Chickens weeding garden?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by newchickmom, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. newchickmom

    newchickmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    719
    6
    164
    Nov 8, 2007
    Lafayette, Indiana
    Hi,
    My sister are starting to plan out the garden(spring fever), and we have a HUGE garden space (100 x 100ft)
    I would like to let the chickens in the garden to help weed and eat bugs.
    Am I correct in understanding that once the plants get past the tender stage, they will be safe till they start baring their various fruits?
     
  2. hypnofrogstevie

    hypnofrogstevie chick magnet

    Jul 12, 2007
    Newton NJ
    depends on what your planting. What kind of plants do you plan on getting?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2008
  3. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    I haven't had much luck in this regard. As you know, Chickens + Dirt = dust bath. A dust bath in a garden usually results in plants that are dug up, especially if they're not all that large. Depending on the plant, my chickens also enjoy the opportunity to nibble at the salad bar. [​IMG]

    Now, I have found that chickens will do a very nice job of prepping a garden for planting because they'll scratch around and loosen the soil. They also enjoy scratching through the garden at the end of the season to nibble on whatever is left. Sometimes I leave plants just for that purpose. I have a few beets that grew too large for eating, so I left them in place. The chickens enjoy the leaves and since the leaves keep growing back, it's an ongoing treat for them.
     
  4. hypnofrogstevie

    hypnofrogstevie chick magnet

    Jul 12, 2007
    Newton NJ
    While I am building there coop we have this huge 30' by 10' blackberry bush on top of the mountain. I am going to try to root them. You may try that for the side of there coop. they could also use it for shelter in case of predators
     
  5. newchickmom

    newchickmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    719
    6
    164
    Nov 8, 2007
    Lafayette, Indiana
    We are planning on a large variety. Corn, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, beets, pumpkin, watermelon, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, spaghetti squash, okra and a variety of leafy vegs specialy for the chicks. Should the plants be safe once they are established? We will fence off the leafy plants so the chickens don't pig out on them.
     
  6. hypnofrogstevie

    hypnofrogstevie chick magnet

    Jul 12, 2007
    Newton NJ
    I dont know about the rest but my tomatoes where killed last yr. they where well rooted and they pecked the vine, leave and tomatoes right off. fencing in the leafy veggies or vine veggies might help
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2008
  7. stilwellchick

    stilwellchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    290
    7
    141
    Jun 16, 2007
    Stilwell, KS
    My girls treat the garden as their own personal salad bar! They peck at everything, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, at all stages of growth. I put posts in the ground with rabbit fencing all around the garden once it is planted. Before it is planted they can get in there and dig and scratch all they want.
     
  8. mergmet

    mergmet Chillin' With My Peeps

    my chickens wreak havok in the garden, I keep it fenced off and don't let them in there at all. They love tomatos and anything they can peck.

    guineas will keep the pests down and not eat all the plants, and I have let a baby duck or two run in the garden in the past.

    be careful with any birds in there, if you are using weed killer or pesticides it can hurt the birds.

    Margaret
     
  9. Backyard Buddies

    Backyard Buddies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Orange County, CA
    I've planted a lot of what you have and here's my experience.
    Corn - They'll eat the plants when they're little, but leave them alone after that. I've never had mine try to eat the ears.
    Green beans - They like the leaves, especially the tender ones. They'll leave the beans alone.
    Tomatoes - They may try to eat the leaves, and mine have without problem, but they really shouldn't. They'll take a tomato at any opportunity! [​IMG]
    Cucumbers, peppers, squash - They won't eat the leaves of these and my experience so far is that they've never bothered the veggie itself. This has always surprised me with the squash, because if I give it to them, they'll gladly eat it.
    Onions - They've never bothered mine, but green onions are at risk of being dug up when they're scratching.
    Watermelon/pumpkin - Should not be bothered by the chickens.
    I haven't grown the others, so I don't have any experience with them.

    My girls are city chicks and my lot is small. Therefore, my chicken coop is IN my veggie garden so they have to walk past the garden to get out to the lawn to free range. Here's a picture:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008
  10. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Quote:Better fence them off or they're goners!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by