Hardy fast growing ground cover safe for chicken?
June 17, 2014 11:49 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for hardy fast growing ground cover suggestions that are chicken friendly

I'm raising 4 chicken in 20x10 area. I'm thinking of using the paddock system where they can forage all they want on one side of the area while the other side recuperates. I'm looking for ground cover ideas where this might possibly work.

1. Hardy and fast growing.
2. No maintenance (watering or re-seeding).
3. Chicken friendly - they will like eating them and are not toxic.
(Creeping buttercup rules the area right now. They fit #1 and 2 - I just can't kill them no matter what I do. They are however slightly toxic).

I'm in pacific northwest hardiness zone 8a. The ground is clay and does not have good drainage. It gets 4-5 hours of morning sun.

I was thinking of mint, clover and creeping thyme. When I suggested that to my local master gardener however, she looked at me like I just suggested sacrificing newborn babies. Note: I realize a lot of the ground covers will spread like weed. I do not particularly mind my lawn being taken over as long as they are not too tall (preferably shorter than 18 inches) and pleasing to look at.

Appreciate any suggestions you can give me.
posted by 7life to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Chickweed! It's not the sturdiest ground cover, but fits all your other requirements. It's also delicious for human consumption.
posted by O9scar at 12:00 PM on June 17, 2014

I was thinking dichondra. I think it's pretty. We had Dichondra in the San Francisco Bay area, so it should do well near you (check and see.)
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:08 PM on June 17, 2014

Best answer: Building a frame that the vegetation can grow through but protecting the roots from constant scratching is something that may work for you. Image

I would also suggest clover and possibly Sudan grass. Chickens aren't overly fond of mint in my experience but YCMV. The strong scent and flavor of table herbs is usually intended to deter grazing which is the opposite of what you are looking for here.

Also alphalpha
posted by The Violet Cypher at 12:30 PM on June 17, 2014

My chickens will not eat mint or thyme. They scratch all around it, but won't eat it at all. I'm a huge fan of the salad bar method that The Violet Cypher mentions above if all you're looking for is a way of your chickens getting fresh greenery.
posted by Sophie1 at 1:00 PM on June 17, 2014

Best answer: Damnit. And now I remember, Peaceful Valley has a great forage blend just for chickens.
posted by Sophie1 at 1:01 PM on June 17, 2014

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