Chickens and Gardens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by brewmonkey, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. brewmonkey

    brewmonkey Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 26, 2011
    This might be a very silly question to some, but we are new to chickens. Our Dominiques, 5 girls and one cockerel are a little over 4 months old and we let them out to run around when we are home to watch them. At first only the boy came out to explore and we had to kick one of the girls out of the coop, she never wants to come out. Now they seem to like it more but of course they LOVE to eat every kind of green they get their beaks on.
    My question is does anyone here grow fruits and veggies and if so, do you fence in your vegetable garden(s) or do you just leave the chickens in their run? I would love for them to roam around but we only have a 1/2 an acre and we grow a ton of fruits (trees, berries, grapes, kiwi fruit...) and veggies. We have many different plots all over the yard.
    Should I keep the chickens fenced in? Or ?
    I really would like to hear from fellow gardeners.
    Thank you
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    I fence off my vegie garden so they can't get in. At the end of the growing season, I open up the gate and let them in. They till and fertilize the garden area in preparation for the following Spring planting.
  3. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

    Jun 17, 2011
    Morristown, AZ
    Fence around our garden, but more for the darn hordes of cotton tail rabbits we have here than to keep the chickens out. They will mow a small garden flat in one night!
  4. NottinghamChicks

    NottinghamChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    I fence in the veggie garden, berries and grapes. The rest of the yard is theirs for exploring but I do go around with a rake every few days and pull the mulch back into the flower gardens [​IMG]

    They are all pretty chubby and a 3ft fence keeps them at bay. The chicks get in sometimes and cannot get out so I go in to rescue them before momma has a fit and attempts a maiden voyage [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2011
  5. homesteadapps

    homesteadapps Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2010
  6. weeders n feeders

    weeders n feeders Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 1, 2011
    Mine have their coop in their run for the time ultimate safety is necessary. But they typically spend most of their day in the adjacent blueberry patch which is also fenced in. Our motto is the lower two feet of berries are for the chickens and the dog(yes she eats them right off the bush as do the chickens) the upper region is for the song birds and the middle region is for us and for selling or sharing. June was a really dry month so production is way down but I've still put 4 gallons in the freezer and traded another for a six pack and that doesn't count what we've eaten so we got plenty to share. All the blue and purple poop makes morning cleaning of the coop interesting.
    We've recently been letting them out into the yard also since they're now big enough to stand up to the dog who is really doing well with them except for the dominant roo who she thinks is playing with her but he doesn't seem to have the same idea. They've discovered the fig tree but again there's plenty to share. Flower beds they aren't really messing with there seems to be more interesting and tasty stuff else where but my flower beds are really thick masses. The garden is fenced but again they have occasionally wandered in there too. Almost Took out a row of beans that were only a few inches tall early on but now that everything is bigger they are not destroying it. And they did take care of the aphids before they got out of hand. But now that the tomatoes are getting ripe and they eye those and occasionally take a sample (as do the song birds and the box turtle we keep moving across the street- takes him about 3 days to get back) i'm being more careful about them getting into there until the garden is done and they can take up residence there to do their job of weeding and "feeding" the soil for next year. With my last flock of 3 (which a bobcat took care of) we did the same in the winter and I just chicken wired a portion for my winter crops.
    Bottom line if there's something really special fence it off well. But in general if they have enough area and variety and you are willing to share some then light or no fencing will be ok.
    For my gals flying over a ten foot fence is nothing more that a happy moment and all the fences except their run are standard 3-4 feet but most have a thick flower bed around them making it appear to be more than a thin wall so while keeping them completely out of some where would be difficult I have found we can all share a little and everyone is happy. They generally stay in their own area or the blueberries and the yard only occasionally venturing to the garden or other spaces they are not really welcome.
  7. chickiepie

    chickiepie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2011
    Bucks County PA
    I keep mine in a run during the day, and let them out in the yard in the evenings. I have my garden fenced in because they will eat everything in sight. I do plan to let them do some 'clean up' for me come fall, though.
  8. LittleDarlings

    LittleDarlings Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2011
    Madison, GA
    I really like the idea of letting them have run after the growing season! The more "FUN" they have, the less work I'll have in Spring :0) I have mine fenced right now to keep the rabbits and the occasional deer out of it! I've also been doing some research on intensive gardening. I'll see what it says about chickens in the mix. [​IMG]
  9. CarolynF

    CarolynF Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 11, 2011
    Puget Sound
    My Coop
    Mine get to run free only when I or DH can do heavy monitoring. We sometimes use Roundup on the weeds and don't want the girls eating the poisoned weeds. Also don't want to have our garden eaten. It would take way too much wire fencing for us to protect everything. In the fall I plan to let them loose in the garden when they won't be hurting much if anything. But I'd love to let them loose more often! I'm working on ideas for a "play pen" that can be easily set up and easily put away.
  10. homesteadapps

    homesteadapps Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2010
    Our garden is large too. I mainly fence around tomatoes, muskmelon, watermelon. They seem to leave the cucumbers & squash alone. With tomatoes they will leave nothing but the stem if the tomatoes are not protected from them. With ducks the peas should be fenced in too.

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