Gardening and Chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cluckylisa, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. cluckylisa

    cluckylisa In the Brooder

    Mar 2, 2009
    Central Minnesota
    I hope this is the right part of the forum to post this, but I'm going to have layers and a veggie garden for the first time this year. I have idyllic visions of puttering and weeding in the garden with my chickens at my side.

    Then I have absolute nightmares about the chickens just destroying all the plants in said veggie gardens.

    How do I make this work so I can still harvest produce and enjoy time with my chickens in the garden? I will only have the chickens in the garden with supervision, otherwise they will be in a nice big run/coop area. The gardens will be fenced to keep the dog out (and to keep garden raiders at bay) and the chickens in.

    I'm planting (or planning on) carrots, tomatoes, a variety of lettuce, chard, corn, peas, beans, and sunflowers (which will be dried and given as treats to the chickens).

    Do the chickens just start devouring everything in sight or scratch and pick at bugs? If breeds matter I'll have 3 BR and 3 gold/red stars. I plan to offer weeds and greens in the run when they are old enough to handle them. Will that help?
  2. Snakeoil

    Snakeoil Songster

    Jan 10, 2009
    SE Iowa
    Once you let your birds out of the coop I think you will have a hard time controling what they are going to do in your garden. Chickens love carrot tops, tomatoes, lettuce and chard. Good Luck......
  3. vermontgal

    vermontgal Songster

    Last edited: Mar 21, 2009
  4. eggchel

    eggchel Crowing

    Dec 26, 2006
    Both Coasts
    We have a garden section, LOL, its called The Easy Garden:

    If you want to have poultry in your garden with you, you will need some protection for your plants. You can use raised beds with row covers or build a hoop type structure over each bed and put bird netting over it.

    When the crops in any particular bed are finished, let the hens in it so that they will eat any bugs present before you plant again.

    You can train goslings to eat weeds and use them as weeders.
    Dont forget ducks, they love snails and slugs and snorkeling in mud for bugs.
  5. vermontgal

    vermontgal Songster

    Hmm, from my perspective, I don't want another whole forum to keep up with. This one is quite enough. I'd rather see a section over here on Gardening with poultry. But, hey, if it can't happen - it can't happen.
  6. cluckylisa

    cluckylisa In the Brooder

    Mar 2, 2009
    Central Minnesota
    Quote:I agree, it can be too much to keep up with another forum, and the question I raised really is about chicken behavior, thus not for the "The Easy Garden" forum. I've realized that yes, chickens are opportunists and will nip at the plants as we putter in the garden, so I'll give it a try and if it just doesn't work, no worrys.

    Vermontgal, love your BYC page and all your info about heating.
  7. swampducks

    swampducks Overrun With Guineas

    Feb 29, 2008
    Barton City, MI
    Last summer the young chickens ate or at minimum poked holes in every tomato and pepper in the pots on my deck. This year the garden is being moved 17 miles away. Now what am I going to do with all those pots I bought last year.? [​IMG]
  8. damselfish

    damselfish Songster

    Mar 8, 2008
    Southwest Missouri
    Mine loved the tomatoes last year, but only once they turned red. I plan on staking up my tomato plants better this year and losing most of the lower fruit.

    Peppers were not as popular, even when red, though they did get some. Mine do love pepper seeds, but didn't seem good at getting the peppers open.

    They didn't seem to care about the beans or the summer squash.

    Electric fencing deterred some but not others, and I wanted them in there to eat the bugs anyway.

    Oh, one other thing learned this week. Do not walk away from your transplant flats while your most enthusiastic garden hen is "supervising" you. If you do, she will take care of the thinning for you with her big chicken feet.

    My general plan is just to plant some extra and go with the flow.
  9. ILoveJoe

    ILoveJoe Songster

    Jun 28, 2008
    Northern Kentucky
    This will be my first year gardening with chickens. I rototilled the garden on Tuesday and you would have thought these chickens had died and gone to heaven. After they got through with my freshly leveled and raked 30 x 50 garden it looked like small landmines had gone off all over.

    SO in the area where I am going to plant my taters and onions I put stakes all around and wound 5 lines of baling twine. They can still get in if they are determined, but I left plenty of extra garden space for them to tear up.

    Oh and ALLL the mulch around my hostas and the grass! I am sure at some point I will get exasperated, but they have so much energy scratching and picking just the right little morsel, I quit trying to shoo them away.

    I am going to plant several areas just for them, there are packets of seeds at Walmart for 20 cents each and I got alot of lettuce and spinach and other leafy greens to plant for them.
  10. CityChook

    CityChook Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    A fence. Sorry, but it's the truth. My chickens decimated my vegetable garden last summer.

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