How do you give chickens access to fresh grass when they destroy it so quickly?
Anyone who has experienced farm fresh eggs knows the taste can be unbelievable. Rich yellow color, intense flavor. A taste sensation not to be missed.
Part of the difference in flavor between fresh eggs and those sold in supermarkets is diet. Factory raised chickens simply can’t get the same access to fresh food that home raised chickens can. One meal item free range chickens have that factory birds do not is access to fresh grass. When it is available, chickens love fresh grass.
And that is the problem. When it comes to grass, chickens are voracious and can be very destructive. Left to their own devices, chickens will quickly turn the heartiest lawn into a dusty dirt pile in a matter of days.
So how do you supply chickens with a continuous supply of fresh grass when they are continually destroying it?
The answer that many home chicken raisers have turned to is a “Grazing Frame.”
A grazing frame is simply a wooden frame covered with wire mesh. The grass grows up through the mesh for the chickens to eat without giving them access to the ground. The grazing frame works because the principal way chickens destroy lawns is by scratching the ground. Keep their claws off the ground, and the damage they inflict is much less.
This is another instance where salvage materials are very appropriate. The grazing rack shown was made out of salvaged pallets, salvage paint and a sturdy wire animal enclosure I found at the dump. To build it I simply screwed together the frame, painted it, unfolded the wire mesh and stapled it to the frame.
It turns out the 2×4 rails on a standard pallet are about perfect for raising the wire mesh off the ground far enough to let the chickens graze without destroying the grass roots.
This is a really simple project. It doesn’t require precision or outrageous amounts of skill with tools so it is a perfect activity for kids.
Best of all, it meets my criteria for a good tinkering project: Simple to construct, low cost materials, and happy chickens! Win, win, win!