Chickens and You Garden


In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 8, 2009
Hello everyone,

I am new to the idea of chicken raising and have been helped so much by all of your input thus far. A couple things are giving me trouble though:

1)My container garden
Our backyard isn't acres, but we live on a slight hill and it seems spacious to me. It is 97% grass except for a concrete patio, where a container garden is going to be. Some of you have mentioned that chickens will destroy this garden if allowed to roam free. This makes me not want to raise chickens, even though I am getting very used to the idea!
I also would love their help for pest control. Our backyard is alive with all sorts of bugs in the Missouri summer.
Anyway, the plants will all be in containers on the concrete patio (although the patio is only a few inches off the ground.) So my question is, will they ruin my garden?

2) Our lawn
Next hurdle: Convincing our landlord! Will they ruin his lawn? Some of you have said, yes, they turn it into a dust/mudbowl wasteland, and some of you have said it helps your lawn. Will any permanent damage be done?

THANK you everyone! I am dreaming of little baby chicks!
Once they discover the containers, they'll hop right up to eat them.

As far as your grass goes, it kind of depends on how big your lawn is and how many chickens you get.
Fence off the garden with poultry netting (3' minimum, 4' is better) and get chickens that aren't prone to flying.

Grass...well if you have a lot of chickens, they will destroy the grass. You can either keep them in a chicken tractor and move it often, or fence off one area of lawn and figure you'll re-seed it if you have to.

I can vouch for the bug-killer abilities. Fewer flies, grubs, spiders, beetles etc.
I can tell you that mine have weeded my entire yard, and I am worried about any grass growing this year. I would fence it off.
I have 2 chickens and a chick.

for your containers, i cut wrap welded wire mesh in half and make it into a circle or loop ( then i take 3 stakes and weave the stakes into the mesh to hold it up. it makes an attractive deterrant to chickens except to those tomatoes that hang out too much. it keeps them from hopping into your container and is still nice to look at if done right.

for the grass, I let them free range on the weekends for a few hours while i'm doing yardwork but i keep an eye on them so they dont try to take dust baths. other than that they stay in their 30x10 run made from wood chips of things i shred in the yard (like branches, etc).

in the winter, they can free range on the weekend in my garden area but are still confined to their run at other times.

even though i let them out for a few hours i still fenced off my other flower beds because they'd go in there and kick mulch into the grass and kill it
then they'd take dirtbaths in it.

see for a garden idea. the fence is removable. it just slips up and out if i need to get in.
look at my signature line at the bottom to see the whole gallery
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Thanks so much everyone! sounds like I'd need to net off the container garden, and that yes, they would destroy my grass.
We were looking to get about a dozen chickens. (For 4 dozen eggs per week)

Honestly, since it's a rented house, if they really will destroy the grass I don't know how I could convince my landlord. I don't think it is going to work out for us to raise chickens. But I'm kind of sad about it.
I was getting used to the idea of having little chickens running around!
They will get into your garden. However, we, too, have a garden...both large garden beds out back and containers on the patio. Certain plants (corn, squash, melons, etc) they don't get into (at least ours don't), but the ones they do get into we put chicken wire around. The key to wire is that it can't fit their head through and wide enough that the leaves aren't against the wire...if it fits a beak, it's a snack. Chickens are wonderful and so are gardens...sometimes the both are a balancing act!

As for the grass...sorry I can't help ya here. We live in a desert and just ripped ours out!
But, I agree with Kimiko regarding a chicken tractor. You just have to keep up with moving it often.
I would suggest a chicken tractor too. You could let them out in the evening when you are around to supervise, while the are out move the tractor to a new location, and they they will put themselves to bed.
Your landlord will have a wonderfully fertilized lawn!
Also, I would start with 4-6 chickens, and see how that goes before expanding. If you get a good egg producing breed, you will get 2-3 dozen eggs a week for the first year.

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