Chickens, Gardens and weeds

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ultio, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. ultio

    ultio Hatching

    Apr 27, 2008
    So I see in a video on this site that chickens control weeds. So my question is do they eat the plants in your gardens? I was hoping to let my chickens roam my garden and eat insects. I am a noob at this and want to get it right the first time.
  2. hcammack

    hcammack Crowing

    Oct 5, 2007
    they will eat the garden plants [​IMG]
  3. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Songster

    Jan 25, 2008
    They will eat anything they take a liking too, garden plants included(especially veggies and fruits).

    I've heard that guineas are better for roaming the garden and eating bugs. I don't know myself, I have never owned guineas. I heard they are very careful in the garden about knocking over plants.

    Chickens in the garden aren't a good idea. Yes, they'll eat the bugs, but they'll also eat both weeds and flowers, as well as dig plants up and plow plants over to search for and catch bugs.

  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Yep, they will eat and scratch everything up. The first things to go will be the things you spent the most time and money on.
  5. raindrop

    raindrop Songster

    Feb 10, 2008
    Western Oregon
    I would imagine they would have fun and you would get fertilizer out of the deal if you let them into the garden in the off-season, especially if you keep your winter crops (if you have them) under row covers.
    They eat the garden. What they don't eat, they scratch up and kill. I don't think they could take on a full grown zucchini plant, but anything else would be yummy.
  6. bruinmom

    bruinmom Hatching

    Jun 25, 2008
    I'm on my second flock (having taken a 2 year break between flocks). My first flock just ate my lawn, bugs, worms but didn't know how good I had it until this flock. Now I have 6 hens and 6 guineas and while they too eat bugs, worms and lawn they also seem to love my brand new ornamentals.

    My tack is such that I have become their stern teacher. I only let them out when I can watch them. I "shoo" them to where I want them to eat and I use a very stern shout when they go where I don't want them. The result so far is pending.

    I'm hoping that they'll be good students and can eventually be left out all day.

    As a side note, I thought a generous sprinkling of Cayenne pepper on the ornamentals would discourage but no luck.
  7. kinnip

    kinnip Songster

    Feb 24, 2008
    Carrollton, GA
  8. pbjmaker

    pbjmaker Crowing

    May 9, 2008
    Central Iowa
    Mine roam through my butterfly garden all day. They seem to keep the boxelders in check pretty well and eat clover and creeping charlie. They have however made a nesting spot out of my yarrow- it now looks like it grew as a runner. They have also smashed down and made a "nest" on one of my cone flower plants. They also love to hang out under my roses - I'm thinking they are eating aphids.

    The chickens make me laugh so for me it is worth a few "reshaped" plants.

    However I do not have a food garden this year - that might annoy me.
  9. priszilla

    priszilla Songster

    Jan 12, 2008
    easley sc
    Mine ate every seed I planted!- then atet eh plants I bought and planted till I finished the fence around my little garden spots ( which were former little mini compost heaps a couple of years ago- time to start a new one and let this years model "cook " for next years raised bed) I sort of square foot garden. I used plastic fencing to keep them out. I harvested my first squash today!
  10. carwinew

    carwinew In the Brooder

    Mar 24, 2008
    Chickens will eat the plants and the bugs. Mine ignored the weeds.Guineas that we had in the past worked great in the garden as they aren't as destructive. The only problem was at night they roosted on the wooden playset where a owl found them and hauled them off 1 by 1. Only figured it out when we heard the last one being carried off. Now I try to handpick the big bugs, tomato worms and catch the grasshoppers then call the chickens for a snack. The little grasshoppers are hard to catch but even if I miss them a lot of the time they will fly out of the garden where the chickens are waiting. If the grasshopper situation gets too bad I sprinkle flour over everything and leave it for two days then wash it off. Its an old organic fix my grandpa told me. Apparently it gums up their mandibles.For the weeds you are probably going to have to use manual labor.

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