Gardens and chickens... a match made in heaven, or not so much?

chikadeedoodah

Songster
10 Years
Apr 23, 2009
128
0
119
I'm hoping I have this in the right category...
Spring has nearly sprung thank goodness it has been a looooong winter! With that being said I have a fairly large veggie garden (raised beds). I would LOVE it if my little ladies could help organically manage the pest population (insects and stuff). However, will they be busier eating my crops than the little bugs? Any luck with particular breeds that are fans of bugs over tomatoes and such? Any help would be much appreciated, always looking for organic methods to keep the buggies out of the garden! Would love it if my girls could help me out!
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Deanner03

The Cake Queen
10 Years
Jun 12, 2009
863
6
123
Northern NY/Southern QC
Our chickens at the bugs in our garden...and EVERYTHING else including: blueberries, rasberries, strawberries, lettuce, greens of any kind.

I'm told ducks will eat the bugs/grubs but leave the plants, though. (Of course, I was told this by my aunt who is trying to talk me into getting ducks).
 

easttxchick

Lone Star Call Ducks
10 Years
Aug 3, 2009
8,427
68
263
They are definitely a help managing bugs, however, they also tend to harvest your crop LONG before it is time.
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My little dickens helped themselves to whatever they could get their beaks on. Surprisingly it took them until almost the end of summer to decide that our tomatos were delicious. They would eat the bottoms out of our squash and zucchini so that when I went to pick one, the back of it had been eaten out-there were telltale beak scrapings(they gave themselves away).
Really, they need to be fenced out of a garden if you want to have any luck even getting your plants started. Tender young plants are just too much for them to resist.
 

OrpingtonManor

Building the Castle
11 Years
Nov 15, 2008
2,890
14
201
Martinez, CA
Your girls will dine indiscriminately on both the pests and your veggie plants. The plan I see repeatedly on BYC, but don't have room to try myself, is to put the coop in the middle of two garden areas. One side becomes the run for the chickens while the other side is your garden. Then, when you are done gardening for the year, turn the chooks loosed for the cleanup. The next year, switch sides for your garden, and use the girls' pen, which they dutifully fertilized for a year, until you turned them loose in the old garden. Hope this makes sense.

You also might want to visit our sister site, TheEasyGarden.com which is listed at the bottom of the page. Good luck!
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chikadeedoodah

Songster
10 Years
Apr 23, 2009
128
0
119
Quote:
UGH ducks, so so so messy! We got ducks last year (we live on the river) and all but one abandon us. The one that decided to stay had a crush on our golden retriever and would try to mate with her every chance we got. Found a nice little duck farm for that one with some female friends.
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I like the idea of letting the girls loose on the garden during clean up, eat the crittters that want to hibernate and turn the soil before the cover crops go in. Great ideas! Just love this forum. Still trying to figure out the stinking AVATAR thing. Guess I'll just have to be a little mysterious for now.
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chkinut

Songster
9 Years
Feb 25, 2010
1,432
15
161
Leesburg, Ohio
i've been wondering that myself.....how much can chickens help a garden. i've done SOME research.....and have learned what u guys have just said....that they will eat the bugs AND your veggies. BUT, i also read that bantams could MAYBE help a garden. i have no personal experience with this YET. but i read that they will eat the bugs, but the bantams are so small that they probably wouldn't do too much damage (if any at all) to your plants. what do u all think? do u think that's bogus? i have no idea. but my very near future flock will consist of 2 BSL (standard hens) and 3 bantam silkies. i wonder how they will all get along? i'm a bit concerned with mixing the 2 standards with the silkies.
 

Sunny Side Up

Count your many blessings...
11 Years
Mar 12, 2008
4,730
214
294
Loxahatchee, Florida
To a chicken, the world is its salad bowl, and underneath is its dust bath tub. Ducks, geese & guineas are about the same. Even bantams can do considerable damage with their vigorous scratching & pecking. They're best before you plant as feathered roto-tillers, and then again at season's end. But while your vegs are growing, either fence off the garden or fence up your birds.

I had my front walk planted with "edible landscaping", with lots of nice attractive herbs planted in front of the house. Then I got ducks. "Edible landscape?" they said, "Don't mind if we do!" and they gobbled it all down.
 

chikadeedoodah

Songster
10 Years
Apr 23, 2009
128
0
119
Yeah, the girls run is really wet right now so I let them free range, I guess I forgot from last year just how strong those little talons are. They were going nuts in my gardens, scratching and pecking away. They would slaughter my tender veggie plants in a matter of a few minutes!
 

Mrs. Fluffy Puffy

Fluffy Feather Farm
9 Years
Jan 26, 2010
15,968
116
366
Texas, Panhandle
I've had lots of chickens in the gardene before, and if you have tomatoes in your garden you may need to put something over them because the chickens will eat them! They will eat the bugs, but most of the time I had to catch the bugs for them ...
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catdaddy66

Songster
10 Years
Nov 18, 2009
1,050
17
151
Lugoff, SC
Chickens and people are definitely a match made in heaven, but chickens and gardens...Not so much !!
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They will have your plants bare before you can blink twice!
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