Chickens in Gardens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Payden, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. Payden

    Payden New Egg

    Oct 30, 2008
    Was just curious if I could put our 4 chickens in our fenced garden area as means of pest (slug) control, without them dystroying the garden? Anyone have any experience with this?

  2. DrakeMaiden

    DrakeMaiden Overrun with Drakes

    Jun 8, 2007
    Kitsap County, WA
    I think you will find plenty of previous posts here that will advise you not to do just that. It depends upon what plants are growing in your garden, though, as some would get munched on more than others.

    A better solution would be to keep the chickens out of the garden, but to feed them slugs, as you find them. That requires a little more work from you though and won't be foolproof slug protection.
  3. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    My coop/run are in my fenced veggie garden area (see my avatar) but the only time my 3 girls are allowed to freely run about the fenced in area is when I'm between plantings. Otherwise, they love finding the tasty snacks entirely too much. [​IMG] It would depend a lot on what you have planted there. My girls don't bother some of the backyard plantings, but since they do enjoy dust bathing, it's not uncommon for them to uproot something from time to time.
  4. Payden

    Payden New Egg

    Oct 30, 2008
    Thank you both for such fast responses! [​IMG] it's greatly appreciated at the current time we are just figuring out which chickens we would like - planning on 3 or 4 for eggs, and wanting them free range as much as possible. Hopefully that will keep the slugs down, and then we won't be worried about putting them in our garden. Again thanks for the quick replies!
  5. chickflick

    chickflick Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 10, 2007
    My chickens are always in my garden and I do have plenty of great looking plants and flowers. They sure took care of my grasshopper problem! [​IMG] I love seeing them in my gardens. They have their favorite places behind my shrubs to dust bathe.
  6. Chicken Boo

    Chicken Boo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2008
    Glenn Dale, MD
    My coop is inside of my garden. When we are home we let the girls (10) run run around the garden. I net off new plants and anything they would find tasty (beans, parsley, cabbage, lettuce) and they spend a good deal of time sleeping under the tomatoes and eggplant. They did not bother my squash and asparagus except to occasionally walk over them. They clear out small weeds coming up around mature plants. The girls do seem to have trouble spotting tomato worms and slugs. However, once I point them out, they spend a few minutes tenderizing the poor creature before it is consumed. I am about to pull up the dying plants and pull up the weed cloth so that I can till in this year's compost and some leaves. That should please the girls. I left a section of the garden unplanted so that they always had a place to eat weeds and look for worms.
  7. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    Of my 4 chickens in our urban flock, just one likes slugs. The others prefer my garden plantings!

    Like the others, I only let my 4 chickens into my veggie garden area between plantings. Right now I'm throwing all their coop litter into that area to fertilize it for next year.

    They have been good about weeding the flower gardens and the weeeds that come up the sidewalks cracks, though they trample lots of plants. My day lilies, ground geraniums, and lavender got flattened from chickens walking through and on top of the plants. I got my chickens in late May (still no eggs, GAH!), which was after most of my flowers had come up. I'm not sure how the flowers will fare with chickens next spring. DBF and I are talking about fencing off an area of the yard - which is already small - to have it be a chicken-free zone.

    Most of my plantings are mature plants, so the chickens can't hurt them much after the plants have finished their spring sprouting (I'm hoping). The girls tned to walk under most of my plants.

    The dustbathing does prevent weeds from taking hold.
  8. mirjam

    mirjam Out Of The Brooder

    May 13, 2008
    from my limited experience (first flock of chickens since May of this year) I can tell you that chickens don't take much to slugs and snails. Ducks on the other hand gobble them up like candy. Chickens can be very destructive to your garden with their scratching, dustbathing and ferocious appetite for greens. I have a very large garden and I let them free range when I'm home (or when they choose to jump the fence...). The impact is spread out, but the areas they choose for dustbathing are pretty much doomed and the plants they like look shredded. There is little in the way of discouraging them other than fencing them in - or out of certain areas you like to preserve.
    They are certainly very good in finding and decimating "bugs" and seeds. I will move the coop and into our veggy garden this weekend. Now that the growing season has come to an end they will do their "work" in gobbling up all the unwanted weed seeds and any larvae that are trying to overwinter.
  9. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    Here are my 4 girls decimating my tomatoes. I think I got 4 tomatoes off of 8 plants this year because the hens kept puncturing holes in them while they were still green. Naughty, spoiled girls.

    That said, I was able to teach them what gardens they were allowed (hostas and day lillies) in and what gardens to stay out of (formal rose gardens). Too bad I couldn't patrol the veggies...

  10. notsooldmcdonald

    notsooldmcdonald Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 14, 2008
    Lempster, NH
    I certainly wouldn't have them in the garden while you were actively raising vegetables. However, in the spring and fall, just before and after the garden has been planted, it's a prime opportunity to have them rototill and de-pest your garden. Weeds from the growing season that have seeded will be great fodder, not to mention any bugs or pests. I plan on leading the flock out to my 1/2 acre garden tomorrow! During the growing season I wouldn't be so bold; I've seen them devour greens in the blink of an eye.


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