Gardening and Chickens

cluckylisa

In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 2, 2009
72
1
41
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?
 

Snakeoil

Songster
11 Years
Jan 10, 2009
358
4
120
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......
 

eggchel

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Dec 26, 2006
6,189
99
304
Both Coasts
We have a garden section, LOL, its called The Easy Garden:
http://www.theeasygarden.com/


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.
 

vermontgal

Songster
11 Years
Mar 24, 2008
767
28
184
Salt Lake City / Sugarhood
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.
 

cluckylisa

In the Brooder
10 Years
Mar 2, 2009
72
1
41
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.
 

swampducks

Overrun With Guineas
11 Years
Feb 29, 2008
1,833
14
178
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.?
 

damselfish

Songster
11 Years
Mar 8, 2008
971
103
199
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.
 

ILoveJoe

Songster
11 Years
Jun 28, 2008
457
6
131
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 daylilies....in 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.
 

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