Lawn Safety That’s Good for Chickens
Chickens and lawns are a good mix, only if your lawn is organically maintained and your chickens are well-managed with it. Organically maintained means your lawn is not chemically fertilized and chemical weed killers or pesticides are not used. There are no leaky spots of oil or gasoline around either.
Traditional lawns need regular water, and your chickens should not be allowed to free-range on a lawn still wet from irrigation.
The Silkie chicken breed can get wet and cold easily from the very nature of their fluffy silk plumage, which can’t deflect moisture as well as feathers of other chicken breeds.
Due to risk of illness, it is never a good idea to free-range chickens in damp areas and expose their feet to wet prolonged periods of time such as a wet lawn.
Chickens are beneficial to an organic lawn by mowing it with their grazing ability, eating any insects and worms in the lawn, and leaving their manure as a precious fertilizer.
There has to be a balance between the size of your lawn and the size of your chicken flock. Too many chickens grazing on a lawn can create over-grazing bare spots, and dipping below a healthy grass level of 2 inches, for grass to grow and replenish itself. Chickens can free-range randomly over a lawn, or you can incorporate the mobile chicken tractor method with targeted grazing areas.
If a lawn is too big, and simply not practical for your flock of chickens to graze and keep it ascetically appealing, an alternative is to mow your lawn, and put your grass clippings in your compost pile. See Chapter 1, for more information on the value of composting.
Chickens prefer a grazing height of 3″ to 5″, which means keeping your lawn height adjusted a little higher than normal. Consider using an environmental-friendly grass that requires less watering, grows longer, needs less mowing, and can take shade.