This past winter our yard, which is frequented by dogs and pastured poultry, turned to a muddy mess. We're looking for a ground cover, probably grass, to try to keep it a bit cleaner. We're also at high altitude (5000 ft), in a dry climate, and temperate (5B).

Our primary goal is just something that will withstand the relatively rough conditions rather than asthetics. It like looks like most drought tolerant grasses (buffalo, blue grama) suffer under heavy traffic but heavy traffic grasses (Kentucky bluegrass) can't handle the climate.

What groundcover/grass is best for this situation?

  • 2
    In my experience, If the poultry are not kept off each section of pasture for long enough for it to re-grow, dirt is what you'll have. You need to limit grazing time with fencing. And given little if any re-growth in winter, put them in one you don't mind being bare dirt in spring, or in a closed coop/barn. Start time-limited pasturing after growth starts in the spring.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 1:53
  • And in my experience, any grass which has dogs on it in winter will also look like a mud patch with the odd blade of grass sticking up here and there, and creates a need for reseeding and repairing in spring/early summer. The solution is properly laid artificial turf, but I'm not sure that would work for poultry.
    – Bamboo
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 11:46

1 Answer 1


Honestly, clover might be a good solution. It generally doesn't need fertilized because it pulls nitrogen from the air. It's drought resistant, fairly traffic resistant, chickens eat it, grows fast, will spread like into dry spots and if purposefully planted can out compete other problem weeds. Like Bamboo said, you'll have empty spots no matter what, after winter, but you shouldn't have as many problems getting clover to take as you would grass or sod alone.

If you want to mow less, you can also look into various breeds of micro-clover who's seeds are regularly sold as a more suburban ground cover. You typically mix micro-clover with another appropriate grass.

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