With raging debate over cage vs. free range eggs and the price of a dozen eggs rising all the time it’s no wonder that many South East Queensland families are turning to having chickens of their own. Easy to look after, fresh eggs and great pets; what’s not to love? But it begs the question; is having chickens and having lush and green lawn mutually exclusive concepts?
Chickens love to forage! They will scratch and dig but as a rule they don’t tend to shred turf. If you have a dense lawn with no bare patches then you should have no problem at all; they will just wander around eating bugs, seeds and graze a little on the lawn. Chickens will aerate the soil as they peck while also eating weeds, leaves and fresh grass clippings (don’t allow this if you have recently applied a lawn pest control treatment or weed killer).
Having chickens in your backyard may even reduce the need for fertilising and weed treatments. Their droppings are higher in potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus than any other type of manure and saves buying it from the local nursery. Your feathered friends will dine on insects and bugs in the lawn too!
Chickens do love a dust bath! Love them! For this reason they will try and get into garden beds or dig out underneath a shrub. If this concerns you then you can always fence off garden beds (recommended that you do fence off your vegie patch or very, very quickly there will only be eggs for your table). Try putting out a kitty litter tray filled with coarse sand; this should fulfill their dust baths needs quite nicely.
If you do have an area of lawn that is struggling and some bare patches exist you can put down some weldmesh flat on the ground. This will stop the chickens from digging there until the turf has time to establish or repair. It will also keep the dog off.
With an established lawn chickens shouldn’t cause any damage and may in fact enhance your backyard. If you have newly laid turf or are considering doing so then perhaps put off getting the hens until the lawn is fully established and then get some and let them be free range.
If you have any questions regarding your lawn in South East Queensland get in touch with the team at Daleys Turf. We provide a wealth of experience, information, support and lawn care products.