Incorporating a garden into a run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by gold merry, Sep 23, 2015.

  1. I am a newbie, well not even a newbie because I don't have any chickens yet, but I plan on having three or five or so next spring so I am researching ideas now. I intend to have a raised bed garden, with about four 4' x 8' beds, each two feet high. It will be all fenced in because of deer, etc., and there will be ample walkways within the fence and around the raised beds. My question is, could I incorporate this garden into a run for my chickens, or will they eat all my produce? And if they eat it, what plants would be lethal? Please don't laugh. I promise I will learn to raise chickens safely.
  2. Bine

    Bine Chillin' With My Peeps

    Chickens love veg gardens. I frequently loose some of my berrys, tomatos etc and had hole spinach and salat patches eaten up in less than an hour by my tiny birds. I have d'Anvers and some other very small Bantams running around and they can act like a bunch of of demolition specialists leaving big craters in the lawn, destroy newly planted fowers and bushes... Even small fences or raised beds will not prevent them from eating my veggis, if they think that it is worth the struggel they hopp over, dig under, squeez through or fly over.
    O/c you can buy a breed that can't fly as well as my bird or you can clip the wings, but I did want to take away the only protection they have against stray cat or dogs.... and my birds love to fly.
    So I had to confine the chickens or the veggis. Since my birds complain if they have to sit in the chicken run all day, I decided to lock up the veggies. First I tried grow tunnels and bird netting, but the chickens found a way to get into the tunnel and one nearly strangelt itself trying to get through the bird net.... so I builded cages for the veggis with cheep roof battens and chicken wire.This works quite well.

    There are some useful books on the market on how to plan a chicken friendly garden and how you can learn to use your birds for pest and weed controle, for compost turning and for preparing new beds for your plants. And o/c vids on youtube, some people have really cute ideas like a chicken moat garden.
    I found out somethings by try and error and think that one of the key point is to make things they should do interesting for them and things they should not do difficult.

    Gardening with chicken is fun.... yeah, sometimes they still steal or dig up something they shouldn't dig up, but I have not half the problems I had with pests before they moved in. ... and the old chicken bedding and the chicken poop added to your compost is a great fertilizer. If you have problems balancing the NPP in your soil, the chicken manure will make a big difference.
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Usually chickens are put on beds after the harvest to do clean up and to fertilize, it's not good for the plants and it's not good for you to have fresh poop on your plants, it will burn them and make you sick.

    They will eat most of the leaf plants like lettuce and beets, they will scratch out your soil and dig up plants so keeping them in there during the growing season will get you nothing and them everything.
  4. Chipper Chicken

    Chipper Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2014
    My Coop

    Research "Chicken Moat" a great way to incorporate chickens into your garden. There's several here on BYC, one in particular I'm thinking of.....i will come back and add it in a jif....

    And here it/they are.....I have even more, but you'll get the idea. Either this style will appeal to you or is a fair bit of extra work in the beginning to do it this way.....

    BYC MOATS and others...

    This first one is the one that first got me looking at these.....

    Mother Earth news....
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2015
  5. Chipper Chicken

    Chipper Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2014
    My Coop
    I wanted to pass on these links from @mountainpeeps on poisonous plants also.....(is this plagiarizing???? :oops:
    :lau Thank you @mountainpeeps)

    websites I use to reference plants or treats around pets:

    Also from @mountain peeps another great list she had that I saved......

    from mountain peeps, flock of Christ

    Here is a list I made of all the things they shouldn't eat.


    Moldy Foods

    Anything Salty

    Asparagus-This will change the flavor of a hen’s egg to a bad taste but it otherwise is not harmful.

    Avocado-Avocado has a fatty acid in it called “persin” which sadly can be fatal to chickens and sometimes other birds.

    Green Areas of Potatoes, Peels and Potato Sprouts-All are poisonous to chickens and you personally shouldn’t eat them either!

    Herbs and Plants to Stay Away from-Azalea, philodendron, rhododendron, sweet pea, black nightshade, foxglove, oleander, castor bean, vetch, henbane, irises, lantana, St. john's wort, trumpets vine, morning glory, datura, clematis and honeysuckle. If any of the herbs you are wondering about are not listed in this book, look them up before giving to your flock.

    Leaves from Tomato, Pepper, Potato, Eggplant or Nightshade Plants

    Onions-Onions contain a substance called “thiosulphate” which will kill red blood cells, cause anemia and sometimes even result in death.

    Potatoes-Surprisingly, potatoes contain solanine which causes diarrhea, heart failure and kills red blood cells. However, sweet potatoes do not contain this substance and are perfectly fine and dandy to feed to your flock. Sweet potato fries are also fine as long as they aren’t salted.

    Processed Foods and Sweets

    Raw, Dry Beans

    Raw Peanuts and Other Nuts

    Rhubarb leaves-Rhubarb leaves surprisingly contain oxalic acid which is poisonous to chickens.

    Last edited: Sep 24, 2015
  6. Thanks everyone for your comments and information. I have found that it is easier to ask for help than it is to hunt for answers to questions that should be listed in "Raising Chicken for Dummies" but probably isn't. Is there such a book? Anyway, I love the idea of the chicken moat and the links were very informative. This way you kill two birds (only figuratively) with one stone. Also, I think I just need to determine what I want to plant and make sure I know if they are harmful to chickens. I never knew there was so much that is harmful. Thanks again. I am sure my questions will not end here. [​IMG]

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