Chickens can handle the harsh conditions of a farm or a home coop with ease. Many people do believe that chickens can’t be healthy or happy unless they have access to grass, yet there is mounting evidence suggesting the contrary. Here, we’ll examine the pros and cons of feeding chickens grass so you can make an informed decision about what’s best for your hens.
Pros of feeding chickens grass
Keeping chickens on grass has many advantages, such as:
Improved Dietary Habits
Chickens get the high-quality feed they need from grass, which is full of nutrients. Chickens are able to get all the nutrients they require on a diet of bugs and greens. Additionally, chickens benefit from the grit that is found in grass, which aids with digestion.
Gains in Physical Fitness
Chickens are more likely to exhibit their natural behaviors, including scratching & pecking, when they are allowed to roam freely on grass. This helps to maintain their muscle mass and joint health, lowering their vulnerability to illness and injury. Chickens that spend time in the sun & fresh air benefit from a strengthened immune system and fewer respiratory issues.
Improved Emotional Well-Being
Chickens are flock animals who thrive in a community. Giving them access to open grassy areas promotes socialization, bonding, and the practice of natural activities like dust bathing. They may find that their stress levels and general health improve as a result of this.
Elevated Number of Eggs Laid
It’s common for chickens that are allowed access to grass to lay more eggs each day than their coop-bound counterparts. Their diet of grass and insects provides them with the high-quality nutrients they need to lay eggs. In addition to enhancing a hen’s health and productivity in the egg industry, time spent outdoors in the sun and fresh air helps regulate its circadian clock.
Cons of Feeding Chickens Grass
There are numerous advantages to raising hens on grass, but there are also some negatives to think about.
Parasite and disease risk rises
Chickens are free to roam on grass and are at risk of contracting a wide range of parasites and diseases. These can range from harmless parasites like lice and mites to potentially deadly ones like avian flu. Parasite control solutions and a clean, sanitary housing environment should be used on a regular basis to protect chickens against disease.
Many predators, such as foxes, raccoons, & birds of prey, enjoy eating chickens. When kept on grass instead of a safe coop, they are more susceptible to predators. A safe enclosure and attentive supervision of your birds outside are necessities for their protection.
The devastation to the Environment
Digging and scratching by chickens can do serious damage to gardens, lawns, as well as other manicured areas. Overgrazing and soil deterioration can occur if chickens are allowed unrestricted access to the same patch of grass day in and day out.
More frequent upkeep is needed
Unlike coop-based chicken care, tending to chickens on grass takes more time & attention. Maintenance includes checking for parasites and diseases and providing fresh water and food on a consistent basis.
However, before deciding to raise your chickens on grass exclusively, you need to consider the advantages and downsides. It all comes down to the chicken keeper’s unique situation and priorities.
The primary consideration when raising hens is providing them with a clean, dry, and warm place to sleep and eat, whether they are kept on grass or in a coop. This entails having access to wholesome nourishment and hydration, adequate airflow, and a sufficient area in which to live and work.