Garden beds around coop

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Bakerfamilyzoo, Mar 18, 2019.

  1. Bakerfamilyzoo

    Bakerfamilyzoo In the Brooder

    Feb 27, 2019
    We are finally finishing our run this week. It will be about 6ft by 8ft. I want to put raised garden beds around it, hoping that the chickens cannpoked their head out and snack on herbs. I also want to use it as a trellis for watermelons and pumpkins to help with shading. Has anyone down this before any tips or tricks to know before we build? Photo attached the green parts are the garden beds

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  2. Cryss

    Cryss Free Ranging

    Nov 12, 2017
    Northwest New Jersey
    Plant some close enough for them to enjoy. Plant lots so it won't matter if they eat some. If the bed is wide enough they can't reach it all. Also plant on the low side of the run if you can. Rain will wash lovely compost tea through the run to the garden.
  3. I like the idea but i see some potential problems.
    Depending on your fence, pumpkins and mellons are heavy and may collapse your fence.
    Also if a chicken can stick her head out through the fencing small preditors like weasel can get in.
    Will your coop be locked up tight at night? That is when a weasel will come calling to kill your birds.
    I will try to think of some crops that may benifit your chickens
    I know my garden always yields extra cherry tomatoes that there is no way my family can eat them all. My chickens get those thrown out of the Garden for them. I plant 4 plants and i should only do 2.
  4. Red-Stars-in-RI

    Red-Stars-in-RI Songster

    Mar 24, 2014
    Rhode Island
    The one concern I can see if the chickens wiping out the plants before they get established.

    Here's what I did - I have 2 x 4 wire fence for my run, so I put chicken wire along the bottom a foot or so high.

    I then planted some lavender along the edge. Since the chickens can't fit their heads through the holes in the chicken wire, I'm hoping they'll only get to "trim" the plants a bit, while not killing them.

    I did this trick last year along a short 10-foot length of the run. I plan to do a much longer section (50+ feet?) with the same trick this spring, planting a mix of beneficial herbs for the chickens and pollinators.
    Bakerfamilyzoo likes this.
  5. GRB73

    GRB73 Songster

    Mar 10, 2016
    Will your chickens free range outside of the run? If so, they would make quick work of eating their way through the garden.

    I fence off my garden area, but pick greens, herbs, veggies etc for the girls. I either throw the treats in the run or put them in a suet cage for them to peck at throughout the day.

    I do grow a few flowers around the run, usually something that gets 5', usually sunflower or Mexican sunflowers. Good for shade and the butterflies flock to the Mexican sunflowers, especially monarchs. I protect these plants by surrounding them with chicken wire until they are about 2.5' tall and safe from the girls.

    You could do this for melons too but add extra support to bear the weight of the fruit. You don't want them bringing down your run. The leaves would create a nice dappled shade in the run.
  6. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

    Jul 31, 2018
    Catalonia, Spain
    My Coop
    I don't think it's a good idea.
    As @50-45-1 points out, if they can get their heads out, then a weasel, mink or other small animals can get in.
    Next chickens do get stuck in fences,especially if there is something they want to eat on the other side.
    Also, if the chickens can reach your herbs and plants they are liable to eat more of what they can reach than may be good for them.
    21hens-incharge likes this.
  7. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    I have a garden bed on the back of my run where I trellis snap peas on the run fence each spring. Since I have hardware cloth on the bottom few feet of the run that helps protect the young plants, then once they get taller I start training the tendrils to the run. Provides a little shade in the back and the chickens get to eat anything that pokes through the fence.

    Trailing nasturtium would be an option too, anything that grows fast and doesn't get too heavy.
  8. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Addict

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    I agree that it can actually pose a hazard.

    Maybe plant things they like in it but have fencing they cannot reach through.

    Then as the plants produce you can cut or pick some to give them.

    Mine like most everything. :rolleyes:
  9. In Australia 2 vines are traditionally grown over a coop: passionfruit or choko [aka chayote, vegetable pear or mango squash]. Many people also put their run under their well established citrus trees ~ maybe minatures if you need roofing.

    I will be planting herbs around my new pen because we have a massive mosquito problem & will also be putting in a passionfruit. They can help provide shade & shelter from our heat.

    I'm sure you could grow other things though I wouldn't be encouraging chooks to put their heads through anything. Too easy for disaster to happen.
    50-45-1 likes this.
  10. henless

    henless Songster

    Chickens do a lot of scratching. As they scratch, dirt/poo/dander settles on everything in & around their run. I would not grow anything next to the run that you would eat raw or unpeeled.
    Cryss and 21hens-incharge like this.

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