Chickens and mint

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Portia, May 9, 2008.

  1. Portia

    Portia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When I'm out working in the yard the chickens always come up and want me to feed them something and are often content with being offered a blade of grass, even though they eat it all day in the yard. For fun, I offer them a leaf of one of the various herbs I have around the yard, just to explore what they like. They may sample the offering, or not, on occasion they like something enough to come back for a second try. Today I offered up a leaf of spearmint and several girls gave it a try. Seeing a treat my roo ran up and took a bit of the leaf, then quickly let it drop to the ground and proceeded to wipe his beak on my pantleg several times as if trying to get the taste out of his mouth. It was incredibly funny! They are such a riot.
     
  2. Nichole77

    Nichole77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If they don't like certain plants perhaps they could be put around the perimeter of a garden. Would that keep them away?
     
  3. Portia

    Portia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My garden is fenced, but the entire outside is planted in herbs. Chickens apparently aren't that fond of many herbs, guess the tastes are to potent. Anyhow, they sample them every now and then but don't consume them. They do, however, love love love to dig the dirt along any fence line for bugs. They also love to rearrange the mulch in my gardens and under my trees.
     
  4. Tutter

    Tutter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a large mint patch, but have never thought to see what the girls think about it; how interesting!

    On the other hand, they get downright offended if they aren't offered some safe "weeds" each day, by hand, as a treat....even if they will be roaming! Spoiled? Nah! [​IMG]
     
  5. Portia

    Portia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We like to keep them guessing [​IMG] We do that too the dogs also, especially when they are giving us proximity and doe eyes when we are eating; then we give them something we know they usually don't want like a piece of celery or a leaf of lettuce. We get a look like 'you know I don't like that, now give me some of what I want'. You're right though, the chickens, at this point just look offended and start pecking at my shoes.
     
  6. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is good information for chicken-raising gardeners. I don't know that they bother a single plant in my herb garden other than by moving around soil. And since the herb garden is not in a location they like to hang out, they aren't over there very much anyway.

    There's a very large dog on the other side of the fence (who pays almost no attention to them). Until their owners moved, there were also 2 other dogs kitty corner from my lot. These critters are completely fenced out but from the herb garden, the hens cannot see their coop or their human protectors. There's no rooster and the hens will only pass thru and hurry back to the main yard.

    As for flowers and veggies - the flowers are mostly in the front yard which requires a fairly long walk. Also, a creature that looks a little like their human protector but with obvious murderous intent [​IMG] will show up out there and terrify them. One experience with the murderous human is all it takes to keep them out of the front yard. The veggie gardens require a drive.

    I'll take them to a veggie garden as chicks in a pet carrier. Catching flea beetles is an exciting experience and the veggies are mostly safe from the chicks.

    Steve
     
  7. Portia

    Portia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good point. My chickens have full range of my back yard, except for my fenced vegetable garden; which I let them into in the spring before planting for fertilizer and bug consumption and will open again for the fall and winter for foraging and fertilizing. The rest of my yard contains many accessible gardens including blueberries, strawberries, fruit trees/bushes, herbs of all sorts, bulbs and other landscape plants. I rarely do annuals except for my vegetables and some herbs such as coriander, dill, basil and parsley which I let go to seed in the fall so it comes up again the following summer. I have 14 pullets and one developing roo that roam through all the backyard gardens and have yet to destroy any one plant other than covering it with what they've scrated up. They are much more interested in foraging for bugs. They may have pecked at my tulips, anenomes, hyacinths, daffodils, and other flowering bulbs; but did not decimate any of them. They sample my shrubs occasionally, but nothing detrimental. They love, love, love snuggling up in piles under my pines, rhododendrons, mountain laurel, gooseberry and blackberry/raspberry thickets. We will see how they do once things start to fruit. They don't touch my rhubarb.

    My planting strategy is that if it can't survive my dogs and chickens, then it probably shouldn't be in my yard; unless its a wanted vegetable/herb, then I plant it in the protected garden. Since I live in the woods, I also have to worry about deer & rabbits eating anything that is NOT in my backyard; my dogs also free range the backyard & keep the vermins at bay.
    That's my experience. I'll keep posting about the progress of my gardens in relation to my chickens. BTW, my yard is just under an acre, fenced in 4' 2x4 field fencing. Half is lawn (green things growing that I mow when necessary) the rest is woods and the deck, patio, and gardens.
     
  8. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hm. I've planted some spearmint at the endge of the new run to repel insects- might be a bonus that the hens don't care for it since having it there will keep the six-legged ones away. It's VERY good for repelling black flies.
     
  9. spook

    spook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Our garden has raised beds with 2 foot "bunny" wire around them. Last year they did not bother them until DH gave them the thinnings of the rutabegas(sp!) and the girls thought that those were obviously for them! Other then that they love to run through the maze of boxes and keep the weeds from sprouting up around the edges.
     
  10. Portia

    Portia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lynn,
    Is that just spearmint, or all plants in the mint family? I use mint a lot for groundcover, so I have something like 8 or 9 different kinds around the yard in various places.
     

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