Grass Seed for Poultry

It has been a sunny bank holiday weekend (for a change) and I have been re-seeding part of my poultry run with a special grass seed for poultry called ‘diverse poultry mix’.

I used to think that grass was just, well, “grass”, but after talking to a farming friend about the mud in my poultry runs last winter, he told me that in fact there are many different grass seeds available that are suited to different things and that some grasses such as Rye grass were hard wearing and might be a better option for me.

grass
The current ‘grass’ I have is sparse and has a mixture of weeds. This quickly turns to mud in winter.

By chance, an email from an ex-commercial hen re-homing organisation, asking me whether I had heard of a grass seed for poultry, started the ball rolling and a few clicks of the mouse later, I had found the grass seed store who were selling ‘Diverse Poultry Mix’ grass seed that was created specifically for poultry to graze and (guess what) also contained Rye grass to make it hard wearing.

In fact, it contains a whole host of hard wearing grasses, along with legumes and deep rooting herbs to increase the potential intake of protein, minerals and nutrients.

Being a diverse mixture, it also attracts a higher number of invertebrates for chickens to consume, so as well as this leafy green goodness, it is also helping me attract another natural food source for my birds too.

Here is how the grass seed mix is made up:

35% AZIMUTH certified Turf Perennial Ryegrass
20% GONDOLIN certified Strong Fescue
20% RIDU certified Hard Fescue
15% EXCELLENCE certified Chewings Fescue
2% FEE certified Lucerne
2% BULL certified Birdsfoot Trefoil
2% HUIA certified White Clover
2% ALTASWEDE certified Red Clover
0.8% BURNET Forage Herb
0.4% CHICORY Forage Herb
0.4% PARSLEY Forage Herb
0.2% RIBGRASS Forage Herb
0.2% YARROW Forage Herb

As you can see, there is quite a selection there, so it’s not just ‘grass’ as I used to think!

Ground preparation

I decided to sow the grass for poultry in a strip within one of my runs that was the muddiest last winter. We are on clay soil here and the ‘grass’ we have is very sparse and contains many weeds so it was badly in need of doing. I plan to sow more seed in September since my runs are all in use at this time of year so only half of the seed was used.

It took two of almost a day to prepare the ground since it is fairly dry and very compacted at the moment. Its times like this you wish you had a small tractor and a plough!

Thankfully I had some help from a friend, so we took it in turns on the 40 or so year old rotavator.

preparing the ground for grass seed

We didn’t spray the old grass to kill it because I garden organically, so any weeds that re-root will need to be removed by hand as they grow which is a bit of a pain but worthwhile I feel.

Once the ground was turned over, we raked it, trying to break up the big lumps. This is certainly good exercise and neither my friend nor I have Gym memberships so we thought of the money we were saving!

The poultry seed mixture

We added the poultry grass seed to a half a wheelbarrow of sand. The idea was to ensure we could see where it was scattered, spreading it evenly.

poultry grass seed mix
The grass seed was mixed into sand to help spread it evenly and for us to see where we had scattered it.

Once mixed with the sand, it was scattered across the area we had prepared. Excuse my scruffy jeans, I’ve recently been creosoting the fence you see in the background.

sowing poultry grass seed
The grass seed mixture was scattered over the area. No, this isn’t my dancing as some friends suggested.

The finishing touch

poultry grass seed

To finish off, we scattered more sand over the top of the seed, raked the area over again with the rake and watered the seed to start germination.

The extra sand helps to cover the seed over but also helps to improve our very heavy clay soil we have here.

I will post some photos of the area as the seed germinates. Fingers crossed we’ll have a little rain which will help things along.

Do you have grass in your poultry run or has it turned to mud? I’d be interested to hear what you think of this grass seed for poultry in the comments below!

 

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Tim Daniels

Tim is the founder of the poultrykeeper website and lives in Herefordshire, UK. He keeps Cream Legbar chickens, Silver Sebright bantams and hybrid layers for eggs, Abacot Ranger ducks, Brecon Buff geese and some quail.

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