Fruit trees in the chicken run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Wefinish, May 16, 2009.

  1. Wefinish

    Wefinish New Egg

    May 16, 2009
    After fencing in my dwarf fruit trees to protect them from deer, I decided to get a dozen chickens since I had inadvertently made a pretty nice chicken run. Now I wonder how well this plan will work. My run is forty five feet by 60 feet and contains twelve dwarf trees; with a dozen or so chickens patrolling for caterpillars I hope I won't need to spray as much anymore. Could anyone who has this setup let me know how it has worked for them?
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If you find that the chickens are devegetating the ground or spending too much time in the shade of the fruit trees (pooing too much), you may want to reduce your flock size; otherwise just keep an eye on the trees for any signs of nutrient imbalances. (Chickens are said to work well free-range among fruit trees, but you're in a sort of in-between situation where there is some possibility of nitrogen overload, so you wanna keep an eye out)

    Chickens will eat caterpillars that fall/crawl off the trees but they will do nothing for caterpillars *on* the trees (which of course is where most of them stay, egg masses having been laid by moths that fly in and chickens not being going to intercept most of those adult moths). You may sometimes still need to lock the chickens indoors and use Bt spray.

    Good luck, have fun,

  3. chills

    chills Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 7, 2009
    thats a great question, i was wondering about them eating the fruit that falls on the ground .. will it be to much for chickens or will they just not eat the fruit?? i'll be curious to see what others have to say ..
  4. ript

    ript Out Of The Brooder

    May 15, 2009
    Black Canyon City
    growing up we had a lot of fruit trees and 20 or so free rangers, along with geese, ducks, turkeys, dogs, cats.. never had any issues with them burning our trees, they're rather generous in their distribution of poo. the only concentrations i ever found were on the front porch!

    they didnt mess with the grounded fruit much either, as it was usually dried out or just too big/thick shelled for them to care about. just had to keep them out of the strawberry beds and veggy garden, that was their size and liking!

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