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Chicken Yard Project: Grazing Beds

Last time I showed you our new compost bin, this time I'll show you the grazing beds. Grazing beds are an excellent way to provide fresh greens to confined chickens. These are simply frames covered with heavy-duty chicken wire. Seed is planted in the beds and after it grows the chickens eat the fresh greens through the wire. The wire prevents them from overgrazing the bed or scratching up the grass and killing it.

New grazing beds where the old compost bin used to be.

Dan made a couple of these previously, and found that the 2-foot by 8-foot size easiest to manage. We already had two, so he made four more.

He planted wheat and oat seed in the beds. Both grow quickly and the chickens love the grass. Lettuce or herbs can be planted in the beds too; anything chickens love to graze.

One week later.

When the grass wears out the frames are moved to a new planting spot and the chickens enjoy scratching up what's left. By rotating planting, we should be able to keep a steady supply of fresh grazing for them.

Ready to graze.

Some people keep the beds fenced until the grass grows about 4 to 6 inches above the wire and then let their chickens in. That's an extra step we haven't gotten around to.

The chickens get their fresh greens without leaving the yard.

Dan plans to build a few more from time to time. We'd like to see the entire chicken yard filled with these eventually. The idea will be to rotate planting to keep a fresh supply of grass at all times. The chickens are happier and Dan is too. He hates seeing the ground so bear in their yard. Maybe someday we can let them out to pasture again, but for now, this works very well.

The last subgoal on the chicken yard project list is a duck house. That's in the works now, although several other things have pushed their way to the top of the to-do list. I'll show you the duck house as soon as it's done. Next time, I'll share the plan we've come up with for my solar backup project for the fridge and freezer in my pantry.


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