Chickens let lose in the garden..

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by tangerinedreams, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. tangerinedreams

    tangerinedreams Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 15, 2010
    I feel a bit sorry for my chickens having to live in their little run all day...

    I'm considering letting them out to walk about my garden during the day, its not amazingly big but much bigger than the run so would be nice for both of us. What I'm asking is what are the consequences i'll face..? Will my lawn get all horrible and ruined? Will all the plants my mum has planted for the last year be eaten or destroyed? Are they going to jump over a fence and get lost? Are they going to be eaten by a fox in the day-time?

    Thanks for answers in advance

    I suppose i should mention that I live close to woods but not really in the countryside and have a normal sized garden. It has 6.5ft fence on 2 sides and a smaller 4ft fence on one side with light plant cover on it aswell. Feel kinda stupid giving this information but better safe than sorry! Thanks.
     
  2. noodleroo

    noodleroo Snuggles with Chickens

    Apr 29, 2010
    Rockport, Tx
    If your chickens are fully grown, they will either eat or squish you plants. If they are still little, its probably OK, just watch them. Here's a pic of mine when they were little and enjoying my garden:
    [​IMG]
     
  3. abercrombie575

    abercrombie575 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put my chikens in the garden sometimes. They scratch the ground up pretty good, leaving bald spots on the ground. They have also tasted almost everything out there and if they like it you might as well count it as gone. Mine didn't jump the fence but I was more worried about hawks and flying creatures than foxes. I would try it while you at home and available to run out if needed.
     
  4. urbanchicks76

    urbanchicks76 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 14, 2010
    I would say goodbye to all your plants! They will dig everything up. I let mine out in my main yard for just a little while and they totally destroyed 5 plants. We put our chickens in a side yard Aprox. 15X30 with beautiful lush grass. Lets just say the few patches of grass that are left will be gone soon enough. As far as the poop, it will be everywhere! I would advise you to keep them in an area you don't mind getting scratched up. Depending on your breed of chicken they could fly over a 6' fence but I have 6' fence as well and mine stay in the yard. 4' fence they will definitely fly over that. we built a run 10X5 and attached it to the coop so they are locked up when we are not home and run free when we are around. Hope that helps answer some of your questions.
     
  5. SandyK

    SandyK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 8, 2009
    Eldersburg, Maryland
    Mine have just gotten free run of the yard for this year. We've been working on the new coop, so we are out every evening with them. I only let them out when the summer is winding down and it really doesn't matter what they eat. First place they ran was to check the garden and the grapes. I think they remembered from last year. They are good little bug eaters, so they are doing me a favor there. They are only out when I'm down there with them. I watched a Red Tailed Hawk go buy with a rabbit in tow and also a baby Blue Jay this summer. We back up to the woods and hear them all the time. It actually had the nerve to land in a big tree next to the run to check them out while we were down there working on the new coop, beautiful bird. Another place they love is my compost pile, they hit the jackpot on worms in there.
     
  6. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    My Coop
    It depends on how big your garden/yard is and how many chickens you have. I have a large garden (by urban standards) and only six birds. When the plants are large enough I let the chickens into the garden and they generally don't do enough damage to impact my production in noticeable ways. There are some things that I won't let them near, e.g. pepper plants. It doesn't matter what kind, they like 'em all. If given free access to them, they'll just sit there until they've destroyed the foliage. Anything small enough to step on, they will. I figure if I plant enough for everyone, I'm not going without veggies and what they damage I get back in eggs. For most people with small gardens, watch out, they will destroy it. Hooligans, they are.
     
  7. mamapeeps

    mamapeeps New Egg

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    Jan 27, 2007
    Two solutions:

    One- supervised visitation to the garden.... try letting them out twenty minutes before they usually go to roost... they'll have the time of their life running around... but will head back to their roost at bed time (you might want to make sure you train them a little first.... for a week or so call them with a consistent call and then give them a treat right before they roost. That way, if things start getting out of control when you let them out you have a tool... remember it's really easy to get them to go home at bed time!)

    Two - temporary fencing. If your birds have never been able to fly in their current run... they might not ever try. For 15 bucks you can get a small roll of plastic fencing, get a several garden stakes (or sturdy sticks, or rebar) and make a temporary pen where you don't mind them running around. They will get out of a low one if you leave them unsupervised all day... but if you are letting them out for an hour of recreation, they might be quite content just exploring this new world you're opening up to them.
     
  8. buildingmyark

    buildingmyark Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 2, 2010
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    Our chickens have become very fond of the watermelons in our garden. They don't wanna just try one and finish it off either; they like to "sample" all of them. My husband just gets livid when he sees all of the pecked melons!
     
  9. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

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    My Coop
    Quote:I do this too! Most of my peppers are fenced off (within the larger, fenced off garden).
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010

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