Garden and Chickens - Safe to Let them out??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by isabrownmom, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. isabrownmom

    isabrownmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 5, 2009
    Indiana
    Okay, so the garden is well established and I have kept my 5 girls "cooped" up in their run while everything grew up. I have swiss chard, tomatoes, muskmelon, spaghetti squash, zucchini, pumpkin, ground cherries, acorn squash and green peppers. Will the hens just eat bugs or go after the fruits of my labors?? Last year I waited until after harvest to let them out for some monitored free ranging but that's a good 2 month away and they look forlornly at the yard outside of their run. Does anyone else let their chickens out near the garden??
     
  2. noodleroo

    noodleroo Snuggles with Chickens

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    Apr 29, 2010
    Rockport, Tx
    Oh yes, your chickens will make a mess in your garden. They'll eat some but mostly they'll just scratch and dig up stuff and smush other stuff. If they are still little, it'll take longer to completely ruin the garden....
     
  3. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Most likely what they don't eat they will tear up. I would think that you need to keep them seperate. Can you put some fencing around the garden?

    Imp
     
  4. Nostalchic

    Nostalchic Chillin' With My Peeps

    My coop is adjacent to the garden, but I don't let the chickens in there until after everything's harvested in the fall. They are really destructive otherwise. But I throw them lots of good stuff - they've just finished off the last of the chinese cabbage and spinach that had flowered, and are eagerly awaiting extra tomatoes, etc. They are plant-stripping machines - don't let them near anything you want!
     
  5. TexasVet

    TexasVet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 12, 2008
    Willis TX
    Mine eat everything they come across... tomatoes, squash, melons, bell peppers. Nothing is safe! I don't let them anywhere near the garden now.

    Kathy, Bellville TX
    www.ChickenTrackin.com
     
  6. jossanne

    jossanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 11, 2008
    Gila, New Mexico
    My chickens free range the entire property. There are a few weeds that they don't eat, and the garden is totally fenced in. Otherwise, there's not much vegetation growing on our place. Darn birds!
     
  7. LadyBeartoothMamma

    LadyBeartoothMamma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 31, 2010
    Absarokee Montana
    [​IMG]
    mine love my bean plants [​IMG]
     
  8. isabrownmom

    isabrownmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 5, 2009
    Indiana
    The thought of fencing makes my husband's eyes roll into the back of his head! The poor things will have to wait until after harvest! I do throw them a lot of stuff and my husband jokes that most of the garden is planted for the chickens anyway!! They get all of the Swiss Chard and any buggy veggies since I don't use chemicals in the garden, I feel safe in doing that. It's just so much fun to watch them free range but in the spring and fall, the garden is the first place they head for some serious dust bathing!
     
  9. franklinchickens

    franklinchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2010
    Franklin, TN
    My coop & run is near one of our garden beds and my 4 free range during the day. They ate a lot of strawberries but with the tomatoes - they seem to like to sit under the plants but unfortunately peck at the tomatoes which encourages rot. They dig & peck at everything. The biggest problem we are having currently is keeping them off the green roof on the chicken coop/run until everything grows in but they will actually pull the plants right out of the ground. Though a newbie with chickens - I'd watch your plants or fence them in because shooing them repeatedly out of the garden does NOT work!
     
  10. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I'm fencing my veggie garden beds because I already knew they would be fair game. I sure didn't expect them to dig out the entire plants from pots. I had various plants with those pound-in plastic borders mostly to keep the 2 dogs and cats from dashing directly through them, and the chickens think THOSE are absolutely wonderful. See why:

    [​IMG]

    There WAS a phlox in there. Not any more. NOTHING.
    And she didn't even blink when she got out and headed for someplace else to dig, since I'd disturbed her there.
    [​IMG]

    Also, I have tomatoes in those Deluxe Topsy Turvy Tomato Tree things, figured they'd be safe. Nooooo. Anything hanging low enough for chickens to JUMP up to pull on, is denuded.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2010

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