Chickens and Crops

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by jaderok, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. jaderok

    jaderok New Egg

    Mar 29, 2011
    I have a 25' x 25' area in my backyard that has been fenced off and cleared for a vegetable garden. I was thinking that it'd be nice to allow a few chickens to roam free in the garden but I am concerned that they will eat the vegetable plants down to nothing. I need to build a coup for the chickens to have a safe place at night but I was hoping for quasi-free range during the day. Will this work or will the chickens eat the vegetables?

    I appreciate any help..
  2. Kathryn4629

    Kathryn4629 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2010
    Colbert, WA
    Quote:Your garden will be eaten and dug up. Especially the low growing plants like lettuce. Could they free range outside of the garden area?
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  3. aggie9296

    aggie9296 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 28, 2011
    Panama City, FL
    They will eat just about anything in the garden, except the weeds you want them to eat. Might want to fence off the garden. They make cheap plastic fencing 3-5 feet high. Mine haven't figured out how to fly over my 3 ft garden fence. So far.
  4. Kathryn4629

    Kathryn4629 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2010
    Colbert, WA
    oh and [​IMG]
  5. schellie69

    schellie69 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 8, 2009
    first [​IMG] from Kansas. The chickens will eat your garden to nothing. I let mine free range my backyard last year and they ate all the grass in my back yard.
  6. ThinkingChickens

    ThinkingChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2011
    You have a good amount of space. Perhaps you can do square foot gardening with some, even with raised beds and covers and then use the remainder for a chicken coop with an attached run. You can let the chickens free range when you are home. Our chickens are free ranging only when I'm home and can keep an eye on them and it's working out well so far. Happy chicken raising.
  7. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2008

    First of all, Welcome to BYC!

    Now, as to your question: I am an organic gardener who got chickens because I wanted my own natural fertilizer producers.

    When I first got the chickens, I envisioned the joy of watching my fertilizer producing machines happily free range in my organic garden, eating bad bugs and obnoxious weeds and just generally brightening up the place.

    NO WAY!

    What I got was a Feathered Wrecking Crew!

    I have raised bed garden beds, topped with 4 inches of organic mulch (a mix of fresh grass clippings, chopped autumn leaves, and twigs and small branches).

    My Feathered Wrecking Crew never quite grasped the idea that I prefered my loose, black soil and organic mulch ON my garden bed.

    No -- it was alot more fun to scratch the stuff OUT of the bed.

    And you know those beautiful lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, and swiss chards that I carefully planted in that beautiful garden soil?

    Well, they were very tasty, thank you!

    Unlike many gardeners, they really did not go after my vine ripened, red tomatoes -- probably because I fed them chopped up tomato "seconds" every afternoon.

    But they went after any and every red raspberry that they could reach. The only red raspberries I was allowed to harvest were the ones that grew too high for the rooster to reach.

    And strawberries? They grow down at soil level. Very convenient for the Feathered Wrecking Crew.


    The Feathered Wrecking Crew is no longer allowed to free range in the garden, except maybe the last half hour before sunset every now and then, when my wife and I are able to go outside to supervise their antics.

    Chickens and unprotected gardens do NOT mix!

    Take it from somebody who has been there, done that.
  8. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    When I read, "I have a 25' x 25' area in my backyard that has been fenced off and cleared for a vegetable garden." I thought, "Great! That'll keep the chickens out of it."

    You might want them to dig around in it before you plant it and after you're done harvesting in the fall. At other times, you may be able to have them in there for a very limited amount of time while you supervise. You might get by with protecting the dark leafy greens and see how they do with other things. Even better would be if you plant a little section for them to mess around with that has leafy greens, while yours are protected. It's easiest, though, if you just don't let them in there.
  9. melodynye

    melodynye Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 30, 2011
    Yale, Michigan
    The real asset in having chickens actually in the garden area is at end of harvest. They'll be wonderful for cleaning up spent plants and such. But when the garden is new they'd simply think you've treated them to the absolute best and tasty new plants.

    Brahma Lights at
  10. fishnchix

    fishnchix Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 20, 2011
    I have been told that Guinea fowl are the bird for in the garden, but do not have any so won't testify to that. I had a bad grass hopper infestation last year, so I started herding my birds through morning and night, and they did go for bugs first. All the plants were well established by then, too. However, I do not want the poop all over things I will eat raw, so I would not want them to have free range, really.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by