with chickens read on for a few hints to help save your lawn . . .
As punishment for destroying your lawn, set up an enclosure that won’t allow access by your fowl fiends to your lawn and garden. This can be done by simply fencing off areas you don’t want your chickens to get into or else a large coup that will protect your chickens yet give them enough area to scratch and make a mess without bothering your garden and lawn areas.
If you would prefer giving your chickens a more free-range lifestyle, you can place temporary wire cages over areas you have recently planted; especially ripened fruits and vegetables, to protect them from chicken attacks.
Worried about your chickens digging up your lawn and garden? Try putting out a kitty litter box or similar filled with coarse sand, this should help ‘scratch’ your chickens’ ‘itch’ for a dust bath!
Lawn tractors, or ‘chicken mowers’, allow the chickens to have access to your lawn, under your control. This is a favoured compromise of many happy backyard chickens and their owners. A lawn tractor is simply a portable pen, usually with wire along the bottom, preventing chickens from digging up your lawn, and constantly provides your chickens with a fresh supply of grass. Simply move around the yard every couple of days – fresh grass and fresh fertiliser.
If your lawn is dense with no bald spots, your chickens and your lawn may very well live together in harmony. Chickens will aerate the soil as they peck and scratch while at the same time eating leaves, weeds, bugs and grass clippings. If you do have some struggling areas in your lawn, you can place down some wire mesh flat on the ground. The mesh will prevent the chickens from digging in that area until the lawn has repaired. Choosing the right lawn-type is also one of the most important things to consider and depending on your location your local Lawn Solutions Australia turfgrower or Lawn Solutions Centre will be able to give some specialised advice based on your particular location and circumstances. Lawncare doesn’t need to be difficult and simple hints from Lawn Solutions Australia and their network of member turf growers and Lawn Solutions Centres Australia-wide can help with products to keep your lawn in top condition this summer.