build a grazing box for your hens

Build A Grazing Box For Healthier Backyard Chickens (Detailed Instructions!)

If you’re looking for a surefire way to keep your flock from getting the stuck-in-the-coop blues, build a grazing box for your chickens.

 

And the best part? Building a grazing box for your chickens won’t cost you a ton of money!

 

You might already know your chickens need boredom busters so they don’t start fighting and picking at each other’s feathers.

 

Building your chickens a grazing box for herbs and healthy greens will help reduce unnecessary stress in your flock, and give them a healthy, constructive hobby – and you’ll get healthier eggs too!

 

The main benefit of a grazing box is that as the herbs and greens grow through the hardware cloth, your chickens can eat them, but can’t devastate them or scratch them up by the roots.

 

For just a few minutes of work on your part, your chickens will be rewarded with a healthy, fresh treat again and again.

 

Here’s how to build a grazing box for your flock for under $15!

 

Build a grazing box for your chickens

 

What you’ll need:

  • One 2x6x10 heat-treated board, cut into four 2’6” pieces
  • ½-inch or 1-inch hardware cloth (at least 2’6” by 2’6”)
  • Staples or finishing nails
  • Eight 4” wood screws
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Stapler (if using staples)
  • Wire cutters
  • Seeds for herbs and greens, or starts if you have them
  • Good soil or composted manure


Our Costs (yours might vary):

  • Wood: $4.89
  • Hardware cloth: $5.97 for 36”x10’
  • Screws: Leftover from a previous project
  • Finishing nails: $0.99 from a dollar store

 

How To Build A Grazing Box For Your Chickens

 

This project easily scales, so if you have a lot of chickens and you want a larger box, you can easily make your design larger or smaller as needed.

 

For a flock of 5-10 chickens, the size of the box in this article works very well.

 

Cut the wood into four pieces, each 2’6” long and screw them together.

 

It’s important to use heat treated wood that hasn’t been exposed to chemicals so your chickens stay safe while snacking on their treats.

 

We purchased new wood for this project from a trusted source, costing us less than $5 at a local lumber yard.

 

Using a circular saw or a handsaw, cut the wood into four separate pieces, each 2’6” long.

 

Screw the pieces together to form the box. We used 4-inch wood screws for this project to make sure the pieces were secured together, and we could move it around without danger of it falling apart.

 

While it might be tempting to use a thinner piece of wood, the box won’t be as sturdy, so I recommend sticking with the 2x6s.

 

Add the hardware cloth

 

build a grazing box for your chickens

 

Decide whether you’ll use staples or nails to attach the hardware cloth to the box.

 

We used finishing nails because we already had them on the farm and they’re easy to bend, but staples work just as well. Just make sure the hardware cloth is secure to protect the growing herbs and greens.

 

Both finishing nails and staples withstand chickens well.

 

Cut the hardware cloth so there’s only a slight overhang. Be sure to tamp down the edges of the hardware cloth with the hammer so there’s no chance one of your chickens won’t get cut on a sharp edge.

 

Identify where you’ll place it in the coop

 

Ideally, you will choose where you’ll keep the grazing box in your coop before building, which will give you a good idea of how big to make it.

 

But if you’re like me, and tend to just make stuff before figuring out where to put it, then now is the time to measure out a 2’6” by 2’6” square in your coop so your chickens can easily access it.

 

Make sure you choose an area that drains well and doesn’t flood. It should also be near a water source, or otherwise be an easy place to water.

 

Before putting the grazing box in the coop, first amend the area where you plan to keep it to make sure you can actually grow greens or herbs there.

 

Add a good quality topsoil or composted manure to the area, then plant your seeds or starts. Top with the grazing box, making sure the hardware cloth is facing up.

 

It will take a few weeks before the greens are large enough to eat, but when they are, your hens will get a treat!

 

I recommend finding something to cover the grazing box with as the seeds sprout and grow.

 

As we all know, chickens like to poop…and they’ll poop all over your grazing box as the grass is growing. So, it’s necessary to protect it with a clear cover; a large piece of plastic is a good option.

 

What to grow in your grazing box

 

Now that we’ve built the grazing box for your chickens, you might wonder what’s best to grow in it.

 

Here’s some options your chickens will love:

 

Alfalfa grass – high in protein

Oregano – supports a healthy environment

Sage – natural dewormer

Calendula – Flowers have lots of beta carotine, supports healthy yolks

Parsley – source of many essential vitamins

Garlic (for leaves/scapes) – supports a healthy immune system

Wheat grass – great source of protein, vitamins

Barley grass – great source of protein, vitamins

Kale/Mustard/Other greens – great source of protein, essential vitamins

 

Grab my free cheat sheet about 7 herbs you can start feeding your chickens today and in just 10 minutes, you’ll have healthier hens at TheFrugalChicken.com/ChickenHerbs

I’d like to hear from you!

Do you think you’ll build a grazing box for your chickens? Leave a comment below!

 

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Maat

Maat

Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of "Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock," and the creator of the online courses Feeding Your Hens Right, Healthy Coop Boot Camp, and The Homestead Advantage. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside. So am I. Welcome to FrugalChicken. Whether you’re a seasoned homesteader, an urban farmer, or an apartment-dweller, I’m here to answer your questions, share my life with you, and learn from your experiences.

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