Chickens in the Veggie Garden

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by FishNFowl, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. FishNFowl

    FishNFowl Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 31, 2014
    How much do chickens tear up a garden and how fast? I am planning the coop going to a large run that has a gate to the veggie garden. Is it a waste of time?

    I typically grow cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, egg plant, peppers (bell and hot), and beans.

    I was hoping to use the chickens for pest control not just fertilizing and fall cleanup.
     
  2. cityfarmer12

    cityfarmer12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 18, 2014
    Missouri
    they will dig up and destroy your garden pretty fast...you may be able to let them in for short periods of time while you are working, but they may be more interested in your bright red tomatoes rather than the pests :) Chickens are not the best birds for garden pest control. Good luck!
     
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    X2. If you want a garden to thrive and produce food for your own consumption...keep the chickens out lol!
     
  4. cmclean

    cmclean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 20, 2011
    Pasadena,TX
    I agree and know from experience!!!! My chickens love going into my vegetable garden. They follow my shovel, rake or hoe. It's so funny watching them get worms and grubs. I only allow them in the garden under supervision!!!! :weee
     
  5. OmAnNom

    OmAnNom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We moved from Oregon to North Carolina for work and the first spring I planted a garden. As fast as the seeds could sprout the grass hoppers would eat them. So I picked up a pair of chicks from the farm store. They solved the grasshopper problem but once they grew up they destroyed the garden. They will dust bathe at the base of all your prized heirloom plants, eat all the tomatoes and much on all the greens. As my flock grew to 11 chickens and ducks I went from an open garden, to a chicken wire fence (They learned to jump it) to the 6 foot legit fence that surrounds it now. The chicken droppings get composed along with the kitchen scraps and turned into the garden each spring and the duck pond water (duck sauce) gets pumped into the garden regularly. After the fall crop the gate is opened and the garden becomes there favorite hangout.
    From time to time the chickens are allowed in under supervision while we are weeding but not the ducks because they will drill.



    A picture of the existing barrier taken when we were babysitting a bunny.
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  6. FishNFowl

    FishNFowl Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the info. If you let them in under supervision do they tend to target plants first or bugs first? I wonder if there are any veggies they aren't a big fan of?
     
  7. cityfarmer12

    cityfarmer12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    depends on the bird, IMO. some of mine go instantly for the plants, others for the bugs. Mine will eat anything, but they don't go for cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, or squash without me opening them. they love tomatoes...maybe they like the color, i've heard chickens are attracted to red things :)
     
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  8. OmAnNom

    OmAnNom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also, they don't just eat A tomato... you know, like pull one off and devour it completely and then take a full-belly nap. No. They take a bite or two of every single ripe, or almost ripe, tomato in the garden. It's maddening. Because, of course, you would have been willing to give them one. But no. They're not happy until every single tomato is ruined so no one else gets anything.
     
  9. FishNFowl

    FishNFowl Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 31, 2014
    How rude, reminds me of birds and squirrels on fruit trees. I suppose I will limit their garden time fairly heavily while it's an active garden. I'm hoping to surround the run with various things that will grow through the fence to be pruned by the birds as they grow. I think I've settled on blueberry bushes but I haven't figured anything beyond that. I'm hoping for a hedge around the run to provide some wind protection and another water barrier.
     
  10. m80fierro

    m80fierro Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 26, 2014
    New Mexico
    I planted a 16 plant garden in beginning of 2014 and my chickens took a liking to it quickly. Truthfully so did my dog, she really enjoys digging up loose dirt. I went to an 18" wire mesh fence around it and the chickens never quite figured out that they could easily get over it and my Bella never even thought to run straight through it, Lol. I currently have them quarantined to a portion of my backyard approx. 20'x15' in addition to the chicken run and have hog pen fencing as the dividing line and its rare when they come over to the other side. I plan on planting an even bigger garden this coming spring but my biggest issue was the neighborhood squirrels. They took a liking to my watermelons, cucumbers, and even green chile. Anyone have this issue before? I do want to try to use my EE's as garden pest deterrents this year (supervised of course). I'd have no chance of letting my RIR's in their, they would demolish my plants in minutes.
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