Can I grow flowers and own chickens? They eat everything! Any ideas?

Nutty4Chickens

In the Brooder
11 Years
Mar 27, 2008
19
0
22
Pennsylvania
Last June we got 6 chicks, by the time they were old enough to peck around the yard, most of my flowers and garden plants were finished for the season, so I didn't care if the chicks pecked and destroyed them. Now lo and behold, spring has sprung and our (now 3) girls are scratching around and eating everything that isn't tied down. We have 27 more chicks just waiting to explore the great outdoors. Any ideas on how I can grow pretty flowers and still have our chickens free range? I love our girls to death and the new babies, but I love my flowers too! HELP!!!
 
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Sunny Side Up

Count your many blessings...
11 Years
Mar 12, 2008
4,730
211
294
Loxahatchee, Florida
Fence in one or the other.

To chickens, the world is their salad bowl and dust-bath tub. A flower garden is to be appreciated in their own special way, with beaks & dinosaur feet.

If I want delicate pretty annuals I plant them in hanging baskets. In the butterfly garden I plant tough perennials that can take the birds' abuse. Sometimes I'll place bricks or pavers around something I've just planted so they cannot dig right around the roots. Or I'll fence around it until it's grown big enough to defend itself.
 

digitS'

Songster
12 Years
Dec 12, 2007
2,119
24
201
ID/WA border
Placing bricks in a growing area is using them for a mulch - a stone mulch could also be used. Probably any stone half the size of a brick couldn't be moved by a hen.

Our flowers are mostly in the front yard and the hens learn not to go around the house to the front yard. A monster
shows up out there and threatens to eat them raw! Or, so the hens must think
as they race back to the safely of the backyard. (They stay in their henyard unless someone is outdoors and that happens a lot during the Summer.)

An herb garden is in the backyard and it also is out of sight from their coop so they don't spend much time there. If they want to have a dust bath, the soil under the deck is handy. They have never done any damage to the herbs other than scratching around them. I'm not saying that no chicken eats herbs but my hens have never done so. They have a choice of lots of different mints, chives, basil, rosemary, sweet marjoram, oregano, thyme, anise hyssop, sweet fennel, and probably a few more that I can't think of. But, they obviously prefer the grass and clover in the lawn.

The fact that they don't bother so many of these "mint family" plants makes me think that you may be okay with raising the ornamental mints. Those would include - salvia, monarda, lavender, perila, ajuga, catmint, coleus, and some others . . .


Maybe other folks have experience with these plants and their chickens.

Steve
 

Cheryl

Songster
12 Years
Sep 2, 2007
1,167
8
184
Milford, New Hampshire
I don't even think my grass is safe!!! There are holes all over my yard, so the dust bath comment is right on! I'm thinking I will put a fence within my fenced yard...
 

Reinbeau

The Teapot Underground
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Mar 1, 2007
5,469
15
271
Hanson, MA & Lebanon, Maine
I'm planning on letting them roam around behind their coop area, but not in my veggie garden - I'll fence that off. We'll have to see what else I have to protect - I've got lots and lots of gardens out there!
 

Nutty4Chickens

In the Brooder
11 Years
Mar 27, 2008
19
0
22
Pennsylvania
So in other words, I'm kinda at our chickens mercy. We do plan to build a run, but for now, we let them run around after we get home and the eat, eat, eat. I guess I will have to do some rearranging. The babies were out all day today and our poor dog is tormented and chased by all of them, it's so funny! Our 3 older girls are mean to the babies, but there are a few bold babies that go after the girls to defend their "siblings". I guess the babies are going to have to learn to hold their own! Thanks everyone for the advice, I will have to find a way to protect the flowers.
 

luvmychicknkids

Canning Squirrel
11 Years
Mar 6, 2008
5,679
28
261
Floresville, Texas
One thing I found, after the red tulips bloomed, they have started leaving the other flowers alone (sort-of). So, maybe plant some really nice red flowers for the chickens and "guard" your other flowers with them?
 

bluerose

Songster
12 Years
Oct 21, 2007
117
0
129
San Diego, CA
Yup... we have a chicken yard and a people yard in our backyard. The whole thing is fenced 6' but the dividing fence is not quite 3'- the hens are quite happy with their space and don't go over it.

Works great- the landscaping stays nice, the hens get to be outside whenever they like and can make as many dirt piles as they please. Still have TONS of room to run around in, a few small trees, bushes, etc.

 

dlhunicorn

Human Encyclopedia
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
4,870
44
251
try hanging pots...I do that also with my vegetables ...the tomatoes did very nicely hanging uside down last year.
 

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