Free Ranging with Azaelas & Garden - I can't RELAX

mritti

In the Brooder
May 3, 2020
38
40
46
I have a pretty sizeable back yard and have just started to let the ladies out to explore. At first it was great because they would stay close to their coop and scratch around under the bushes. Now they are making there way closer to me. I work in the garden while they are out so I can keep an eye on them, and I saw one try to take a bite of the azalea bush leaf. We also have an avocado tree that I had all the bottom branches cut and clean up any fallen leaves, but watching their every move is tiring and I can't get anything done. My husband said that chickens will know what not to eat and that I can relax a bit more, but once I saw my favorite little girl nipping at the azalea I was in a panic. I also have beans and peas and tomatoes in the garden - which I am able to shoo them out of easily, but I feel like I can't just let them out for an hour and not be nervous and watching them the whole time. Is this normal?
 
May 25, 2020
417
1,594
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Missouri
It is very normal to be worried about your flock😉I suggest putting up a fence around toxic plants and also around plants you don’t want eaten. We have a simple chicken wire fence around our garden made with some simple tea posts.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
5,943
11,280
596
USA
They will take a bite of anything, but most poisonous plants also taste bad--so the chickens do not come back for more bites. They are a bit like small children putting everything in their mouths, but they are quite good about not poisoning themselves.

I do recommend a fence to keep them out of the garden, but that is for the sake of the garden, not the chickens.
 
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BigBlueHen53

We will get through this... together!
Mar 5, 2019
13,780
50,857
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SE Missouri, USA
What they said, definitely! What used to be our garden is now the chickens' run. Other than forage, the only domestic plants remaining are lilies. Lots of lovely lilies. Lilies are toxic to chickens. The chickens snuggle under them for shade and root around at their bases for worms, bugs and grubs. The lilies love it! But the chickens don't nibble on the lilies at all. It's a beautiful symbiotic relationship. Happy lilies, happy hens. But I wouldn't plant a tomato out there for anything! The hens would eat the fruit in a heartbeat! I can buy tomatoes. 😉
 

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